"Suddenly..." Ambatoharanana by Norali

Ambatoharanana Travel Guide: 13 reviews and 15 photos

Look at the picture. What does it remember you of ? Is it one of ideas you could make of a village in the Merina countryside ? I guess most of you guys don’t have any faintest idea about that is supposed to be a “typical” “Merina” countryside. No worries. I’ll show you in the tips or travelogues or both. But this ! I can tell the architecture of this St Paul chapel in Ambatoharanana isn’t any typical of Madagascar’s capital city. Only proper to the Ambatoharanana area. And you, could you guess which architecture it’s of ?

Never mind…

Now, check second picture. For sure, those sport accessories are not that familiar to us either. But were, are, will be typical to some (past, present, future) Ambatoharanana inhabitants.

Ah! You got it!…Ambatoharanana has some British flair. It uses to be very surprising to spot this setting from afar. So is getting close to the village and being introduced to the buildings there.. at least, to the biggest three of them. The Saint Paul Chapel, The Bishop Palace and the tall Library building, all included in the compound of this Anglican Theological College of Ambatoharanana.

Tend to believe that no matter how many times you’ve gotten there, “Suddenly, an English village in the Merina countryside !” is something that uses to come to mind when you see this setting, especially if you have walked about 2 hours in the countryside, with savannah-type grass on the hills & ricefields in the plains. Especially as sometimes during your walk, you could even be granted with the sights of oxcarts being loaded with harvests from cascade ricefields. Especially like those times, especially in winter, when you may bump into some countryside celebrations. Could be for circumcisions or famadihana (lit. “returning of the bones”, basically rewrapping the corpses of dead relatives). Both rites we are accustomed to and one wouldn’t expect to witness in, say, an English village. Especially when you get into contact with the locals… Our savannah grass can be compared to African ones, our ricefields remind visitors of Asia, the numerous hills and massifs, esp. in the Hauts Plateaux, bring globetrotters to the Andes (or so they say) ... but the locals, we are unique. And locals in Ambatoharanana are even more it than others. For they having included Anglican Missionaries since end 19th century. For the latter having brought there parts of their culture, their lifestyle, their faith & rites related to it.

The landscape I described earlier… The ricefields in plains & the savannah-grass on hills, the oxcarts, the zébus grazing on those slopes, the carmin or red-brick houses in those (sometimes sparse) hamlets, the sights of tombs on top of some hills, those hills and ranges of hills… all of and more than this… just a tentative description of a “typical” “Merina” countryside.

Would I manage to convey the English flair of this quiet Anglican Theological College compound ? Would I manage to convey the village feel of this quiet Northern Tana countryside village ? Would I manage to make you feel part of my wanderings through the words I use to tell you the tales ? Anyway, for some time, there would be only words in this page. Pictures will come later... For some reason, I felt the urge and the inspiration to write the words first and upload the pictures afterwards... Strange... Only God kows where this way of proceeding will lead me.

Don't worry about those figures placed in the text, they're names of pictures files I should include in the page & tips.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Serenity, vistas
  • Cons:Still off the beat path, even for Malagasy people. Good place to escape from it all!
  • Intro Updated Mar 5, 2008
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Reviews (13)

Comments (3)

  • kenHuocj's Profile Photo
    Mar 17, 2008 at 12:13 PM

    Really surprised to read about the Missionaries in a French Colony - insightful journey ;-)))

  • cachaseiro's Profile Photo
    Mar 15, 2008 at 11:27 PM

    this looks very nice. i can't help thinking trhat this looks like a good place to go cycling too :O)

  • Museeuw's Profile Photo
    Apr 20, 2007 at 2:39 PM

    On the risk of making myself look stupid: neogothic style? :-) And really nice picture of the valley!


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