Ambalavao is a picturesque town surrounded by mountain peaks, rice fields and vineyards. The inhabitants of Ambalavao are part of the ‘Betsileo’ people; the third largest tribe in terms of population in Madagascar. Betsileo means ‘the invincible ones. Their typical architecture makes the town photogenic and cozy. They are very diligent (cattle) farmers. On Wednesday and Thursday, the largest zebu market in the country takes place in Ambalavao. In addition, there are also winegrowers, traditional ‘paper makers’ as well as weavers of wild silk which are interesting craft places to visit.
BETSILEO & BARA
On this natural border between mountains and lowlands, and between cattle-breeding and rice cultivation, two Malagasy ethnic groups meet: the Betsileo and the Bara. The typical building style of the Betsileo (wooden balconies with vibrant colours) contributes highly to Ambalavao’s fairy tale charm. The semi-nomadic Bara drive their herds of zebu over the vast southwestern savannas. Once a week they gather in Ambalavao for the country ‘s largest zebu market, bringing a sense of adventure and the freedom of the outdoors to town.
BOOK YOUR ADVENTURE
Adventure and rewarding outdoor experiences are two excellent reasons to visit this region. Nearby, Andringitra National Park is a paradise for those who enjoy overnight hiking trips.
Tsaranoro Valley offers a wide range of stunning trails, from easy, to challenging trails.
Located amongst granite rock formations, the ecotourism project Parc d’Anja is just south of town and well worth a visit. Troops of ring-tailed lemurs, perhaps Madagascar ‘s best known lemurs, can be seen only a short walk away.