Tuesday 10 May 2011

Photos Are Not My Only Souvenirs From Madagascar

Madagascar was great for souvenir shopping. We visited some amazing craft workshops and the markets were not so bad, either.

We I would have liked to buy much more than we did, but unfortunately, we had some internal flights on the island and had to keep our luggage to a 20kg maximum. Oh, and we also did not have unlimited money. Easy fact to forget...

I loved the kitchen utensils, pots and pans that I saw at so many market stalls, and the colourful fabric stores. There were spices galore, unusual pickles, and jams made from exotic fruit. We drank many a glass of flavoured rum, but a bottle of that would definitely have been too heavy to carry. I saw beautiful big, handwoven baskets, raffia rugs, straw hats, and silk scarves. The wood carvings were stunning, especially some of the sculptures and carved furniture. I could have bought embroidered linen for the whole house, not just for one table... There was so much talent and incredible craftmanship - and at prices that made you want to bargain to double them, not half them. I am ever so happy when I find a great deal, and I know that prices for tourists are higher than prices for locals, and that you're expected to discuss the price down a bit, but when you can buy a pretty spacious handmade shopping basket that I know somebody spent a few hours to weave for £1.50, I cannot find it in my heart to say that's not a fair price.

Here are photos of some of the things we brought back besides vanilla.

Trivet Made From Bottle Caps And Wire

Handcarved Baobab Tree

Handcast Aluminium Miniature Pots

Sea Urchin Fossil

Enamel Cups
They may sport a 'Made In China' stamp on the bottom,
but all the little roadside coffee shacks were using them.

Enamel Bowl
I bargained this down from 2500 Ariary (or 75p) to 2000 Ariary (or 60p).
I'm that hard!

Clay Zebu & Clay Lemur
Made by some local boys we met at one of the National Parks.

Handcarved Miniature Christmas Manger

 Handcarved Tulip Candlesticks

Bird Sculpture and Bowl Made from Zebu Horn

Handmade Antaimoro Paper Cards
This type of paper and technique is typical for Madagascar.

Small Wood Marquetry Box For Me

Big Wood Marquetry Box For Marco

Detail Of A Handembroidered Table Cloth
This table cloth shows scenes from everyday Malagasy life.
The embroidery is so intricate, the image is the same on both sides,
not like when you look at the back of my cross stitching!

Some semi-precious stones
We were given these as a souvenir in a jewellery workshop.
The pink one is rose quarzt, but I cannot remember the name for
the blue stones. I believe the guide said that they are typical for Madagascar.


The Lamba is the traditional garment of the Malagasy people.
Women wear them as headscarves, dresses or skirts,
and men as cloaks or toga-style. They can also be used as blankets, curtains,
table clothsor as a baby sling. They often come printed with a proverb
of some kind. The green one depicts a fishing scene with boats and says
'Women deserve respect' (I should think so!), and the blue one shows
a map of Madagascar and says 'Made well in Madagascar'.

Malagasy Chocolate
Milk, Dark and Lime & Sea Salt

Miniature Car Made From A Beer Can

Black Pepper

Artisan Soap

Bottle Caps

And finally, a top tip if I've ever heard one. It's what our guide Eric suggested for our more delicate souvenirs. Just fit them in a plastic water or soda bottle, which will protect them from being squashed in your backpack or suitcase.

So simple, but I would have never thought of it! We bought a scroll made also from Antaimoro paper, which we are leaving in its bottle casing till we can get it framed. It made it safely back to the UK without a crease!

 © Annika - All The Live Long Day (unless otherwise stated)


  1. I don't know anyone who has been to Madagascar, how exciting! The sea urchin fossil and manger are beautiful. You certainly bought a lot for only 20 kgs. :-)) I hope you post some travel pics too Annika. I would like to see them.


  2. What a load of beautiful souvenirs.
    Love the handcrafted Boabab tree.
    And well done on bartering 15p off! lol. x

  3. @shopgirl
    He-he, these are all things that were small and/or light.

    I am going through all the travel photos at the mo, hope to be able to post soome soon!

  4. The baobab tree is beautiful - I love wooden crafts. You've got such a good collection of momentos here!

    Glad you found lots of photo blogs! Enjoy :)

  5. wow these are fantastic!

  6. what great finds! and oh, how envious i am that you went to madagascar!

  7. When someone from Madagascar contacted me two days ago from a penpal site, I realized I know very little about the country. So I thought I'd read up about it online and was delighted to find your page with the lovely souvenirs. I'm going to continue my research but wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed your post. It's actually provided me a nice sense of what the country might be like. So, thank you!


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