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Introducing Fianarantsoa

Madagascar’s second-largest city, Fianarantsoa, is nothing to write home about. Although it resembles Antananarivo with its hillside location, steep cluttered streets and pollution, it lacks most of the capital city’s charm. If you’re travel­ling the RN7 by chartered car, however, you will almost certainly spend the night here, as the central location of Fiana­rantsoa (or Fianar as it’s often called) makes it an ideal overnight rest stop. Wander the chaotic old town’s narrow streets, crammed with touts and vendors and sleeping dogs, and stop for a drink at a little hotely along the way. Or visit one of Fianar’s popular markets, where mamas draped in bright sarongs shop for kiddie clothes and veggies with a squawking chicken tucked nonchalantly under one arm.