Today, we had to drive for 400km, all the way back to Antananarivo, normally a non-stop 8 hours drive. We started early, around 7am, to have enough time to stop in Ambositra and Antsirabe.

Anjamba;Africa;Madagascar;travel

Anjamba, a town on the way to RN7

The heavy fog turned the rain forest into a mystical place. We were ascending to the plateau and suddenly broke through the clouds to a clear sunny sky. The view from the top was breathtaking and inviting for some pictures.

Morning fog
Morning fog
Morning fog
Morning fog
Morning fog
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Above the fog line
Above the fog line
Malagasy farmer
Malagasy farmer

We continued our ascent for 3 1/2 hours to Ambositra, home to some 30’000 people, better known as the capital of wood-crafting. It was Saturday, the day of the bazaar and we did not miss the opportunity for a walk. The first thing you notice is the big difference between the towns of the plateau and southern Madagascar. Here, the houses are made of bricks and people wear normal clothes – and shoes – and the standard of living is significantly higher than in the south. The open market is noisy, resembling the open food markets in Greece, only more colorful and exotic. They sell mostly food, but also other items such as electronics, clothing and livestock.

Old women in Ambositra
Old women in Ambositra
Pousse Pousse in Ambrositra
Pousse Pousse in Ambrositra
Pousse Pousse
Pousse Pousse
The Cathedral in Ambositra
The Cathedral in Ambositra
A man in the market
A man in the market in Ambositra
Ambrositra, open market
Ambrositra, open market
Bringing the goods back home
Bringing the goods back home
Tin Tin
Tin Rin paintings in a craft shop in Ambositra

We entered a local souvenir shop to buy some wooden crafts at bargain prices. What I liked most was a collection of paintings on wood, with themes from Tin Tin stories.

It took 90 minutes to drive to Antsirabe among small villages, brick factories and rice plantations. On the way, we saw the Fort Dauphin – Diego Suarez camion brousse, a bus that takes a full week to complete the journey across Madagascar. I cannot even dare to imagine what it would be like to take this ride.

Camion Brousse;Africa;Madagascar;travel

Camion Brousse

Antsirabe is the largest city south of Tana, with a population of 180’000. It is also known as the pousse-pousse capital of Madagascar. A pousse-pousse is a rickshaw, the word comes form the French verb “push” and here is has the form of a colorful two wheeler, two sitter car that is dragged rather than pushed by its owner. It is a common mean of transportation for locals and a great way to tour the center of Antsirabe. We first stopped in the beautiful hotel Trianon, to have some lunch on the terrace and then hired two pousse-pousses to go to the Asabotsy market. For 45 minutes we rtoured the busy streets of Antsirabe, long enough to get a good feeling of the city life.

We ended up in the chaotic Asabotsy market, home of the Saturday bazaar where everything is on sale: fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, spice, clothes, electronics, livestock, car parts, tools, flowers, cooked food and then some more. The small booths are covered with tents, the colors are rich and the smells overwhelming. Hygiene is not priority one and a quick look at the butcher booths would suppress any desire for lunch.

Green
Green
Butcher Shop
Butcher Shop
Juices
Juices
Grocery Store
Grocery Store
Ladies in the Market
Ladies in the Market
Livestock
Livestock
The butcher
The butcher
Spices
Spices
Red Tomatoes
Red Tomatoes
Onions
Onions
Flowers
Flowers
Fish
Fish
Tsena Sabotsy Antsirabe
Tsena Sabotsy Antsirabe
A hiuse in Antsirabe
A hiuse in Antsirabe
Pousse pousse man
Pousse pousse man

We left at 4:30, too late to escape the night drive on RN7. It did not help to see a car accident right outside the city limits, fortunately nobody got hurt seriously.

The accident;Africa;Antsirabe;Madagascar;travel

The accident

It was soon dark and we drove most of the 3  1/2 hours to our destination in less than ideal driving conditions. Jean-Luc was becoming more aggressive with his driving as we were approaching Antananarivo and we were really happy when we finally reached the city limits. From then it took another 40 min to the Sakamanga hotel.

After checking in we discovered that our next day flight to Morondava was at 6:30am instead of 12pm that was mentioned on our itinerary. It took one hour and several phone calls to double check it and notify Jean-Luc to be there at 4:30am to drive us to the airport.  The dinner in the Sakamanga restaurant was nice, a restaurant less refined and elegant compared to La Varangue but a lot more animé and full of young and international people.

Next: Belo Sur Mer

Ambositra

Antsirabe