Blogs from Antananarivo, Madagascar, Africa


Africa » Madagascar » Antananarivo July 6th 2013

I was privileged to share some evening aperitifs, with Henri Andrianarijaona. Their hospitality kept me some days at his home in Antananarivo. We used to have them before dinner, with his family - wife and two daughters-, a habit closer to French than Malagasy people, but a habit after all. Every sip we swallow we built a better world. Madagascar is one of the poorest countries on earth. Henri was an idealist, had formed at the Sorbonne and lived the May 68 heydays in Paris. Finishing his studies and doctorate, instead of thriving in France decided to return to Madagascar with his newlywed French wife and try to put their acquired skills in the ancient metropolis at the service of his country. Henri was interested, among other matters, in sports. Along the years, with his management ... read more
02-Ille aux Nattes

Africa » Madagascar » Antananarivo January 12th 2012

I. Hot Returning to Toliara after a blissful New Year’s getaway in Ambola was a slight shock to the system. Gone were the gentle sea breezes and dry air; here was the sticky heat and humidity of the tropics (well, the Tropic of Capricorn does run just south of the city!). How could the climate be so different in spots so close together, relatively speaking? But I’d been wondering that since arriving in Madagascar in mid-December. We ended up having almost two full days in Toliara, doing little besides resting, as Abby was recovering from a bout of illness. But it is somnolent sort of town anyway. It’s the kind of place were people retreat into the shade and take a siesta during the heat of the afternoon. And when you are out and about, rather ... read more
Pousse-Pousse Traffic
Lonely Pousse-Pousse
Setting Sun on Toliara

Africa » Madagascar » Antananarivo December 18th 2011

Let me just say it from the outset, because I know so many of you are going to ask: no, there are no singing and dancing lions, giraffes, or other such animated fauna populating Madagascar.Alas, there aren’t even any lemurs belting out “I like to move it, move it.” It’s sort of a sad fact that Madagascar really only came to be a household name after the Disney film was released. My interest in the country, however, long predates that bit of musical cinematic magic. The childhood biologist in me has longed to see this utterly unique island from the moment I encountered images of its strange and wonderful wildlife and plants in a National Geographic article. It looked like another planet, so I just had to go. It turned out Abby, my fellow history teacher ... read more
Mt. Kilimanjaro on your right...
Flashback Drive
A Very Cute Welcome

Africa » Madagascar » Antananarivo » Ankorondrano June 19th 2011

After the crocodile farm we headed to the restaurant for lunch, it was pricey but oh so worth it! It was so delicious! Chicken in mustard sauce and an amazing veal casserole, topped off by having chocolate soup at the end, basically a very thick and amazing chocolate mousse. We wandered back down to the lemur islands and watched for a while waiting for the car to return at 2 to pick us up. When it came off we went back to our hotel, the other aussie had had a great few hours in the national park and said she found it amazing since it was primary forest and most other parks here at secondary forest, so the trees were massive! When we got back to the hotel we tried to figure out a timetable that ... read more
fruit market in one of the villages we passed through
just chilling in the sun!

Africa » Madagascar » Antananarivo » Ankorondrano June 14th 2011

Well the dinner was great! Zebu steak for me (type of big horned cow with a big hump on its back) and a traditional Malagasy (Madagascan) dish for Dario, both delicious. Of course we tried a local beer, Ambree, very nice! Then we went to bed exhausted. Next morning we had brekky at 6.30am then grabbed our things and took a taxi to the taxi-brousse station (basically mini van which are public transport) to take one to Fianarantsoa, 10 hours south. We managed to just miss the morning one, we didn’t want to wait until 2pm for the next one so instead we got on one that was heading to Ambositra, 5 hours south. We had to wait in our seats (we had the best ones since we were one of the first people in the ... read more
first of many snakes
yay ringtail lemurs!


Africa » Madagascar » Antananarivo » Ankorondrano June 4th 2011

First blog of the second leg of our trip. So for over a month we stayed in Sydney, just bumming around and planning more things for the Africa trip, it went really fast! This morning (2nd June) we finally got on a plane headed for Johannesburg (via Singapore). We arrived at 9, booked our bags through (we did an online checkin earlier) and had brekky with the families. There was no queue at customs so managed to make it through rather quickly and got to the gate very early. The flight was pretty average, bad plane food and a weird choice of movies. But we managed to nap a bit, and 8 hours later we arrived in Singapore! Changi airport is awesome! We took the skytrain from T3 to T2 (where our onward flight goes from) ... read more
Cheeky Lioness
More Giraffe food!

Africa » Madagascar » Antananarivo December 11th 2010

Another late arrival sees us haggling yet again over a taxi fare, this time in French outside Antananarivo's Ivato airport. We settle on 30,000. Sound a little expensive? Fortunately we're dealing in Ariary and 10,000Ar is about NZ$7. At this time of night its a fair price to the central city. We're staying in the slightly seedy part of Haute-Ville and apart from a few girls of the night on the street its pretty quiet. Madagascar was a French colony and along with the language it has obviously retained various other aspects of French life. Old Renault taxis and baguettes are everywhere. We catch one (taxi that is) to the Rova, an old Royal palace on a hilltop overlooking the city. Unfortunately its closed for renovations but we get an informative guided tour of the local ... read more
The Rova
The beautiful Lac Anosy
The not quite so beautiful Lac Anosy

Africa » Madagascar » Antananarivo July 13th 2010

Next stop Madagascar, no plans, no guide book, but new travel buddy, Aussie Andrew. Immediately the country is very different to the Africa I've seen before. The Malagasys think of themselves as more Asian than African and it's noticeable. They speak French and Malagasy, so my GCSE French comes out of the woodwork. The capital Antananarivo is quite built up and hilly, with old French cars everywhere, mainly Citroen 2CVs. It feels like going back in time or on the set of dodgy old 70s French film. The B&B owner suggests we hire a car and drive south to Tulear and then fly back to Tana (Antananarivo) as we don't have much time, so we split up, I go to the car rental place, Andrew queues at the Madagascar Air office. We meet back an hour ... read more
Tana streets
Guide book source!

Africa » Madagascar » Antananarivo June 29th 2010

Hello one and all! It's Lilly here writing from an internet cafe in Antananarivo with a funny keyboard that is making me type very slowly and so is costing me a fortune haha. we've had a pretty good time so far, arrived on friday night in the capital and we were met at the airport by 2 nice malagasy men in one of the most run down cars i've ever seen, it didn't have a dashboard or anything. Driven through the streets as everyone ca,e out to celebrate the eve of independence day and were dropped at a hotel for our first night. Woke up the next morning to catch a taxi-brousse, read minibus stuffed to overflowing with people, to Ampefy for a weekends holiday before starting our placement in Andasibe. was quite intimidating as touts ... read more

Africa » Madagascar » Antananarivo October 19th 2009

I have to return to Tana in order to get transport to the last national park of my Madagascar visit and, despite being only ~400km from Fianar on the best road in the country, an eight hour journey time by taxi-brousse is considered exceptionally fast. The problem lies in the winding nature of R7, plus the fact that it's single-lane so slow-moving vehicles create hold-ups. One highly civilised aspect of taxi-brousse travel is that there are frequent loo breaks, often passenger-initiated. Our lunch stop gives me more French confusion - the waitress says they have no legumes but then admits, when prompted, that they do have haricots blancs. My taxi from the taxi-brousse station to the Hotel Niaouly is a 39 year old Renault 4, another awesome vehicle from the streets of 1970s Paris. Tana has ... read more
Lemur paw
Lily pads

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