Ambohitrombihavana - At the Heart of the Lords' Village

Ambohitrombihavana, a small hill of 56 hectares where Andriamboninolona, a pretender to the throne, resided and was buried, was built during the royal period. A peaceful place, somewhat isolated from the city, it tells the story of a prince with a big heart.
The hill is located 12km outside of the capital, one hour by road, on the RN2. The village is perched on the hillside. It was  Andriamboninolona, nephew of King Andriamanelo, who erected this district, whose origins can be traced back through time. Suspected of seizing the throne of Andriamanelo, Andriamananitany, Prince Andriamboninolona's father, was killed. Afraid of being subjected to the same fate as his late father, the son left his hometown and moved to Ambohitrombihavana. But when Andriamanelo became old, and since no man can determine the length of his life, but especially out of respect for his mother's counsel, he sent for his nephew and
made him return to his empire.
Without much conviction, Andrianamboninolona returned to his uncle Andriamanelo, who was trying to make amends for his mistakes. However, known for his great heart, Andriamboninolona accepted his apology by saying "ity vohitra omby havana" or "this hill can accommodate the whole family", hence the origin of the name "Ambohitrombihavana".
Ambohitrombihavana is also a pleasant place to escape the urban atmosphere of the city of Antananarivo. From here, one has a magnificent panoramic view over Analamanga and the Imerina mountains. It is worth taking the time to picnic by the side of the RN2 national road and to have a look at the natural sights of rice fields, hills and rivers. The place is also famous for the fanorona (Malagasy chess game) and the cockfights that take place every Sunday afternoon.
This article was featured in Prime Magazine December 2018

Useful Information

When to go

Antananarivo has a warm temperate climate. Its hot season is characterized by stormy rains while winters can become quite chilly. However, the weather is quite pleasant in Antananarivo.

How to get there

Ivato International Airport, a dozen kilometres and an hour from Ambohitrombihavana, connects Antananarivo to the world's major cities. From Paris, take the regular flights by Air Madagascar.

Where to stay

Hotel Colbert - SPA & Casino is one of the most elegant hotels in the city, a real palace with a sublime setting. The Tana Hotel is also located downtown, while the La Ribaudière Hotel and the Urban Hotel offer an exceptional view of the city centre.

Where to eat

The restaurants of these hotels offer a diverse menu. For local cuisine, visit "Chef Mariette", a well-known chef of Malagasy cuisine. At the Maison des Cotonniers, the dishes are served on the terrace, above a lovely street in the Ambatonakanga district.

What to see

Tour the capital, its old colonial buildings and historic monuments, starting at the Queen's Palace in Manjakamiadana. Discover nearby the Prime Minister's Palace and the narrow streets where history has left its marks. You might also like to visit the Ambohimanga Palace (the one of the former King Andrianampoinimerina), just a few kilometres away from the capital.