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Introducing Ambositra

High on a plateau surrounded by misty green peaks, the lively village of Ambositra (am-boo-sh-tr) boasts as much fresh mountain air as you can gulp. It is the arts-and-crafts capital of Madagascar – in between the tall red-brick Betsileo houses lining crooked streets are over 25 artisans’ shops, selling woodcarvings, raffia baskets, polished stones, marqueterie (objects inlaid with coloured woods) and paintings. The souvenirs here are cheaper than those in Antananarivo, and the atmosphere in the shops less high-pressure.