A mother carries her child as they queue up for a vaccine jab outside a health clinic in Antananarivo.
All in Line
Visitors peer into the bed chambers of long-gone royal dynasties. School outings turned up at the fort throughout the day.
Families tend to gravitate towards sacred sites on weekends and the old trees provide much needed shade and an air of peace.
Spiders are ubiquitous in Madagascar, and this dead tree was a haven for spider hatchlings.
Written in Stone
Ancient fortresses belonging to fantastic kingdoms dot the city. Today they offer a peaceful retreat, away from the bustle of city life. This girl was waiting for her mother to conclude her spiritual duties.
The Ritual Tree
The horns and skulls of Zebu are used to ward off evil spirits that lurk amongst the shadows of an ancient tree.
Horns of Superstition
Zebu horns are used to ward off the evil eye.
A father rests with his daughter on the terrace of an ancient fort. For people living in the city, family time is an important part of the day.
The mountains, streams and valleys that stretch around Antananarivo in a seemingly endless swathe were once a large kingdom belonging to a powerful queen ruler.
Sheltered from the Heat
A mother's broad-rimmed straw hat protects her young child from the glare of the day. Many rural families move into the city each summer, attracted by the prospects of work and educational opportunities.
Intricate floral etchings line the doorway to a royal bedroom.
A Symbolic Leaf
You take the Poinsettia leaf, fold it in half, and you get the shape of our island, Madagascar! The plant is endemic to the lowland forests that surround the Highland plateau.
A Guide's Eyes
Our guide through the ancient cities had a kindly face and here I focused on her eyes and the gentle wisdom behind them.
A class is brought to an ancient fortress and treated to a fine view of their home city.
We're On Our Way
Two school boys hurry to join their class, jumping over sandstone and marble and seemingly running mid-air.
This man was using a fishing line to gently prune large poinsettia trees and rid them of dead leaves. Sacred sites like this fort are given much attention.
I liked his old country cap and gentle face, but he was rather shy of the lens and happily returned to poinsettia pruning as soon as I was done.
Chicks in a Row
Like most African countries, poultry run freely in Madagascar. These chicks are admiring the remains of an ancient civilization.
Some Gentle Encouragement
A chick comforts his brother, temporarily struck by the dizzying heights around him.
The Butcher Boy
A wary butcher's apprentice steals a glance behind heavy cuts of meat. A lot of daily produce is sold on the streets, which quickly become congested on busy mornings.
One of Madagascar's 'cash crops'. These may well have come from the eastern coast where large swathes of virgin rainforest were cleared to make room for coconut, plantain, sugarcane and banana plantations, with disastrous environmental repercussions.
A staple for many, Zebu meat is prized for its rich flavour, Wealth in rural communities is often based on the number of zebu cattle owned.
Chicks huddle under their mother's warm feathers as they prepare for a night on the streets.
Chickens in Passing
Golden feathers and red crests look dazzling in the faltering evening sun.
The Hunter Sketch
I found this hanging in my hotel room. It shows a fairly standard depiction of naked pre-colonial Africans hunting wild game. The setting could not be Madagascar however as wild boar are only found on the continent. Perhaps this was a neighboring country, such as Mozambique.
One of the hotel maids, Imofana plays with a friendly African Grey parrot.
School children revel in their time out of class and enjoy weaving their way through an ancient palace.
Girl in a Pink Jacket
School children pose to have their photo taken during an outing to a historical site. City dwellers are far more used to cameras than their rural counterparts.
A nearby school uses the ancient palace courtyard as a place for children to enjoy their break from class. Football and marbles are the rule of the day.
A guide points at interesting scratch marks on the palace walls.
Up on the Bridge
Children evidently enjoying a school outing.
The inner confines of a deserted palace. The walls and steps had an echoing intensity about them.
Her silhouette ascends the same staircase used by a long line of queen rulers in historic times.
Stairs leading into the main living space coil towards one another.
A quiet picnic spot sets a mystical mood.
Thick bamboo cover protects villagers from the sun's intense rays. The elusive bamboo lemur species favor this habitat.
A brilliant head of blue plumage boosts his chances of attracting a mate.
Strangler fig roots cover the ground as every tree vies for the sun.
Aloe Vera and Tamarisk
Hardy, water-conserving plants grow best in the semi-arid plains of central Madagascar.
Sunset on the Hills
The rich pastures take on golden hues under the late afternoon sky.
Roadside stalls are typically very basic, their produce hung up for inspection.
Renault Quatrelles and Citroen Dollies are the commonest taxi cars around, reflecting the French influence from years of colonialisation.
Many advertisements are hand painted on stone walls, growing in character as they are chipped away in time.
A Man's City
Two young men take time to relax on a large terrace overlooking the city of Antananarivo, as yet unaware of what this night has in store for them.
Rundown buildings and abandoned high-rises are taken up by squatters in the rougher parts of town. Tana is a heavily polluted and rather grimy city but on street level it is a feast for curious eyes.
Sunset on Tana
The conglomeration of houses in the city's metropolis shines in the late evening.
Notebook: In a Foreign City
My great traveling friend Juan surveys the plains before him, with the ever present panama hat securely in place.