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.
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 (Oct 2009) to enter the reserve and another Ar8,000 (Oct 2009) for an obligatory guide for a 2 hour tour.
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 (Oct 2009).
A taxi-brousse from Fianarantsoa to Ambalavao takes about 1 hour 15 minutes and costs Ar3,000 (Oct 2009).
By Public Transport
A taxi-brousse from Ambalavao to Anja Village Reserve takes about 20 minutes and costs Ar1,000 (Oct 2009).
- Hotel aux Bougainvillees is just opposite the taxi-brousse station. It has a variety of accommodation options including bungalows for Ar30,000 (Oct 2009). 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.
There is Internet available at the CITE office, on the northern apex of the market opposite L'ecole "Les Bambins". It's Ar50 per minute (Oct 2009) and extremely slow.
See also International Telephone Calls