Sunday, May 17, 2015

Daytripping: Getting Away at Le Carat in Ambatofotsy

Tucked away 30 kilometers south of Tana on the RN7 is a gem of a spot located on a small lake.  Le Carat Hotel is perched on this lake--from its patio and pool you can look out at the 'Gasikara' private park/zoo/museum.

This is a great Saturday or Sunday from Tana.  You can leave around 1030, arrive for lunch and then take an hour or two at the Park.  Or bring your suits and spend the day at the pool.

They had a nice lunch menu that was well priced.  The menu warns that your food will take 20 to 30 minutes (maybe they have a small kitchen) but ours arrived in a normal amount of time--although we've had friends whose food took much longer.  My lovely wife and I had the canard which was delicious.  The beers were cold which is always a plus.

Probably one of the best parts about this restaurant is attached small playground.  Grabbing a table next to the slide allows you to eat your lunch like a human being while your kiddos scream and fight play peacefully.  By the way, this is easily the safest and most well-made playground that you will find in Madagascar (outside of one at the Embassy or similar location).

We were further impressed by the private park.  Opened in 2003, this ambitious park has a border in the shape of the island done with white stone on the side of a gentle hill.  The guide takes you around the 'island'--each pocket of the island has plants endemic to that region, as well as a tribal hut/structure particular to that region.  There's also a museum with 3-d topographic recreations of different royal castles and buildings from around the country--it also has examples of regional beads, textiles and musical instruments.  Finally, there's a small 'zoo' with lemurs, tortoises and ducks.

The Details:
Phone Numbers:
+261 20 26 088 87
+261 34 01 234 20
+261 33 05 234 20

The world wide webs:
Facebook page

Restaurant: 0700-2000 (they have at least two high chairs)
Gasikara: 0900-1630

- 9000 ariary total to take out your family for a boat ride around the lake
for more than 1m
- 9000 ariary for each human taller than 1m to take the boat from the hotel (a five minute ride) to the Gasikara Park.  So the total costs for our family of five was 18,000 ariary to go the park and have an hour long guide tour.
- We tipped our English speaking guide 20,000 ariary.  He's part of the system of national park guides and take a taxi-bousse to work every day from Tana (an hour plus ride) and did a great job and his name N/Mabina

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