|Hauteville - Tana|
Stuck in a valley covered in rice paddy and similarly long-named towns, it sits advantageously across a couple of hills. All the cars are old Citroen 2CVs and Renault 5s which battle uphill through the streets of the city in a constant test of clutch-control, and all parking spaces come with a stone included to act as an extra braking method. Inevitably, “Haute-ville” is the nice part which hosts the historical buildings including the colonial presidential palace and Rova (palace) which was burnt down in 1995, but after 16 years they still haven’t got round to re-building (sorry Tanna, you are really slow).
Heading out of town to Ambijobna (only four syllables so it doesn’t get abbreviated) we visited another Rova which was a very modest, wooden house and Madagascar’s first UNESCO Heritage sight. The Rova at the next town of Ilafy didn’t even have any walls (or fake guides) and when we arrived it was closed for a three hour lunch break though equally we weren’t clear whether it had opened in the first place. On the way back to the hotel we stopped at the largest tourist market in the whole country, which was disappointingly the same shop repeated about 60 times: we ended up buying a mini-watering can painted with the Laughing Cow, and a baobab tree just so that we could indicate to the other shops that we had already bought something and didn’t want to look at their similar wares without causing offence.
|Rova at Ambijobna|
Finally Lemur Park. Cheating in the sense that you can get so close to the lemurs as to be in the same photo, but then if you’re going to fly around the world to the only place in which they are indigenous then you may as well get your value for money. Actually, we went to a place where diabetic lemurs climbed on to our shoulders to eat a banana, but we weren’t to know that at the time and equally we had an afternoon to burn.
|No article or blog about Madagascar is compete without a lemur photo|