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Ambalavao

Travel Guide Africa Madagascar Ambalavao

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Introduction

Ambalavao sits in the Central Highlands of Madagascar just south of Fianarantsoa. It's famous as the centre of Antaimoro paper production, as well as playing host to the country's largest zebu market. The town contains some interesting architecture, with many balconies and shutters in evidence. A short distance south of Ambalavao is the Anja Village Reserve, featuring a number of well-habituated ring-tailed lemurs.

Note that there are no banks in Ambalavao.

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Sights and Activities

  • The Fabrique de Papier Antaimoro (Antaimoro Paper Factory) is in the same grounds as the Hotel aux Bougainvillees (see Sleep/Budget below). It manufactures and sells Antaimoro paper, which is made from sisal and contains pressed flowers and leaves. You can take a tour of the factory as well as buy paper products.
  • The Anja Village Reserve is a 20 minute taxi-brousse ride south of Ambalavao. It sits in a valley of rice paddies and red-brown buildings, nestled up against a trio of inselbergs known as the Three Sisters - some of the best scenery in the region. The highlights of the reserve are the well-habituated ring-tailed lemurs (maki in Malagasy) that are not at all skittish. You may also see chameleons and pachypodium plants. The "English-speaking" guides don't speak much English. It costs Ar7,000 to enter the reserve and another Ar8,000 for an obligatory guide for a 2-hour tour.

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Events and Festivals

  • The weekly zebu market is the largest in Madagascar and is held at the south end of the town. Its hours are 10:00am-4:00pm on Wednesday and 6:00-11:00am on Thursday. Watch out for runaway zebus being chased by boys armed with sticks. A zebu calf will set you back about Ar50,000.

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Getting There

By Bus

A taxi-brousse from Fianarantsoa to Ambalavao takes about 1 hour 15 minutes and costs Ar3,000.

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Getting Around

By Public Transport

A taxi-brousse from Ambalavao to Anja Village Reserve takes about 20 minutes and costs Ar1,000.

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Sleep

Budget

  • Hotel aux Bougainvillees is just opposite the taxi-brousse station. It has a variety of accommodation options including bungalows for Ar30,000. There is an attached restaurant which is popular with tour groups, serving a good variety of food. The Fabrique de Papier Antaimoro (see Sights and Activities above) is in the hotel's grounds.

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Keep Connected

Internet

There are internet cafes in most major towns but dont expect broadband!

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

Abundant phone booths almost everywhere. You can pick up cards in most shops. Calling home can be pretty cheap this way. Mobile phones can be used in towns but rarely in rural areas. You can pick up local sim cards really cheap. Opt for Orange, they have the best coverage. Again, a cheap way of calling home. Pick up top up cards almost everywhere, available from 2,000ar to 50,000ar.

Post

You can have mail sent to you 'poste restante' but takes an eternity with the possibility of not receiving it at all. Likewise sending mail home. Postcards are ok but I have had several letters go amiss.
It is possible to send parcels but make sure you have a post office approved box, take it to the post office, then to the administative building to have the contents listed, then to customs to have it checked and sealed, then back to the post office. You can not send anything consisting of stuff made up of animals, vegetables or minerals. Better to give all your old clothes to the orphanage and take any souveniers in your bag with you.

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This is version 4. Last edited at 7:25 on Aug 11, 15 by Utrecht. 2 articles link to this page.

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