TRITRIVA: the mysterious volcanic crater lake in Antsirabe

Friday, 19 February 2021
This is how the volcanic crater lake is formed. This is how the volcanic crater lake is formed.

Have you ever heard about the story of Romeo and Juliet of Shakespeare? There is Malagasy version quite similar to this one, the legend of “Rabeniomby sy Ravolahanta”. This is a story known by most Malagasy people that occurred in the lake of Tritriva. Even if it is viewed as a legend, some people believe that this is real and it inspires them respect and fear.

Located 18km west of the town of Antsirabe on the road to Betafo, the lake of Tritriva is a natural site with beautiful sky-colored waters nestled at an altitude of about 2,000meters in a hollow of a mountain. A very long ago, the lake has been shown to be a volcano which erupted and then changed into a volcanic crater lake surrounded by a pine forest and perched high on a hill. Tritriva has attracted many travelers and foreigners’ attention and interest thanks not only to its splendid landscape, but also to the mystery which spans over the story of the lake. This mystery has made the place sacred and instilled locals’ belief and sense of respect. As a result, people of tritriva lake put some taboos or “fady” so as to honor and respect it, and whoever planning a visit to the site must avoid what has been forbidden such as swimming in the lake after eating pork.

It all began with the legend of “Rabeniomby sy Ravolahanta". An anecdote that relates the tragic and sad-ending story of two lovers named Rabeniomby and Ravolahanta. They fell in love but their relationship was not countenanced by the parents of both sides. Their union was impossible due to the difference in their social status; the family of the young man was well-off as they belonged to the noble rank, while that of the young woman was from a poor lineage. This social gap caused them to commit suicide by jumping wrapping each other into the lake. Since then, the legend on how a tree interlacing on the rim of the cliff where they jumped over started to appear. Inhabitants of the nearby village explain that the tree features the two sweethearts and that if someone pinches or cuts this tree, it will bleed. There was another story of a heady Chinese man who insisted on swimming in the lake after eating pork and shortly after, he was found dead. Since this tragic and strange incident, some people come to believe that there are really ghosts which hung around the lake and assume that it was maybe the spirit of the people who died in the water. Others just say that it is quite a normal if people die while swimming in a pond of 160 meter-deep and very cold which was formerly a volcano. It has been also declared that when someone died inside the reservoir, their dead body was found floating in the lake of Andraikiba, also a volcanic lake located 20kilometers away from the city of Antsirabe.

Both Tritriva and Andaikiba remain the favorite destinations of tourists and holidaymakers when it comes down to visiting the Vakinakaratra region. If you think of visiting one of them, given that each region of Madagascar has its own culture and custom, you should then keep in mind that wherever you go, you must pay attention to the “do’s and don’ts” of the place you visit. Enjoy your trip but do not forget to be respectful!

Sources: “The Volcanic Lake of Tritriva: Its Physical Features and Legendary History”. The Antananarivo Annual and Madagascar Magazine (London Missionary Society) / /

Read 637 times Last modified on Friday, 19 February 2021 08:33
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