Sights in Antananarivo

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Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar - view from our hillside house. That tallest building is Hilton Madagascar.

Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar - view from our hillside house. That tallest building is Hilton Madagascar.

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For those more energetic, a stroll back down the steep, narrow streets to the Avenue of Independence is recommended. As well as allowing you to marvel at the tireless way the Malagasy walk up and down these hills every day, the views and street scenes will give you an idea of how the Malagasy people live, and give you a greater appreciation of what is sometimes a much maligned city.

Most people travel to Madagascar for the wildlife, hoping to spot lemurs and chameleons, and for those who don't wish to go trekking through national parks, the zoo at Tsimbazaza is the ideal place to spend an afternoon.

Set in gardens dominated by giant travellers palms, Tsimbazaza allows you to get up close and personal with several species of lemur. They may not be in the wild, but if you are lucky enough you will still hear their strange voices and cries.

The reptile house has a good selection of chameleons and snakes and a small natural history museum attached to the zoo has some interesting displays of taxidermy, fossils, butterflies and culture. Admission to the museum is included in the price of your zoo entry.

If shopping is your thing then the markets of Tana could be for you. They sell almost anything and cater for both tourists and locals alike. The cost of each item will vary depending on whether you are a local or a tourist, but bargaining is acceptable and can be an interesting experience in itself. From clothes to tacky souvenirs to all the fruit you can eat, you are sure to find something memorable to purchase in the markets.

The once famous Zoma market no longer operates as it once did, but bustling markets can be found at the top of the Avenue of Independence and also past the railway station at the bottom of the Avenue of Independence.

The markets are fun, places to visit, but they can be crowded and care must be taken with any valuables that you may be carrying or wearing.

Lac (lake) Anosy, although sometimes looking a bit worse for wear, is worth a look, especially when the Jacaranda trees that surround it are blooming. A World War 1 monument stands on an island in the middle of the lake. Erected by the French, the monument is accessible by a causeway.

Ambohimanga (Blue Hills) is just out of Tana and makes a great day trip. Follow the link for more information about this popular destination.

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