Antananarivo Shopping Tips by CatherineReichardt Top 5 Page for this destination
Antananarivo Shopping: 14 reviews and 31 photos
The big Shoprite supermarket in the centre of Tana is the ideal 'one stop shop' to stock up at either before you head out on your travels, or to buy last minute comestible goodies before you fly home. It stocks a wide range of groceries, toiletries and alcohol at what seemed to us to be reasonable prices.
Shoprite is part of a South African supermarket chain, and a large proportion of the stock appears to be sourced from South Africa, supplemented by quite a lot of imported goods from France (understandable) and some rather more unexpected places (such as the Middle East). As supermarkets spread through Africa, sadly (for the traveller and the local agricultural industry) they are crowding out local produce with imported brands, and there are relatively few local products on sale. So make sure that you read labels quite carefully if you're looking to bring home something that is genuinely from Madagascar.
What to buy: The obvious things to buy to bring home with you are bottled green peppercorns and vanilla pods (if you haven't already bought these elsewhere). The locally-produced chocolate comes in quite a range of varieties and is also surprisingly good - I am no expert, but it tasted pretty nice to me, and our friends who subsequently received it as gifts wolfed it down!
The local cheese is good too: it's interesting to note that the ousted Prime Mininster Marc Ravalomanana was (and probably still is) a major player in the local dairy industry. The cheese is mainly French in style from soft cheeses (similar to Camembert) to harder cheeses and there is quite a selection of yoghurt to choose from.
If you are looking to make an impression at a dinner party or wine tasting in the future, you could also consider buying a bottle of Malagasy wine: I can't drink wine, but in this instance I am somewhat grateful as I am reliably informed that the local offerings bear more than a passing resemblance to paint stripper and are thus guaranteed to provoke conversation (if not conversion)!
The local beer, on the other hand, is utterly marvellous: our annual 'Beer of the Year' accolade for 2008 (awarded after extensive and self-sacrificing field trials) went to Three Horses Brewery (THB) lager - served icy cold, it is the match of any beer in the world! Sadly, your luggage allowance is only likely to be able to accommodate a couple of souvenir cans however much you liked it!
Address: 28 Rue Andrianampoinimerina in the centre of town
Directions: Just off Avenue d'Independence (you should see it down a side street to the left if you're heading away from the railway station). If you're lost, just ask for "Shoprite, s'il vous plait?", as God forbid that you should have to pronounce the street name!
Theme: Food and Drink
Wondering what to buy the kids at home, when you don't have space for a cuddly lemur in your baggage?
Look no further than the top of the steps from the Haute Ville, where there are a few men selling wooden stamps. You select from a wide range of metal patterns with whimsically Malagasy themes (geckoes, lemurs, taxi brousses passing through baobab groves ...) and they then attach them to metal handles whilst you wait. Can't remember exactly what they cost, but they were cheap, and probably only the equivalent of a couple of dollars.
Back home, all the kids need is an inkpad, and they can play post office or stamp patterns on paper to their heart's content. They all take up considerably less space than that lemur, and you don't have to do so much explaining to customs on the way back ...
Theme: Toys and Games
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