Antananarivo offers many terrains to hike on. Escape the hassle of the city center & head to any coutryside. My favourite & natural area is the one past Anosy Avaratra (Northwards, on the way to Ambohimanga hill). There, hills alternate with plains, that makes your trek interesting, exercise-wise. Nothing complicate: one foot before another, then walk! On your own, with friends, with your partner... on your rythm.
Even for who doesn't like endurance exercise, the trek cannot be boring. You could discover fauna elements. This yellow frog: a miracle sight as I long longed to see one on my own & in the wilds. The spiders: various colours, not dangerous, just amazing! The many bird species & their distinctive chants. The trees, apart from the usual eucalyptus & pinetree, can still be a curiosity. At the relatively new & not yet fully operational Soavinandriamanitra park, you could already bond with lemurs. Not interested in any of those ? Think pure air, think pick-nick in grass, plains that don't contain any poisonous animal. Leave the scorpions for coastal jungles. Just choose the shade of a pinetree forest to reward your hiking effort. That smell! Or, choose the top of a rock for a bonefire while enjoying some terrific views. Just be sure you could light a fire at that place with such a weather.
Plus, the many historical villages, picturesque landscapes of this Northern area ! Royal Ambohimanga hill is historical, so are Namehana, Ambohidrabiby...
The sight of peasants invectivating zebus in ploughing their ricefields. The sight of those women chatting joyously, laughing while busying themselves transplanting rice springs from a plot to another. The sight of herdsmen running after their cattle whilst the latter get crazy & run in every senses. The cultivators pampering their vegetable patches. All of that! Plus, the kindness of kids, the greetings on their smiling faces. Kids are the easiest to get in touch with. However, adults would be glad to talk to you about their activities & areas.
Equipment: - Walking boots. I'm in favour of this as sneakers are not comfy to walk with for hours. Plus, boots have this advantage to maintain your ankle at the right place. Sandals, forget it! The feet could simply get sunburnt without you could even notice it.
- Garnment, I'm still in favour of linen as it is the most comfy material you could get in summer. In cooler season: layered & more technical material.
- Water (1.5 l is enough for a 2-hour trek. More if it's hot & if you plan to walk longer)
- Cookies (for me, banana at 10 am if I start the trak at 7am).
- Cap (a large hat in summer and, more overall, when the sun is bright & strong)
- Sunlotion on the face & neck & its back, on your arms & hands
- Hiking and Walking
Cycling to sightseeing
Although Antananarivo and its province do not have any beach, they offer some opportunities to see other landscapes: the highlands. Through these areas, you can either walk either cycle either ride a motorbike to see the plains, the villages, the ricefields in cascades, in plains. Also its geography allows variations in declivity, that may interest experienced cyclers, for instance.
From pure sport, it will evolve into some sightseeing tour.
OK, you don't know where to go, which route to follow, you may check MadaVTT. This club promotes VTT (mountainbiking). They use to organize tours in Antananarivo (e.g Le circuit des 3 rovas, a circuit that liaises 3 sacred hills that have palaces in Antananarivo area) & elsewhere through the Island. If my memory serves me well, they use to include guests. Maybe you could contact them to see whether there should be sthg that interests you.
They have a website (in French). I saw it a while ago over the net. Now, Feb. 2006, I could also read about their last tour. In case you do not understand French, you may want to check the website anyway, just to have e-mail addresses and get into contact with organizers. No ?
Equipment: Maybe a bike ? Not sure they hire mountainbike. Anyway, browse their website, send e-mails about their conditions, dates, locations, possibilities. Well, you know the way....
- Hiking and Walking
The place to be
This is the main sport stadium in town. It uses to host major (by Malagasy standards) events, the most important being JOI, Jeux des Iles (de l'Ocean Indien, that is).
Sometimes, Madagascar hosts some regional meetings, especially football. Then, Mahamasina stadium should be the center of action.
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