Blogs from Fianarantsoa, Madagascar, Africa


Africa » Madagascar » Fianarantsoa April 19th 2020

I awake in my small room, and slip out under the mosquito net that cocoons my bed. I know the layout so don't need to light a candle. My pack is ready where I left it last night, I sling it over my shoulder and disappear into the equal darkness outside. The dog is the only one in the compound that wakes, he comes out wagging his tail, I bid him farewell and exit through the corrugated iron door. The road is rocky, a mix of skewed paving slabs and mud, it hasn't been repaved since the French abandoned Fort Carnot, in fact the only remnant that is still intact is the post office sitting next to the barracks overlooking the town. My three companions meet me on the outskirts, we do not share a language, ... read more
The pre-dawn
At the crossing
Roadside Lychees

Africa » Madagascar » Fianarantsoa March 8th 2018

Wednesday 7 March – leaving Isola and driving back to Fianarantsoa Saying goodbye and thankyou to our fantastic hosts at the Isola Ranch, we drove back across the green plateau on a beautiful day with clear blue skies. It wasn’t too hot either. We stopped after an hour drive for Rivo to have the tyres checked in one of the villages (Ihosy I think). Just out of town we stopped to photograph a large chameleon slowly crossing the road. I guess it was like seeing frilled neck lizards crossing Australian roads, but they are quicker. There was yet another market we stopped at, the Angoelego Markets. This is always an interesting cultural experience with each market a little different to the next. There was dried tobacco being sold by locals, which is something we hadn’t ... read more
Zebu Market  outside of Ambalavao (21)
Mindoanacentre Markets  (18)
Annual Ladies Festival - no lady works on this day (7)

Africa » Madagascar » Fianarantsoa October 30th 2014

The trek starts somewhere to the east of a village called Ambohidranandriana. We take off up a rough track to get there, in a rather old 4x4 filled with all our gear and provisions for four days. We bump and slide our way into the hills. After an hour or two, we suddenly turn left onto the merest hint of a footpath and over the horizon an isolated farmhouse appears. My mother-in-law's house, says our guide Marcel, she will cook lunch. There is no one in sight but within minutes we attract a crowd, including mother-in-law and lots of curious children. Zebu is the local cow or ox and zebu steak, a local delicacy, is for lunch, medium-rare. Not to our taste really. The caramelised bananas, however, are wonderful. Soon we are ready to set off. ... read more
Off to market
Deep river crossing
Village children

Africa » Madagascar » Fianarantsoa March 29th 2010

I made my way down to the very south of Madagascar! I feel like I was entering a whole new country the more south I went. The humid rainforests quickly became mountains and vast deserts! They have this tree called the Baoboab which I am a big fan of. It's like a chubby looking tree that everyone loves here. Then there was this beautiful lake with a waterfall behind it. I felt like I was in a dream. I'm having quite the adventure here! Mura mura everybody! It means 'take it easy' in Malagy. Yes! I'm Wrong! Being wrong isn't that bad. Being wrong can be the best feelings sometimes. Wrong about the plane crashing. Wrong about the hotel maid stealing your phone. Wrong about your jealousy issues. Wrong about being pregnant, hehe, just kidding, I ... read more
ring-tailed lemurs
playful guys

Africa » Madagascar » Fianarantsoa October 11th 2009

After my difficulties obtaining transport for the 6.5km between Ranomafana and Ranomafana National Park, it's a relief that it takes only 45 minutes to snare a taxi-brousse for the 30-odd km back to Fianar. During the journey I see many of the handcarts that seem popular here for moving produce - heavy on the uphills, they become luges for the downhills. At one stop I see a kid with a leaf on a stick. Running into the wind, the leaf twirls like a propeller, causing the child to gurgle with delight. Who needs a PS3? I arrive too late in Fianar to catch a further taxi-brousse with a sensible arrival time in Tana, so have to overnight. One feature of Fianar is that much more English is spoken here than in Tana - even the postcard-selling ... read more
Entrance to law courts
Station clock
Hand to heaven

Africa » Madagascar » Fianarantsoa October 6th 2009

I've wangled a front seat again for the taxi-brousse trip to Fianar, but the vehicle as a whole only has one person per seat so comfort would not have been a big issue wherever I was. The young woman next to me seems to know the theory of being surreptitious but not the practice, as she stares at me for a couple of milliseconds too long after I turn round to discover her doing just that, before she jerks her gaze back to the road ahead. We're heading down Route 7, a magnificent stretch of tarmac that winds its way south through the Central Plateau. The rice paddies and terracing are the key features of the landscape and, though the topography of the region means we're never going to be doing the ton, progress is steady ... read more
Taxi-brousse en panne
Fianar at sunset

Africa » Madagascar » Fianarantsoa May 1st 2009

Landing in Madagascar was really exciting because the soil there is very red from all the iron, so it looked like mars. We had braced ourselves for a lot of hassle and danger the second we came out of the airport, but our initial impression was that everyone was calm and kind. The poverty is extreme, and everywhere, but the people don't seem sad. Tana is full of slums and dirty, unaccompanied toddlers, but there is a good atmosphere. People wanted to say hello (bonzour or salam) and smile and wave at us. It was actually a break from the hassle of sleazy Reunion men. We took clothes and books and pens and sweets to an orphanage which was very sad, but we spoke for a long time to the lady in charge who was great. ... read more

Africa » Madagascar » Fianarantsoa August 12th 2005

Geo: -21.494, 47.5117We'd heard a lot about 'The F... Place!' as Aina is writing his dissertation on tourism there. Of course, this worked hugely in our favour as Aina knew everything and everyone! It took us all day to get there in our bling mobile, stopping at Parc National de L'Isalo for a scenic picnic with the friendly flies! On our arrival we were met by the owner of The Tsara Guesthouse, a very important figure who has done a fantastic job saving and restoring the traditional tile-roofed buildings in the city. Very worthwhile as they are beautiful! Fianarantsoa is like a baby Tana, very similar but smaller. I immediately warmed to the place. It has a wonderful friendly atmosphere.The highlight of our stay here was a pirogue trip. A pirogue is a dug out canoe ... read more
Bemused kids!
Bling Mobile at Parc Isalo

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