Which hotel to pick for your first nights in Antananarivo?

After three weeks of road tripping through the north of Madagascar, we are back in Ivato, the village near the capital Antananarivo. The next four days we take the time to relax and process all the beautiful things we have seen, but also to write and to edit many photos. Next to this, we test two different hotels for you, so that we can tell you exactly where you can sleep in Antananarivo when you have just landed in Madagascar!


Ecole Lodge – relaxing on the countryside

The further we drive away from the city, the quieter it becomes. Honking cars and food stalls make way for hills, zebu’s (cows) and sandy roads. We drive past small villages with mud houses and waving children. After half an hour we arrive at Ecole Lodge, where owner Fabienne warmly welcomes us.

She shows us around, we visit the swimming pool, the restaurant and finally our spacious lodge. Enthusiastically we put down our backpacks and walk straight to the large glass doors with a beautiful view behind them! From our bed, we look out over the rolling hills and countryside around the capital Antananarivo (Tana).

School for nearby villages

After a hot shower, we are in the living room with Fabienne. Her little daughter is playing around us while we are eating. Fabienne explains where the name “Ecole Lodge” comes from. Here in the countryside, there is great unemployment and a lack of educational possibilities. Most children do not go to school. Ecole Lodge has, as the name suggests, the intention to be a school for the people in the area. They learn here to cook, to interact with guests and to speak English. In short, they study how to run a hotel.

In this way Ecole Lodge provides employment for the local residents. Fabienne is also building a school where the children from nearby villages can go to. The next morning she proudly shows us the location for this new school. Currently, the children do not go to school here because the nearest school is almost two hours away (on foot) from here. In addition, stories are circulating about child theft, with children being kidnapped from schools and their organs being stolen. A horrible story that makes most parents want to keep their children close by.

Visiting the villages and rice fields

During a walk with Fabienne, her daughter and husband we see more of the local life. For example, we visit a family that lives with two small children in a tiny house. The family is happy to see Fabienne, immediately a fire is lit to make coffee and sweet soda comes on the table. Our host works for the Ecole Lodge and will soon be managing the school.

After coffee, we walk through rice fields to another village. Ries is silent, he is affected by seeing the poverty that prevails here in Madagascar. It is a fact that you are constantly aware of, but that still really hits you when you see it so close by visiting a family that lives in this poverty. Fabienne says that this is something she wants to show to visitors to Madagascar, especially because there is progress, the country is doing better! And by visiting these places as a tourist and staying at Ecole Lodge, you can contribute to that too.

More information about Ecole Lodge:

A stay at Ecole Lodge can be booked through Ramartour. You stay in spacious lodges where there is room for four people. There is a swimming pool and a large garden. In the evening you eat together with Fabienne and her family in a homely setting.

Activities Ecole Lodge

You can do various activities in the hilly landscape around Ecole Lodge. For example, it is possible to go mountain biking, to do a multi-day hike where you sleep with the locals, or to rent a quad to explore the area. For more information click here or contact Ramartour.

When do you choose Ecole Lodge?

Do you want peace and nature around you, are you looking for space and would you like to find out more about the local culture and population? Then Ecole Lodge is the place for you to stay!

A night Ecole Lodge costs € 45 (2 people), click here to book directly. Food is not included, breakfast costs € 5, lunch € 7.50 and dinner € 8.50 per person.

Ecole Lodge
Tel: +261 20 22 487 23
Website: ecole-lodge-antananarivo.com or ramartour.com
Email address: booking@ecole-lodge-antananarivo.com


Meva Guesthouse – beautiful rooms in the vibrant area of Ivato

On our third day, we drive back to Antananarivo. We are pretty zen because of the peace and quietness we have been surrounded to and are ready for the bustle of the capital! Meva Guesthouse (just like Ecole Lodge part of the Ramartour family company) is a beautiful colonial building surrounded by a large garden with rabbits and turtles. It lies in the middle of busy Ivato (the airport suburb of Tana) but is spacious and a perfect place to start exploring Ivato!

Our room is nicely furnished and we have a balcony where we spend the majority of the day in the sun! After we have unpacked our things, I walk to the glass conservatory with long wooden tables, my workplace for the coming days! This places immediately feels like home, it doesn’t have this typical anonymous hotel vibe but instead feels cosy!

Cooking again in the big kitchen

At the end of the afternoon, we walk to the shopping centre that is close by. We buy tasty ingredients and while I continue to write, Ries cooks a nice meal. Cooking ourself is something that is not always possible when travelling so it is extra nice that you are free to use the spacious kitchen at Meva Guesthouse.

Arrange everything, from taxi’s to bus tickets.

During our last day at Meva Guesthouse, we are busy preparing the continuation of our journey through Madagascar. Tomorrow we will leave for Ile Sainte-Marie, an island in the northeast. To get there we need a mix of taxis, buses, cars and a boat, but we don’t know how to book these. Fortunately, there is saving angel Joel. He is the brother of Fabienne and contacts us for the various transport companies that we need. In no time he has reserved the best seats on the bus for us and he makes sure we have the right boat tickets. So nice, if we had done this ourselves we would have spent at least half a day doing this!

And so our pleasant time in and around Antananarivo ends and we are on the bus the next morning towards our next adventure: Ile Sainte-Marie!

More information about Meva Guesthouse

Meva Guesthouse can be booked through Ramartour. The hotel is ten minutes away from the airport, near various banks and restaurants. There are several spacious rooms with ensuite bathrooms. There is also a family residence with its own kitchen and living room. Breakfast is served every morning in the kitchen annex conservatory. It is also possible to have lunch or dinner at Meva Guesthouse.

Activities Meva Guesthouse

Meva Guesthouse facilitates various activities like a guided city walk through Antananarivo. Furthermore, there is the possibility to go horse riding, cycling or hiking.

When do you choose Meva Guesthouse

Meva Guesthouse is a perfect start or end to your trip through Madagascar. The hotel is close to the airport and it is a nice place to catch your breath after a long flight or to end your last days in Madagascar in a relaxed way. You can stay in Meva Guesthouse from €29 (2 people), click here to book directly.

Meva Guesthouse
Tel: +261 32 42 89 662
Website: mevaguesthouse.com
Email address: booking@mevaguesthouse.com


Ramartour

Jonah, the brother of Joel and Fabienne, whom we also meet in Ivato, is the owner of the family business Ramartour. Ramartour is a tour company that offers organized tours and hotels in Madagascar. With over 16 years of experience in the tourism industry, Ramartour can help you put together your trip through Madagascar. Choose a tailor-made journey, or put together your ultimate journey using different pre-set building blocks.

The Ramartour team does all this together with ánd for the local population. There are various projects such as Ecole Lodge that stimulate education, entrepreneurship and self-reliance. In this way, Ramartour not only creates jobs, but there is also a long-term stimulus for the local economy.

For more information about Ramartour, take a look at their website or contact Jonah:
Ramartour
tel: +261 20 22 487 23
Website: ramartour.com
Email address: info@ramartour.com


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* We stayed here on invitation of Ramartour, however, everything above is true to me, as always I reflect my own opinion and experience.

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