49 thoughts on “Madagascar Updates: Chapter 7

  1. A rather swish – and accordingly pricey – Italian restaurant is preparing to open in Antananarivo’s Akorondrano district (in the same building as Le Marais). According to its recently published menu, La Felicità will serve pasta, pizzas and a few other typical dishes. Mob 038 56 231 03.

  2. Bar à Ka is a new place in central Antananarivo, just opened a couple of months ago, serving cocktails, tapas, and a changing menu of Malagasy- and French-inspired dishes. It’s a tastefully decorated intimate space with an imposing giant metal baobab at its centre. It’s located opposite Orange on Rue Ratianarivo – the steep hill from Sakamanga up to Isoraka. Contact: mob 032 89 743 81; email lebaraka@yahoo.com; Facebook Bar à ka.

  3. President Andry Rajoelina spoke on behalf of the Malagasy in expressing his condolences to the British people, soon after the announcement of the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, whom he described as “inspirational for many generations… around the world”.
    For anyone in Antananarivo wishing to pay their respects to Her Majesty in person, a book of condolence will be open to all at the British Ambassador’s residence between 10.00 and 14.00 daily from 13 to 16 September. The address is Attenborough House, Villa 13, Park Alarobia, Antananarivo. Those wishing to send a message of condolence but unable to attend in person may like to know that Buckingham Palace has opened an online book of condolence at http://www.royal.uk.

  4. Opened early last year, Tamotamo Café is an attractively decorated place describes itself as a pizzeria and snackbar. It’s about 2km from the airport at Ivato, nextdoor to the Egyptian Embassy. Its menu includes pizzas, kebabs, steaks and salads – as well as some lighter bites. Several seafood options and some splendid ice cream too. Indoor/outdoor seating, takeaway & delivery. Credit cards accepted. Contact: mob 034 19 343 07; email tamotamo.cafe@gmail.com; Facebook tamotamocafe.

  5. Alberta Horteck says:

    Hotels:
    The Pallisandre has lovely rooms, but the restaurant is just average and too pricey.
    The new Radisson Blu is very good, though not excellent (I stayed twice and had small issues both times).
    Riviera Garden is still a decent option in Ambohidratimo, but freezing at night in August!
    My friend just stayed at Chat’O in Ivato and said it was good overall: basic, but warmer and more atmosphere than Riviera.
    Restaurants:
    Nerone in Ambatonakanga is still lovely.
    The food at Sakamanga is excellent, but staffing chaotic.
    I’d avoid Le Carré (near Sakamanga); I got horrendous food poisoning there!
    Savannah near Ivato is still very nice.
    And lastly, personally I’m a great fan of La Fourchette in Ambohidratimo. I love their mi sao.
    Tamo Tamo in Ivato is worth a mention. It’s a new place that opened during the pandemic. Nice menu and atmosphere.

  6. TOP Madagascar, the trade association of tour operators, has opened a kiosk at the new international terminal of Ivato Airport Antananarivo to assist its member companies in receiving their clients.

  7. On average, 220 vehicles carrying a total of some 4,300 passengers depart each day from the Maki taxi-brousse station on the Digue road in Antananarivo’s Andohatapenaka district. That’s roughly one every 6½ minutes, round the clock. In order to minimise traffic accidents, roadworthiness checks are made on departure by teams from the General Directorate for Road Safety to verify the condition of the taxi-brousse vehicles.

  8. A serious fire broke out at Ambohijatovo second-hand book market in central Antananarivo this evening around 19:45. The market has over 300 kiosks, a few of which are occupied by hairdressers but most by sellers of novels, magazines, schoolbooks and rare old books. Videos posted on social media by onlookers showed a large fire with flames reaching several metres high. Firefighters were able to bring the fire under control by around 22:00, but photographs from the scene show piles of scorched books with many more seemingly ruined by water from the fire hoses. The market has long been popular with the city’s students, most of whom cannot afford to buy new textbooks.

    • It has been confirmed that 49 of the 360 kiosks at Ambohijatovo market were burned in the fire, although some others suffered damage to a greater or lesser extent from smoke and water from fire hoses.

  9. Alberta Horteck says:

    Sakamanga has really gone downhill. Huge shame, as I always thought this was the best mid range place in Tana. But I think they are really struggling post Covid.
    Just basic stuff – no hot water in the room. They knew about it, but are still putting guests in these rooms. Bar closes at 7pm; no breakfast on site; a parrot in the lobby that has bitten me several times. In general, staff seem disinterested, except the manager who really did try to make up for things.

  10. In Antananarivo, La Fleur de Sel is a Chinese restaurant that opened in 2018. It is located on Rue Andriantsihoarana Ratsimbazafy in Analamahitsy (just east of Ivandry). Extensive Chinese menu of beautifully presented dishes – including dim sum, snacks, salads, crepes and a good selection of vegetarian options. Open daily 10.00–22.00. Contact: mob 034 12 582 22; email lafleurdesel.fds@gmail.com; web lafleurdesel.mg; FB lafleurdeselresto.

  11. Nofiko Chambre d’Hote is located in Talatamaty, 10 minutes from Ivato International Airport. Price from 50,000Ar for dbl. B/fast inc. Airport transfers possible. Mob/WhatsApp 034 90 856 11.

  12. M’ Marché & Café is a new supermarket and eatery at Ivato, located just a minute of so from the entrance to the international airport. Open 07.30–20.30 Mon–Sat, 07.30–17.00 Sun; mob 032 03 946 28 (shop), 032 03 946 27 (restaurant); email dirmagasin@interm.mg; web m-marche.mg; Facebook M.marche.cafe.

  13. Fanira EcoRanch is a horse-riding centre at Ampefy, located 2km from Kavitaha Hotel. It was founded a year or so ago by a young Malagasy couple with a keen sustainable/ecological philosophy. The offer horse-riding for all levels, including beginners, from one hour to a full day. At the time of writing, they have five horses: Noble Star, Ossimi, Tsivahiny (“Tsitsi”), Sam-mamiratra (“Sammy”) and Roy San Back. Book at least 48hrs ahead. Contact: mob 034 65 118 44, 032 77 797 02, 033 67 153 43; email contact@fanirina-ranch.com; web fanirina-ranch.com; Facebook fanirinaranch; Instagram @fanirinaranch.

  14. Initial work is already under way on a controversial urban cable car system for Antananarivo, a flagship project of Andry Rajoelina’s presidency. The overhead metro transport system is proposed to have two lines covering a total of 12km and carrying 274 ten-person cabins with a combined passenger capacity of 40,000 daily.
    There is an undeniable need to relieve the severe road congestion of the capital, especially with the city’s three-million-strong population forecast to double in the next 15 years or so, but this project has been lambasted as overly expensive, technically too ambitious and only of benefit to the wealthy, with a single-journey ticket price predicted to cost no less than €1. The system’s initial €152m price tag will primarily be met by loans from France.
    Work to prepare the sites for the 78 pylons needed to support the transport network began several weeks ago, with some causing outcry as in some cases they impacted historical sites and private land. Faced with criticism about the large amount of energy required to power this system in a city already struggling with electricity supply, the president said that a dedicated solar and thermal hybrid plant would be built. The government is optimistic to complete the work before the country hosts the 2023 Indian Ocean Islands Games.

  15. The new International Terminal of Antananarivo’s Ivato Airport which came into use last month represents a €91m investment. It is capable of handling up to 1.5m passengers per year with its 23 check-in desks, three jet bridges (enclosed boarding walkways), two luggage carousels, modern luggage scanners, 700-space car park, and 110 security cameras. The 17,500m² space features 100 artworks from 25 artists, and includes 1,500m² reserved for commercial and service activities such as souvenir and duty free shops, snack bars, banks and money exchanges.

  16. Hakanto Contemporary is the first non-profit art space in Madagascar. It was founded by philanthropist Hasnaine Yavarhoussen, CEO of the green energy company Filatex Group, who says he takes a ‘think globally, act locally’ approach to collecting art. Opened in February 2020, the 300-square-metre venue focuses on uplifting local artists, offering residencies and educational programming, and staging exhibitions. It is located in the Ankadimbahoaka district in the south of the capital and describes itself as ‘contributing to dialogues between local and international art scenes, whilst affirming the uniqueness of Malagasy culture’. There is no charge to visit. Hakanto Contemporary, Alhambra Gallery Level 2, Ankadimbahoaka; open Mon 14.00–17.00, Tue–Sat 10.00–18.00, Sun closed; email contact@hakantocontemporary.org; web hakantocontemporary.org.

  17. It is not well known that there was a NASA station built in Madagascar in the 1960s, and which remained operational until its abrupt abandonment in the mid-70s. The Tananarive Tracking Station, sited west of the capital at Imerintsiatosika (some 5km beyond where Lemurs Park is today on RN1), was part of NASA’s Manned Spaceflight Tracking Network which later became the Spacecraft Tracking and Data Acquisition Network, STADAN.
    It was originally built in 1963–64 to give ground controllers additional information on the Gemini spacecraft orbital injection and was later used for the tracking of the Apollo spacecraft. Equipment at the site included a huge 40ft dish antenna, GTARR (Goddard Range & Range Rate) VHF slotted array, GRARR dual 14ft S-Band, MSFN Quad-Helix UHF air-ground antenna, MSFN C-Band CAPRI RADAR system, SATAN Command & Receive antennas and MINITRACK antenna field.
    As with most of NASA’s agreements with foreign countries that allowed the agency to build a facility on its soil, there was no rent exacted for the site. The 10-year memorandum of understanding between the United States and the Malagasy Republic stressed the international benefits of space research to all mankind. The tracking station also generated much-needed weather forecasts for Madagascar, especially during the cyclone season, and provided jobs for some 200 local residents.
    In February 1975, following the assassination of Colonel Ratsimandrava and the seizure of power by Didier Ratsiraka, the new ruler demanded rent on the station at an annual rate of US$1m per year, backdated to 1963. The US could not accept such a demand and in July 1975, after a tense stand-off, the Supreme Council of Revolution of the Malagasy Republic ordered the station’s immediate closure, just as it was preparing to track an imminent Apollo-Soyuz mission. NASA employees were forced to evacuate in the middle of the night as the site was put under the control of Malagasy forces; all equipment had to be left behind.

  18. Lorna Gillespie writes to recommend a visit to the “lovely village of Talata-Volonondry”. It’s located a little less than 30km from the centre of Tana on RN3. Lorna describes it as a wonderful traditional Malagasy village with “young men selling sausages and koba at the roadside, while nearby a chap sits on his veranda creating handmade tin watering cans. There are no tourists and the villagers are eager to chat and sell their wares”.
    A visit to Talata-Volonondry could be combined with a day trip to the royal palace of Analamanga (it’s about 13km beyond the turn-off to the palace) or would make a convenient stop en route to the protected area of Anjozorobe (some 90km from Tana on RN3).

  19. As of November 2020, the queen’s palace in Antananarivo is to be known as Rovan’ny Madagasikara. The renaming marks a quarter of a century since a fire devastated the palace, destroying most of the 6,700 precious historical and cultural artifacts contained within. Many of the 1,675 pieces that could be saved from the flames are now exhibited in a new museum at the site.

  20. Tourists looking for unique gifts to take home from Madagascar may like to know of By Faratiana, an enterprise set up in Antananarivo by a local Malagasy woman (who used to own Tsingy Lodge in Bekopaka) producing artisanal bean-to-bar chocolates. The chocolates are made solely to order. Simply contact Faratiana via https://by-faratiana.business.site/ to place your order during your trip, and she will prepare and deliver it to your hotel on the desired date before your departure.

  21. Fly-Inn Hôtel opened at the start of 2020, located just a few hundred metres from the gates of Ivato Airport (free transfers). It has 18 smart double rooms with AC, Wi-Fi, sat-TV, minibar, safe & en-suite facilities. Rooms priced at 180,000Ar to 250,000Ar. The excellent restaurant serves mainly Italian cuisine and is open 06.30–22.00. Mains priced from around 15,000Ar; 2-course menu for 30,000Ar. Contact mob 033 73 594 66, 032 03 594 66 (hotel) / 033 73 594 96 (restaurant); email contact@flyinn-madagascar.com; Facebook flyinnmadagascar; web http://flyinn-madagascar.com/.

  22. The new Ivato international airport in Antananarivo was officially inaugurated last week and is now operational. Following several months of serious disagreements between the Malagasy presidency and Ravinala Airports consortium, a new compromise agreement has been renegotiated.
    The new terminal building, located immediately next to the old one, will be used henceforth for all international and regional flights. The old building will remain in use and become a purely domestic terminal.

  23. Phô Resto is a Vietnamese restaurant chain with five branches across Tana. Specialities include pho and various other Asian-style soups, as well as a number of Malagasy dishes and some cocktails. Delivery available. Branches at Bel Air (mob 034 99 300 10, 033 64 300 10, 032 03 300 10), Ampasamadinika (mob 034 99 910 99, 033 51 910 99, 032 11 910 99), Ankorondrano (mob 034 44 300 99, 033 33 906 99), Ivato (mob 034 45 910 99, 033 33 910 99, 032 07 910 99) and in the food court at Aire de Bypass. Email phorestomada@gmail.com.

  24. Tennessee Food & Drinks is, as the name suggests, an American-style diner. It’s located at the main road from the airport on the corner of the turning to Hotel San Cristobal. The barbecue spare ribs are especially popular, although portions are fairly modest and the place can get noisy when it’s busy. Open Mon–Fri 09.30–20.00, w/end closed; mob 033 45 104 57.

  25. The Nomad is a swanky restaurant located opposite (and under the same ownership as) Hotel San Cristobal in the Tana airport area. Open since the end of 2020, it serves French and Malagasy cuisine, with mains priced around 30,000Ar. Open daily 07.00–10.00 & 11.30–14.30 & 18.30–22.30; tel 22 538 24; email hellothirty3@gmail.com; Facebook thenomadrestaurant.

  26. Auberge La Tanière opened in Ampefy on the western shore of Lake Itasy in March 2019. It’s in a tranquil spot with a beautiful view across the water. There are 5x family bungalow (up to 6ppl) for 205,000Ar, 2x family room (6ppl) for 235,000Ar, and 4x dbl room for 125,000Ar. Simple but clean and smart modern décor. Malagasy food: mains 10,000–20,000Ar. Swimming pool, bike rental, but no Wi-Fi. Contact mob 034 90 703 98, 032 76 239, 33; Facebook lataniereampefy.

  27. Le Palanquin is a Chinese restaurant in the airport area, located almost opposite Aero Pizza. Open Tue–Sat 11.00–14.00 & 18.00–22.00; Sun 11.00–22.00; Mon closed. Tel 22 485 84; mob 33 11 438 08.

  28. On the corner next to Asia & Africa Hotel in Ivato, in place of the former Mo Café, is a Korean restaurant called Yoon’s Kitchen. Daily specials including kimchi jeon, ramen and napjjak goon mandu. Local delivery available. Open daily 10.00–21.00; mob 034 39 781 66, 034 79 697 76; email madapoomi11@gmail.com; Facebook yoonrestaurantivato.

  29. Opened around three years ago, Asia & Africa Hotel in Ivato is very well located for the airport. It’s a clean and functional Chinese-run establishment with rather variable reviews so far, although its Chinese restaurant is invariably highly praised. They have 30 rooms with AC, Wi-Fi, sat-TV and private bathroom. Simple buffet breakfast included. Swimming pool. The restaurant offers a Sunday buffet for 35,000Ar (half price for kids – defined as any diners under 120cm tall!)
    Address 78 rue Raseta; mob 034 05 986 88, 034 05 989 99, 034 05 688 68; email asiaandafricahotel@gmail.com; Facebook asiaandafricahotel.

  30. With super smart décor, a refined ambience and fine haute cuisine, La Compagnie des Voyageurs in Ivandry is currently one of the hottest spots in Tana for a really good meal. Price for main courses typically around 28,000Ar. New in October 2019; located next to Dzama Cocktail Café. Open daily 11.00–15.00 & 18.00–21.00; mob 034 08 130 30; email restaurantcdv@gmail.com; Facebook lacompagniedv.

  31. Some restaurants are bars in Tana that are regularly receiving particularly high praise lately include Irish Pub, Savannah, Tennassee, La Terrasse de Tydouce and La Compagnie des Voyageurs (Ivandry).

  32. The branch of Pili Pili Dock (a premium shop which sold spices and cosmetics) at the Tana Water Front shopping complex has closed down – and is now an outlet selling spectacles.

  33. If you need a place to stay outside Tana on RN4 (the route to Mahajanga), around 18km from the airport, consider Hotel le Domaine de’Ilo at Andrianifonana. It comprises a dozen bungalows and 25 rooms located in a rural spot surrounded by rice paddies, around 900m from the main road (turn left near the PK25 kilometre marker, if heading away from Tana). Price 170,000Ar dbl/twin (25m²) half-board including access to facilities, such as the swimming pool, fitness centre, tennis court, table football & ping-pong. Family rooms for 200,000Ar. Free Wi-Fi throughout the site. Bikes & buggies available.
    Contact mob 034 58 75 606, 034 58 78 606; email ilohotel19@gmail.com; Facebook iloHotelMadagaascar; web http://ilohotel.octosite.net/.

  34. Antananarivo’s answer to Uber is the new e-VTC service from E-san’andro. You book your transfer online at esanandro.com, and at the appointed hour a suited chauffeur will turn up in a smart spacious vehicle equipped with AC, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth (for playing your choice of music) and a complimentary bottle of cold mineral water. Journeys are priced by distance (3,000Ar/km) so there’s no worry that traffic jams will push the cost up. Operates daily 06.00 to midnight; mob 034 69 402 91; email support.esanandro@esanandro.com; Facebook EsanandroMarketplace; web esanandro.com.

    • The higher night-time rate now also applies in ‘rush hour’ (06.00–09.00 & 16.00–18.00). The e-VTC service can now also be accessed through their app, available from the Google Play and Apple App stores.

  35. A book featuring dozens of walks in within day-trip distance of Antananarivo is soon to be published. Titled “Tsangatsangana, Balades en Imerina, Madagascar”, it is researched and written by Daniel Dartiguepeyrou, who first came to the island in 1967. The majority of the featured walks are based around history and culture, but several nature walks are also included.
    See the book’s Facebook page for more details: https://www.facebook.com/TsangatsanganaImerina/

  36. There are a couple of bookshops in the airport area of Tana now.
    La Bouquinerie de Linda in Ambohibao offers true service with a smile; they stock new & used books incl some in English. Address 91 A bis Impasse de l’école Georges Brassens, Ambohibao Antehorika; mob 034 05 379 47; email zigzag7oaks@yahoo.fr & labouquineriedelinda@outlook.fr; Facebook labouquineriedelinda; Instagram @labouquineriedelinda; web zigzag7oaks.wixsite.com/labouquinerie.
    Un Livre pour Tous has a large selection of secondhand books, mainly in French, including novels, schoolbooks & books for kids. Rather disorganised, but cheap. It is located on the road from Ivato to Talatamaty, about 200m beyond Aero Pizza when coming from the airport direction. Address Rue Raseta; mob 033 13 234 82; email chantalrafanomezantsoazo@gmail.com; Facebook molina55555.

  37. Le Petite Brasserie – as one might expect given its name – is a chic Parisian-style eatery. Decent wine list & top notch food at reasonable prices; the duck & lamb dishes are partiularly exquisite. Situated in Isoraka one door along from the pharmacy opposite the church. Av Ramanantsoa; open daily 11.00–midnight; mob 034 52 082 01; email contact@lapetitebrasseriedetana.mg; web lapetitebrasseriedetana.mg; Facebook lapetitebrasseriedetana; Instagram @lapetite_brasserie_detana.

  38. A relatively new eatery in central Tana, Koko Kafe is a stylish & intimate space specialising in burgers, grills & wok dishes. It is located in Isoraka between Rossini & World Citizen Bar. Address 31 Av Ramanantsoa; open Mon–Sat 11.00–14.00 & 17.00–22.00 except Mon eve, Sun closed; mob 034 70 007 50; email kokokafetana@gmail.com; Facebook kokokafetana; Instagram @kokokafetana.

  39. Irish Pub Tana opened in October 2020, located opposite Radisson Serviced Apartments (formerly Tamboho Suites). It’s a classic Irish pub-restaurant with a great vibe, good grub and a big screen for sports fixtures. The fairly extensive menu includes various snacks, tapas, meat/fish grills, burgers, pizzas, pasta dishes and desserts. Open 07.45–02.00 every day and till 04.00 Fri/Sat; mob 034 11 400 46; Facebook irish.pub.tana; email irishpub.tana@gmail.com.

  40. The 30-room Tamboho Boutik Hotel at Tana Water Front in Antananarivo has become Radisson Hotel. Nearby, is the new Radisson Blu Hotel, with 168 contemporary rooms as well as meeting rooms and other facilities. Tamboho Suites on Rue Rahamefy, which has 56 studios and apartments, has also joined the Radisson Group under the name Radisson Serviced Apartments. More details of all of these are at https://www.radissonhotels.com .

    • Zanarison Zephyrin says:

      I have been recently visiting ex Tamboho hotel (Tana Water Front) which has become Radisson Hotel, same splendour and quality services, very cosy.
      Then I went to see Radisson Blu Hotel, but by the time I was passing by there (end November), it seemed to me (and the Radisson Hotel receptionist confirmed it to me later) it was not yet ready to receive guests.

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