Chez Haga is a Malagasy country style guesthouse located at the Royal Hill of Ambohimanga, 24 kilometres from Antananarivo. The property, situated only 300 metres from the Rova itself, offers a great view of the surrounding landscapes, facing the hills of Mangabe, Andringitra, Kaloy and Langaina.
Chez Haga offers reasonable priced accommodation in a homely atmosphere. The two-storey building includes five guest rooms, three double and two single rooms, all of which are different in style and character. The living room and an outside patio function as the dining, lunch and breakfast areas. Shared basic bathroom facilities are located on the second floor.
The Malagasy host and author, Michèle Rakotoson, has restored and furnished her house tastefully, using embroidered tablecloths made in the village. Traditional tableware and simple authentic Malagasy decor makes Chez Haga suitable for various cultural events, such as literature, poetry and jazz evenings as well as kabary - a traditional Malagasy form of speech used in public debates throughout the rule of the Imerina Kingdom. While kabary was suppressed during the French colonisation it re-emerged following independence.
In addition to the serviced restaurant, Michèle welcomes guests and day visitors to unwrap their own picnics at the fixed-to-the-ground wooden tables in the large garden area. Self-serviced picnickers are only expected to buy their drinks from the restaurant.
“Ambohimanga is a wonderful place where you can feel the pulse of the Imerina and understand the history of these hills. In all, Ambohimanga has a meaning: The structure of the village, the location and architecture, the rice paddies and fields, it would be a pity to miss it all. Ambohimanga is worth more than a detour. We must give visitors the opportunity to ask and explore its trails and listen to the heart beat”.
— Michèle Rakotoson
Close to the main building stands a smaller, over 200 years old house, the second oldest in the area after the Rova itself. The building originally functioned as a tribunal and was thereafter used a doctor's practice. The house is currently in a state of restoration.
The surrounding area offers excellent hiking in all directions and is a good start for learning about the origins of the Merina Kingdom, that once ruled and unified the different ethnic groups of Madagascar. In addition to the Rova, the nearby Soavinandriamanitra Culture Park offers various attractions, such as reptiles, chameleons and many small strange creatures unique to Madagascar. There is also a very cute and tame family of Sifaka lemurs.
Michèle also maintains a second property a few kilometres from Ambohimanga. The house offers an alternative to anyone seeking calm, peace and nature, between the countless hilltops and typical Malagasy villages of the Merina highlands.
At either locations, Michèle and her friendly staff genuinely welcome their guests, whether one is just dropping by for a coffee, lunch or dinner, or stays over the weekend including one of the organised treks and picnic excursions.