Travel article: Antsirabe- Madagascar

Travel blogger: Christelle & Cedric

Trip story: 100 days in Africa!

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Antsirabé, Madagascar

Madagascar 3 days - June 2019








Next stop: Madagascar. The big island or the red island as we call it takes us into Africa or Asia, it depends on the days and the regions. One month to travel the famous RN7 then go up the west coast after a small incursion on the east coast.

All of this in local transport of course: the famous taxi brousse!

We will not spend time in the capital, Antanarivo, dirty and that takes us immediately in Madagascar mood: between rice fields and extreme poverty ...


At the taxi brousse station, touts saw us, two tourists before we even get off the taxi. We quickly understand that we are Vazaha (white stranger) as we are called more than a hundred times a day and that comes with some inconvenience ...

Fifty touts encircling the taxi, tap the windows, we are intimidated. In the middle of this crowd we "choose" a taxi-brousse that looks quite modern. Choosing is a big word, we are obliged to follow a tout, the others do not let go and we capitulate and jump into the first van to calm them down. Empty however, but thanks to our marketing power it will fill up in one hour.  Two Vazaha sitting at the front row of a taxi-brousse, it attracts many Malagasy and travelers;)

Everything is dirty and yet when Cedric climbs onto the roof of the van to tie our bags and puts his foot on the seat, someone runs to dust the seat. We will not be short of paradoxical situations during this month!


It takes four hours to reach Antsirabe via a road with huge holes and a driver too rushed. We move from a teeming city to highlands, rice fields and a relative calm. On the road, we see our first games of petanque (Madagascar was world champion!) and football of course. There are many police roadblocks. Nothing to report we continue.


Arrived at Antsirabe, we are again the center of attention and a score of touts this time are waiting for us. We ask for some space and everyone tells us "yes we leave you alone, get your bags quietly". They all continue to follow us however, keeping telling us "we leave you alone, we leave you alone". Then we got our bags and they shout "Have you noticed we left you alone?" almost...!


Here no car or taxis, it is too expensive to buy. Instead: pedicabs and rickshaws carried by men all very colorful. A man on a bike pulling us or a man running pulling us ... We are not at all comfortable with this transport method but the insistence of the drivers makes us understand that they really rely on this euro so we take so a pedicab.


Antsirabe is the highest city of Madagascar, perched at 1400 metres high. Old colonial buildings are still standing but the whole is faded, as the tracks, it’s really muddy and we are struck by the poverty that surrounds us ... It’s a thermal city, the rich people of the Capital city come here to enjoy the calm (quite relative I remember you!).

The market is full of life and offers some vegetables, rice, some fruits and meat stalls surrounded by flies. It will be easy to be vegetarian during this month;)

There are also many craftsmen who work zebu horns, iron, foosball construction is also booming!


The city is surrounded by rice fields arranged in floors. We were thrilled and well trained by our first Taxi-brousse experience so we decided to take another one and we jump in an old van, the driver sets up a small wooden board, I sit on it and we are 6 on the rear seat instead of 4 to drive twenty kilometers to reach Betafo. Again there are beautiful rice fields, many churches (for a very small village), many songs, women and children sell fruit at the market and the men are in the fields with their zebu.

On the road there are very few cars but carts pulled by zebus. This animal is very important in the Malagasy culture, for the field culture but also during many rituals of passage to adulthood or marriage. He is now the victim of numerous thefts and local militias have been created to protect themselves and to render justice during an attack. To tell you how bad the legal system is in Madagascar ...


Short hike and it's time to take refuge Chez Jenny to protect ourself from the cold and the rain. A good crepe and off to bed!




Some recommendations:

# The taxi-brousse to Antsirabe leave from the South Station in Antanarivo. Be prepared for riots during your visit! We waited an hour before the van filled up at 8am. Come before 10am to avoid waiting even longer. 15000 Ariary per person.

# We stayed at the Antsirabe Hotel for 18 euros per night. Hotel tired but clean and hot water.

# in Antanarivo, we recommend the Fara Guest House for 100000 Ariary (25 euro) at night.

# authorized taxi from the airport to the center of Antanarivo: 60000 ariary.

# taxi-brousse for Betafo: 1250 ariary per person.

# top restaurant: the Pousse Pousse and Chez Jenny.

# If we enjoyed this step, we think it is not essential if you are in a hurry.

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Jul 12, 2019 - 07:38 AM

romazava = plat typique de Madagascar bredes mafanes