Mahajanga is a city and an administrative district on the northwest coast of Madagascar. Mahajanga is a favorite tourist destination for Malagasy tourists and international travelers, with beautiful beaches, a coconut-lined boardwalk, and eight months of hot, virtually rain-free weather. The city of Mahajanga (Mahajanga I) is the capital of the Boeny Region. The district (identical to the city) had a population of 220,629 in 2013.
Mahajanga is a seaport, the second most important one in Madagascar after Toamasina. The marine terminal accommodates containerships and small (150 gross ton) general cargo freighters. Because of limited water depth at the wharf, only small ships can call at the terminal. Deeper-draft ships anchor off the terminal and transfer cargoes to and from barges, which move it to and from the terminal.
Severe storms during December 2006 damaged the bulkhead, allowing water to flow in and wash backfill out from under the terminal's paving blocks. The resulting collapse of pavement blocks has made operations at the terminal less efficient and reduced the storage space available. The largest and most valuable containerized export is frozen shrimp.
There is an international airport with regional flights to the Comoros and Mayotte. Mahajanga is on the Betsiboka River, which then leads to Bombetoka Bay. The city has a sizable Muslim population. In 1977, it was the scene of ethnic unrest, forcing the evacuation of the Comorian minority living there. Mahajanga is also the seat of a Roman Catholic Diocese.