The Fandroakando NGO manages the Rabondro Reserve, an almost 3000 hectare area in the Antongil Bay of Madagascar.
The Rabondro Reserve comprises both primary and secondary forest, as well as a large area of land where the forest is re-establishing itself. It is home to many types of lemurs, chameleons, and almost 100 different bird species.
Our aim is to preserve the existing forest, and to augment damaged areas with both faster growing as well as native hardwood trees, in order to provide a large roaming area for the local fauna.
The Rabondro Reserve originally belonged to the community of Andronofotsy, who had a legendary connection to the land (see below). In 1961, the Ministry of Agriculture declared the area a national forest called Farankaraina. In 1999, the government decided to take action to preserve the forest, and redesignated the area as a reserve. However, the government has had limited funds for the ongoing protection of the reserve.
Between 2011 and 2014, the Antongil Conservation NGO had a contract with the local village associations to preserve the rich nature of the forest, develop ecotourism and to create alternative farming methods and income for the villagers.
In 2020, the Farankaraina Forest reverted to its ancestral name, the Rabondro Reserve. The Reserve comprises 2740 hectares. The 355 hectares to the south of the reserve bordering the Antongil Bay remains as the Farankaraina Forestry Post, and continues to be managed by Antongil Conservation.
On July 24, 2020, the Ministry of the Environment transferred the Rabondro Reserve to the Fandroakando NGO, and created a new contract between Fandroakando and the two village assocations bordering the reserve. Fandroakando's goals are to preserve and restore the flora and fauna of the Rabondro Reserve, as well as providing economic benefits to the locals through conservation.
More details on Fandroakando's projects can be viewed in the "WHAT We Do" section of this web site.
The Legend of RABONDRO, "King of the Crocodiles":
Long ago there were two kings who came to Maroantsetra and fought over the land. King Rabondro lost, and so he moved away and founded a new village. This village was on an island on a river, and so he named the village Andranofotsy. Rano means water and fotsy means white, or clean. And so the new village was christened white clean water.
King Rabondro had magic powers, and in particular the power to call forth crocodiles. He filled a pool with many crocodiles. King Rabondro hated the other tribes. When members of other tribes came to visit his village, he invited them to his pool. Then the king called upon the crocodiles, and summoned them to devour the visitors. He ordered all of his family tribe to feed any visiting villagers to the crocodiles.
Many people were not happy that King Rabondro fed his visitors to the crocodiles. And so King Rabondro built a camp on the summit of a mountain forest, at a place called Ambatoharanana, which means "rocky summit". Due to its high vantage point, King Rabondro had a clear view if any people came to attack him.
While living on the mountain, King Rabondro had two wives. The first wife became very jealous of the second wife, and so she enticed the second wife by braiding her hair; then the first wife pushed the second wife into a deep hole where she died.
King Rabondro lived to be an old man, and kept feeding his crocodiles. His descendants have scattered from the original village of Andranofotsy and established many other villages near Maroantsetra. These descendants of King Rabondro are called Razafin-drabay, which means grandchildren of crocodiles. Today you can still find a concrete platform in the centre of the Rabondro Reserve, which is all that remains of King Rabondro's mountain camp.
Celebrating the co-operation between Fandroakando and local VOI
On July 24, 2020 (amid the covid-19 pandemic), the village associations (VOI) of FI.TSA.FA (Andranofotsy commune) and FI.NA.MA (Anjahana commune) celebrated a new collaboration with the Fandroakando NGO.