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 Antsirabe



What to see   |   Guided tours   |   Where to sleep  |  Where to eat   |   Shopping  |   Transportation      Practical guide   |   Communications   |   Useful addresses   

Antsirabe is the third largest city in Madagascar and has a population of approximately 183,000. Due to its high altitude (about 1 500 m) temperatures are rather cool and very cool in winter! The template climate was probably the reason why Norwegian missioners chose this place to settle down in 1872. Its name means “where there is salt” honouring the large number of hot springs the town has, a fact that has given the city the nickname of “Malagasy Vichy”. The thermal baths had been long appreciated for their curative effects by the local population when French colonists decided to locate a thermal bath here in the 19th century. 
Antsirabe Cathedral
Antsirabe cathedral © OKO

Hotels, gardens, a train station and a post office followed providing the city a new “belle époque” look that is still well preserved in the architecture. Besides the common hot springs, there is also a sparkling mineral water which the famous “three horses beer” (which you have surely already drunk during your trip) is made of. In the distance, the white cotton flowers remind us which industry has made the region famous. Antsirabe is also the capital of rickshaws, which are still widely used by the entire population.

The best way to get confident with the city is walking its streets, an activity that can be done here without any fear, since the city is quite safe. The compact city centre with its nice mixed architecture of different styles invite visitors for a walk. In the European district French cottage-style houses are built next to Scandinavian villas with English style gardens. The tree-lined avenues always give some freshness whenever the sun is too bright. And whenever your feet don't suffice, nothing like hiring a rickshaw.

What to see

  • The hot springs

There are six hot springs in the city: those of the Hotel de Thermes with a spring spurting out at 52 ° C from a 22-meter-depth made Antsirabe reputation. The thermal baths are still working (but check schedules and fares!). A naturally heated indoor swimming pool is available for an extra amount.

Visitors can visit the "Ranovisy" (“eau de Vichy”) thermal baths at the south of the urban area as well. It used to be a thermal spa with massages, baths though it is quite abandoned now.

  • Sabotsy market

It is the biggest Antsirabe weekly market that takes place every Saturday. If you are interested to attend the widespread cock battles, the western side of the market is the place to be.

  • Ivohitra hill

Hill overlooking the city at 1651 m altitude. From the big market of Sabotsy, take the road to Belazao. After about 1 kilometre a track on the right side leads through a forest to the top of the hill, where you can enjoy a grandiose panorama of the highlands and the entire Antsirabe region. On the foothills of the Ivohitra there is a 9-hole golf course.

Guided tours

Descent of the Tsiribihina River 

Organizing the popular river descent from Antsirabe might be considerably cheaper than doing this in Tana, even though the canoe choice at the starting point of the tour in Miandrizavo, 220 kilometres to the west, is even broader! A recommendable guide with perfect English knowledge is Laza. You can find him at the l’Arche restaurant every evening.

We can recommend following tour operators in Antsirabe:

Discovermad
Mobile: + 261 (0) 33 12 232 08 / (0) 32 40 322 50
It offers a seven day circuit with full board from EUR 250 per person depending on the number of participants.

Travel Flying Service
BP 328 Antsirabe
Tel: + 261 20 44 992 16 / 44 485 68
Mobile: + 261 (0)32 40 199 90
e-mail: tfsmadagascar@moov.mg
For the more demanding, Francis Chapin invites you to get aboard his vessel “Aurore bleu", a comfortably equipped barge.

Road House
Mobile: + 261 (0)34 03 352 54
e-mail: roadhouse@roadhouse-voyages.com
Web: http://www.roadhouse-voyages.com
This travel agency offers more or less conventional travel packages, as well as original travel ideas: adventure, nature, rivers, high mountains, family tours, relax, National Parks, social projects, Roadhouse proposes a wide range of tours all over the country, like its one week package to discover the Zombitse park.

Rando Raid
In front of the Arch restaurant, between the hotel des Thermes and the cathedral
Tel: + 261 (0) 32 04 900 21
e-mail: randoraidmadagascar@yahoo.fr
For motor bike lovers, this agency rents Honda XL 200 upon deposit. It also offers a mountain bike and camping gear rental service.

RAVAKA
Tel: + 261 20 44 498 87
Mobile: + 261 (0) 33 24 204 03
e-mail: ravakarando1@yahoo.fr 
The association RAVAKA invites you to discover the highlands around Antsirabe. They offer several interesting circuits and  the benefits are distributed between the involved villages to implement development projects. You find further information about Ravaka and the trekkings on our section Community tourism


Where to sleep (Hotels in alphabetical order, prices from 2013) 

Budget   |   Middle class   |    High end


  Budget accommodations

Chez Billy
Lot 01 C 13, Antsenakely
Phone: + (261) 44 484 88
Mail: chezbilly@moov.mg
Web: http://chezbilly.freetzi.com
New low budget address which is becoming popular. Simple, nice and comfortable rooms with shared toilets, very good and cheap meals and friendly and familiar atmosphere. Location for cars offered. Very good value!
Rooms between 18,000 and 24,000 Ar, familiar rooms for four people 33,000 Ar

Green park hotel
Kianja Tsarasaotra, Lot 26 C 10
Tel: + (261) 20 44 051 90
Mail: greenparktsara@yahoo.fr
This small hotel offers nicely decorated bungalows set in a beautiful garden with a view of a surprising comfort. The hotel is a bit outside but still very central, you can easily walk to the centre in a few minutes or take a pousse pousse to drive around town. Breakfast is rather simple (for more elaborate one, go to the nearby restaurant Chez Jenny)
Double rooms with private bath  for Ar 33,000. Camping allowed (6,000 Ar)

Hôtel Hasina
Avenue Jean Ralaimongo, Lot 512 A 203 Soamalaza
Tel: + 261 20 44 485 56
e-mail: hotelhasina@moov.mg
Standard hotel with 34 average rooms. In the old building, the rooms are large and comfortable. Rooms overlooking the courtyard are preferable. In the new attached building, the rooms are not as big, but they are quieter and cope better with Western standings.
Double rooms cost Ar 36,000 and familiar 49,000 Ar

Hotel le Retrait
Ouest Essence Total Rianasoa, Tsihitamaso
Tel: + 261 20 44 050 29
Rooms with a bit faded colours but all in all an adequate good maintained accommodation with en-suite baths.
Double rooms at Ar 32,000 and triple 36,000. The double rooms at the recently built attached wing cost Ar 46,000.

Nouveau Synchro Pub
Rue Pasteur, Antsenalakely (in front of the cathedral)
Tel: + 261 20 44 962 24, Mobile: + 261 (0) 33 02 226 36
Perfect for people on a tight budget. An extra good point: the guide receives free accommodation and meals.
Rooms between Ar 19,000 and 22,000 . A studio for four with refrigerator, TV, kitchenette and two large beds is available for Ar 52,000.

Villa Nirina
Route d' Antananarivo
Tel: + 261 20 44 486 69
A very recommendable accommodation with comfortable rooms. Above all the family room on the second floor with a small living room is very attractive. It is surely difficult to find so much comfort for less money. Breakfast is included in the room price.
Double rooms: Ar 27,000, Triple rooms Ar 32,000 and family room Ar 40,000


Middle class accommodations 

La Résidence Camélia
Avenue de l'Indépendance 24,  BP 14
Tel: +261 20 44 488 44
e-mail: camelia@simicro.mg
Web: http://www.laresidencecamelia.com
In the city centre, in the old French district, we find this nice guest house with 11 comfortable rooms surrounded by a veranda and a garden. Half board (either lunch or dinner) is compulsory! (extra Ar 19,000).
Double rooms with  shared toilet between 42,000 and 54,000 Ar; with private facilities between 68,000 and 92,000 for a doble and from 82,000 Ar for a triple

La Résidence sociale d'Antsirabe
Route d'Antananarivo
Tel: + 261 20 44 483 47
e-mail: mra@moov.mg
web: www.residence-sociale-antsirabe.org
This former elderly home has been rehabilitated as a friendly and nice guesthouse that accommodates its guests in large and beautiful rooms. The staff is attentive and caring.
Rooms with shared facilities 40,000 Ar; a double studio 56,000 Ar, a triple from 69,000 to 80,000 Ar, for four people 98,000 Ar

La rose des vents
Tel: + 261 (0) 03 332 22
e-mail: larosedesventsmada@yahoo.fr
Web: http://www.larosedesventsmada.com
The coolest hotel in Antsirabe. Beautiful lounge with fireplace and library, nice grounds and even a heated pool. Meals are only available upon request. The 3 luxury and stylish rooms are equipped with all amenities. The rooms cost 30 € and the suites up to five people 50 €

Les Chambres du Voyageur
Phone: + (261) 20 44 979 38
Mail: chambresvoyageur@yahoo.fr
Web: http://www.chambres-voyageur.com
8 new charming and comfortable bungalows with all comforts located on a beautiful, quiet and green setting. Recommendable!
Double bungalow from 68,000 Ar, triple 82,000 Ar and familiar 124,000 Ar

Le Trianon
Rue Foch, Lot 24
Tel: + 261 20 44 051 44
Web: http://www.hotelletrianonmada.com
Building dating from the beginning of the 20th century that has been recently restored in the style of the 30s. Some rooms have parquet floors and are decorated with old furniture. All seven rooms have cable TV and en-suite facilities with hot water. Guests can chose between having their meals in the well supplied restaurant, where French and Malagasy music are played, or on the terrace.  
Single room 72,000 Ar, double rooms from Ar 83,000

Manoro Hôtel Tongasoa
Lot 13 b 10 Amdavahadimangatsiaka Antsirabe
Tel/Fax: + 261 20 44 480 47 / + 261 20 22 352 54
Mobile: + 261 (0) 32 07 624 44 / + 261 (0) 33 14 905 69
e-mail: edm@moov.mg

Soa Guest House
Lot 910 E 97 Vatofotsy Mahafaly Antsirabe
Mobile: + 261 (0) 33 15 279 90 / (0) 032 02 279 90
e-mail: soa_guesthouse@hotmail.com
This nice guesthouse is located just eight minutes from the city centre and has six bedrooms, a suite, a family bungalow and 5 cottages, a large lounge and a dining area all surrounded by a garden and a terrace, where breakfast is served. Lila, the cook, delights her guests with tasteful homemade meals.
Prices between 22 € for a single room and 68 € for the suite

High end accommodations 

Arotel
Rue Jean Ralaimongo, BP 303 Antsirabe 110
Tel/Fax: +261 20 44 481 20 / +261 20 44 491 49
e-mail: arotel.inn@moov.mg
Modern and comfortable hotel with an appeal also for business men. It is equipped with all what you might expect: TV, swimming pool, tennis court, business centre. Better ask for the rooms that look onto the post-office and the large street. The hotel also takes in charge of the laundry at an extra expense. Les Agapes, Arotel's restaurant, is well worth a visit. You won´t regret it!
Double rooms from 105,000 Ar

Hôtel des Thermes
20 I 55 Ambohimiandrisoa
BP 72 Antsirabe
Tel: +261 20 44 487 61/ 44 487 62  
Fax: +261 20 44 497 64
e-mail : sht@moov.mg

The classic establishment in town: an old and charming hotel in colonial style in front of the baths. It has 32 rooms, 16 twins, 16 large bed, and 4 suites. The rooms are huge, clean and have undergone a fully refurbishment. The hotel has a small pool and a nice garden. The restaurant is excellent and reasonably priced. If you like kitschy, retro ambiance this is surely your place. During the high season rooms prices move between Ar 145,000 and 210,000. Prices go dowen during the low season as much as to Ar. 100,000.
Hotel de thermes Antsirabe
Fassade of the charming Hotel de Thermes

Accommodations in the countryside  

Colorado Ranch
Tel: +261 (0) 32 04 159 16 / +261 (0) 32 021 28 95
e-mail: madaarthy@yahoo.fr
Web: www.coloradoranchmada.com   
Located a few kilometres at the south of Antsirabe, towards the south, the Colorado Ranch is a small family run complex led by horse passionate French. It offers its guests horse ridings and a studies for 2 or 3 people with kitchenette and hot and cold water. The ranch offers local and European cuisine, as well a mountain bike hire service. The location is outstanding.

Le Relais des Volcans
Station forestière d'Antsampandrano
Ambohibary Sambaina 111
Mobile: +261 (0) 32 04 072 98
e-mail: relaisdesvolcans@yahoo.fr
The forest station of Antsampandrano is located at the heart the Amborompotsy valley in the middle of a dense pine forest, was placed under private management. This hotel and restaurant offers four rooms and a camping site perfect for nature and hiking lovers


Where to eat

Agapes Restaurant
(at the Arotel)
In a whole rather functional setting the best reputed French cuisine of Antsirabe is served. The wide arrange of meals are prepared with fresh and (for Madagascar) exotic products, coming mostly from Europe. The imaginative chef loves experiments. The smoked duck fillet served with papaya slices is a runner. Malagasy-style crayfish is also very nice. Expect to pay for a whole dinner (including first and second course as well as desert) around Ar 10,000 per person.

Restaurant Manambina
Opposite the « Résidence d'Antsirabe «  on the Tana highway.
Tel: + 261 20 44 493 02
Charming, simply decorated restaurant with a large variety of dishes (from Malagasy to Chinese and even vegetarian). The "pirina ritra" (small freshwater fish) cooked in the Malagasy style is exquisite.

L’ Arche
Opposite Soafytel
On Friday and Saturday evening Malagasy musicians join here and create a joyful atmosphere. All for a very discrete price.

Le Pousse Pousse
Rue Radama, Antsenakely
Tel: + 261 (0) 32 40 275 26
Near a small market, the cheap menu and the quality meals make this place a  popular restaurant among travellers. Closed on Wednesdays.

Chez Jenny
Tel:+ 261 (0) 33 12 127 78
In a both rustic and modern decoration the nice Jenny will accomplish your gastronomic wishes with a smile. Nearby the Green Park Hotel.

La Tarantela
Rue Marcellon Champagnat
Lot 08 A 210 Antsenalakely
Tel: + 261 20 44 497 21
Not a mere restaurant, but also a place to go out at night in Antsirabe. Customers playing billiards and darts while having a drink mix with those degusting a tasteful zebu filet with pepper sauce. Open every day until the 1 pm. Takeaway pizzas are also served.

Le Venise
Behind the Chambre de commerce
Tel: + 261 (0) 33 11 411 61
Open the whole day from 8 am to midnight. Expect to pay about Ar 8,000 for a main course. It offers an attentive staff, nicely prepared dishes and an excellent quality-price relationship.

De Thermes Restaurant (at the Thermes hotel)
Excellent restaurant The duck, marget de canard, is excellent, as well as the zebu steak with green pepper sauce. About 13 000 ariary per person. The menu card is in French and the staff speaks only a little English.


Shopping

Gemstones

Gemstones mines surround Antsirabe. Therefore it should not surprise you if these stones are offered to visitors almost every where… Gem trade houses are abundant in the city. They also sell semi-precious stones such as amazonite, spectronite, agatha, pink quartz and carved semi-precious stones (eggs, grapes, ashtray...) Ask conditions of export since there are some restrictions in exporting them. And as always: do not always believe what you are been told about the authenticity of the stones!

Following trade house is recommendable:

Smeralda
Villa Ivalisova, Tsarasaotra
Tel: + 261 20 44 497 32
e-mail: smeraldathierryravaka@yahoo.fr
Web: http://smeraldah.skyblog.com
An innovative jeweller shop and workshop offering magnificent sculptures made of Ebony wood, as well as a wide arrange of gemstones. The place is not far from the Green Park Hotel. The workshop is open from 9 am to 11:30 am and from 2 pm to 6 pm. You can even have your gem cut at your taste and watch artisan whilst assembling your jewels.

Tablecloths

Antsirabe is well known for the nice hand embroidered tablecloths and shirts sold throughout the city. Many locals are engaged in this enterprise and will constantly try to sell you something.

Monsieur et Madame Rajamason Mamy
Lot 02-G-200 Parc de l'Est
Tel: + 261 (0) 32 596 40
e-mail: mamy_miniature@yahoo.fr
This is a small family business, accessible by rickshaw from the centre (Ar 500 or 1000). It has two workshops, the first one, dedicated to the production of miniature objects (rickshaws, airplanes, boats, motorcycle etc), is run by Mamy, who provides solid a explanation about the history of rickshaws and gives after a demonstration of his astonishing art skills (he is able to make miniatures from almost anything ). A certainly original gift to take home.
The embroidery workshop in the same house was created in 1999. Several embroiderers work there permanently. It sells large tablecloths, table sets, bread bags, aprons, small pockets, towel racks, tunics etc. It might take about two weeks of hard work to complete a large tablecloth.


Transportation

Antsirabe can be reached by taxi-brousse from Tana (regular departures, fares between Ar 8000 and Ar 10,000 for the three-hour drive). 
The  buses depart Tana at 6am and the ticket price costs 9 €.

Though there is a train station in Antsirabe, trains arriving to Antsirabe only transport goods.  If you want to continue to Miadrivazo (start point of the Tsiribihina descent)  you can take also a Taxi-Brousse from here, but be ready for a long and tiresome journey between 5 and 10 hours. The journey until Fianarantsoa takes around 6 hours on a very good road.

To move around Antsirabe you will not avoid the colourful rickshaws, which are plentyul in town. A trip will cost you something between Ar 500 and Ar 1000 depending on your bargain skills.
Pousse Pousse in Antsirabe

Pousse Pousse is the traditional transport in Antsirabe 
© Madagascar Travel Guide


Practical guide

Banks

Almost all banks are located at the main street (Rue Jean Ralaimongo).

BFV
Avenue de l`Indépendance
Tel: + 261 20 44 481 63
It accepts visa. Western Union point

BMOI
15 Rue Jean Ralaimongo
Lot 25 A
Tel: + 261 20 44 487 48/49

BNI
Avenue Jean Ralaimongo
Tel: + 261 20 44 488 31/32
Mo-Fr: 8 am to 11 am and 2 pm to 6 pm

BOA
Rue Jean Ralaimongo
Lot 22 K 30
Tel: + 261 20 44 480 34
Accepts MasterCard

There is a BMOI ATM near the market.


Communications

The post office with a near card phone is near the train station.

Internet connections are available at Cyber Paositra (Cnr Avenue d L'Indépendace, 8 am-6 pm, Mo-Sat) at the post office and at CyberCool, next to the BMOI bank.


Useful addresses

Tourist office (Délégation régionale du Tourisme d'Antsirabe)
Rue du Marechal Foch
Tel: + 261 (0) 32 51 89 527
Web: http://www.madagascar-antsirabe.com

Grandir a Antsirabe
Web: http://grandiraantsirabe.solidairesdumonde.org/
This non profit organisation manages two shelter houses for street children in Antsirabe

Les enfants du soleil
Rue Champagnat, Villa Stella
Phone: + (261) 44 488 28
Web: http://les-enfants-du-soleil-madagascar.org
This charity organisation sells hand made articles make by ancients and old prostitutes and invest the money in the street children of Antsirabe. A great idea who needs travellers buying souvenirs to continue with their project. 

ZOB (Zebu Overseas Board)
Phone:+(261) 44 492 04
Web: http://zob-madagascar.org
This kind of "company" offers the posibility of investing in a zebu that will be given to a family so they can make some profit with the animal. A different way to help the poor local people from the rural area.   

Consulat de France
Tel: + 261 20 44 480 33

Police station
Tel: + 261 20 44 480 33

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