Founded in 1830 by Queen Ranavalona I of Imerina, Fianarantsoa has long been regarded as the political and intellectual capital of southern Madagascar. It houses the island’s oldest Lutheran seminary, and together with nearby Ambalavao, it is the center of its low-key wine industry. The main point of interest is Haut-Ville, whose sloping cobbled alleys are lined with timeworn 19th century buildings, many still occupied by descendants of the original inhabitants.
Ideally suited to casual exploration on foot, Fianarantsoa’s compact Haut-Ville (Upper Town) includes at least 500 houses that were constructed in the second half of the 19th century. The most impressive of a trio of old churches is the Cathédrale d’Ambozontany, a brickface Catholic edifice that dates to 1890 and has two domed clock-towers.
Constructed over 1926-36, the narrow-gauge Fianarantsoa-Côte Est (FCE) Railway passes through 48 tunnels and crosses 65 bridges on its spectacular twice-weekly 102-mile descent to the port of Manakara.
A stop on the FCE Railway but also accessible by road, Sahambavy is home to the legendary Lac Hôtel, which stands on the shore of a small but pretty pine-fringed lake. Madagascar’s only tea estate can be visited here.
The Anja Reserve, 40 miles from Fianarantsoa, is Madagascar’s busiest community-run ecotourist site. It protects around 400 ring-tailed lemurs and offers guided walks to see these enchanting and highly sociable creatures.
Camps & Lodges
We have curated a selection of accommodation options for Ngorongoro Crater. Our recommendations are based on firsthand experience and are chosen for their unique character, location, and exceptional service. Our consultants are able to suggest properties that are perfect for your travel style.
Our itineraries will give you taste of what is possible when you travel in Ngorongoro Crater, and they showcase routes we recommend. Consider them as inspirations because each of our programs are uniquely created by our knowledgeable consultants.