Just to contradict the assertion in the above tip: it can get lush. Just depends on your season of the year to visit the area. These were Laniera plains pictured in end of summer (March) whilst the above picture of the same area was snapped in the middle of dry winter (July).
Laniera plains edge Malaza, Lazaina, Namehana, Ambohitrakely, Ambohimanga, Anosy;...etc... It's huge.
OK, since hotels are said to rent bicycles and motorbikes.. maybe they uset o arrange excursions as well ? I mean with sportive guides et al. ?
Equipment: Add to the above list:
- sun lotions (esp. in summer, I got sunburnt by just picking fruits in my orchard for some half an hour at 10 am);
- field glasses;
- your lunch pack so you can afford a day-walk around some of the Northern Tana areas. In such case, that means you may browse (mostly by bike) the string of sacred hills that the area counts.
The horseriding school I talked in the above tip is no longer there anymore. May I suggest you to bring your horse, then ? lol.. well, seems like it's just an activity that cannot be done anymore. Still, you can do horseriding in clubs in the Northern area but they are not that near Malaza as the late school in Lazaina used to be (Lazaina is 1km from Malaza). Halfway between Tana and Ambohimanga, the Northern Tana areas counts two horseriding schools: Club Olympique de Tananarive [COT] in Ankadikely and not far from there, in Ilafy, Le Carrousel Club. I've seen riders browsing Ilafy and Ankadikely areas, whether the horses could be ridden up to Malaza area, I doubt.
When in Malaza, it is quite customary for visitors and urbaners to browse the area for some fresh air, for some hike, for sightseeing.
I would never repeat it: in seemingly hollow Malaza (no shop, no bar, no club), it's its serene and relaxing landscape that people seek for. Strange enough, it doesn't have the lush flora, the white sand beach, the rocky mountains, it's simply a typical village of Tana countryside. Red soil, ricefields, thatched roofed houses, zébus and peasants.
Still, it's such a scenery to see peasants work their plots with zébus, silently in this serene atmosphere. So, you can hike, ride bicycle, ride horse (there is a horseriding school in Lazaina, a village next to ours).
Your peregrination may even lead you to meet one of Malagasy greatest painters, the royal tombs in neighbouring Anosy, shop for artcraft in Anosy... and/ or have a ride on the dikes (digues) with an all-terrain ype bicycle.
Equipment: OK, bring water, tennis shoes (no hiring service in the midle of ricefields :-), your bike (many hiring services in Tana, I was told hotels have this service very often). No need to bring your horse, there is a riding school in the neighbourhood. I'll fetch the name of the school when in Malaza, oK ?
Then, your camera. Believe me, I was so surprised when, once, during my daily walk from Malaza through Lazaina then Anosy, my Mum brought me to an area where tombs of Tana noblemen are. There should be always surprises.