Antsirabe is a beautiful spa town surrounded by volcanic massif located at 170 km south of Antananarivo. It is the third largest city in Madagascar. With its clean air and cool climate throughout the year, Antsirabe is the ideal city for holidays with family or friends. A city tour in a rickshaw through the avenues lined with jacarandas will take you on a new adventure.
Antsirabe is historically nicknamed Vichy Malagasy. The city was created at the beginning of the 18th century by Nicolas Mayeur, the first European visiting the city. Then, he named it Andratsay.
In 1872, Norwegian missionaries settled there to teach the inhabitants how to make bricks and to build houses. The city was renamed Tsirabe.
During the 20th century, it was the turn of French colonists to settle there. They built many buildings there and set up hotels and residences, a post office, a railway station and many gardens. It still breathes some colonial influence through its architecture.
In 1953, the king of Morocco Mohammed V and his son Hassan II were kept in exile in the golden cage of the prestigious "Hôtel des Thermes" by the French. Their passage left a deep memory to the inhabitants of Antsirabe.
The name « Antsirabe » comes from Malagasy words « Any sira be » which means « où le sel abonde ». The salt in question has made the reputation of this locality because since ancient times, it is in abundance.
Antsirabe is a charming city holds many assets to attract visitors. Discover the city of water and take as a starting point the majestic station on the Independence Square. It is a large, verdant and peaceful avenue with a view of the old Antsirabe station.
Continue your tour with a visit to the Cathedral, a building that dates back to 50. Do not miss out on the similarity it has with the European religious buildings, reflecting its colonial past.
Not far from here, you can enjoy the l’Hôtel des Thermes which is one of the symbolic buildings of Antsirabe. Under its imposing structure, the hotel will immerse you in the 80s with its architecture with European lines.
Continuing the route, you will not be able to miss the Thermal Center of Ranomafana which attracts every year many visitors. Although its official name is "National center of de crenotherapy and thermo-climatisme", all the inhabitants of the city and especially the rickshaws drivers call it simply the « Thermal ». At the beginning of the 20th century, the spa was renowned throughout the Indian Ocean especially for treating rheumatism.
The atmosphere is pleasant and Ranomafana Lake, created to prevent the escape of gas from spring water is worth a look. The Thermal welcomes you for care, massages or fitness treatments. A small stay in the Center will allow you to benefit from the virtues of the water from the hot springs.
On the road to the slaughter animals, Andranovisy is another pride of Antsirabe. Drinking a little of its Ranovisy "Malagasy Vichy water" is not only a source of an extraordinary sensation but is very good for the stomach. This allows you to regain strength to go west of the city and discover the Asabotsy market, the Antsenakely market and the zebu market. In these markets, a heterogenerous crowd mingles in the aisles and dealing with the sale or trading of all kinds of products and boosting visits.
To end beautifully the city discovery, stop at the two volcanic lakes: Andraikiba Lake and Tritriva Lake, two large bodies of water surrounded by beautiful scenery for relaxation and photography.
Located at an altitude of 1500m, Antsirabe is the coolest town in Madagascar. Antsirabe has a warm climate with a dry winter.
In winter, between July and August, temperatures drop in the evening and night at around 5 ° C. Sometimes, they even touch 0 ° C.
The best months to visit Antsirabe are February, March, April, November and December.
How to get there
The only transport to go to Antsirabe is the taxi-brousse. You can take it to the Fasan-karana station.
How to get around
The easiest way to get around the city is to take the rickshaw. With this means of transport, your ride will be more than pleasant and authentic.
You can also take the taxi, but there is very little in Antsirabe. The taxi rank is in front of the small daily market of Antsenakely.
What to do in Antsirabe
- See the monuments and vestiges of the colonial era in the city center as the alley of the station, the cathedral and the "Hotel des Thermes".
- Horse riding or mountain biking on the main road to Ambositra, enjoying the beautiful landscapes of rice fields, hills and villages.
- Visit the two large volcanic lakes: Andringitra Lake and Lake Tritriva Lake
- Walk around the streets and enjoy a few embroidery purchases as well as semi-precious stones.
- Walk in the Antsenakely market, the Asabotsy market and the zebu market.