Ambalavao is a small bustling town in the southern highlands of Madagascar set off the main road on the way to Isalo from Fianarantsoa.  Though it may not be a main stop, or even a stop, for most passersby’s it is a great town to see the creation of some of the iconic souvenirs found throughout Madagascar.  The town itself is a typical Highland town with its brick houses and churches but what makes it different is the large cattle market, Antaimoro paper, silk making, and it is the stageing place for the trek up Andringitra, the second tallest mountain in Madagascar. 
            Upon my arrival in Ambalavao I found a hotel just outside of town which turned out to have
the best showers I have experienced thus far in Madagascar.  A nice shower is something that is taken for granted in the western world but when you take bucket baths at home and when traveling you usually find showers with cold or very limited hot water, finding an endless supply of hot water with amazing water pressure is like finding the Holy Grail.  With that said, after dropping the packs off in the hotel room we made our way into town to tour what it had to offer.  This in total took just under two hours, with a good portion of this walking to and from the hotel.  First we made a stop to observe the steps in the making of the silk scarves.  Afterwards we made our way to see the making of the Antaimoro paper.  The paper is equivalent to a papyrus like paper made from the crushing of a bark and water and set to dry.  This is then inlayed with flowers for decoration.  This paper is then turned into a number of different souvenirs like hanging photo picture frames.  

Silk Making

Antaimoro Paper Making

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