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Why visit Antananarivo?

Antananarivo (also known as Tana) is Madagascar’s capital city, and the largest on the island. There are some fine historic buildings, interesting museums, shops and markets and some great views from the city’s various hills. The surrounding countryside and nearby towns also offer some fascinating opportunities to learn more about traditional rural life.
Reasons to visit Tana include:

  • Visit the historic buildings, such as the ruins of the Rova (the Queen Palace), the Palace of Justice, Ambohimanoro Cathedral or the Temples of Ambohipotsy and Ampahamarinana. 
  • Learn more about the country’s history and culture in the Musee de l'Art et de Archeologie, the Museum of Ethnology or the Museum of Paleontology
  • Get an initial viewing of Madagascar’s best-known inhabitants, lemurs, at Pyguargue, the botanical and zoological park. You’ll find 21 of the countries 35 species of lemurs here, along with many birds and reptiles. And the glasshouse is home to a magnificent array of ferns and orchids. 
  • Explore the cobbled streets and busy markets, or shop or discover the restaurants in the Avenue de Independence. 
  • Watch out for the Hira Gasy an open-air music, dance and story-telling performance, traditionally held on a Sunday. 
  • Head out of the city into the surrounding countryside to witness traditional rural ways of life such as silk weaving, clay brick making or the rice harvest. 
  • Take a trip to the fortified village of Ambatofotsy, and see the ancient houses and churches set amidst steep slopes, or travel to Imerina, where tiny villages set amongst the 12 sacred hills have remained unchanged for centuries, and visit the palace complex and royal burial site at the World Heritage site of Ambohimanga
  • Visit Lemurs Park. Many of the lemurs here are confiscated pets, being rehabilitated for the wild, and are very relaxed around people. There is also a vivarium with chameleons, lizards and radiated tortoises.

When to go to Antananarivo

Tana is located on a rocky ridge in the Central Highlands, and has a more temperate climate than other areas, with mild, rainy summers (October-December) and dry winters. The cyclone season (January to March) is not recommended.

How to do it

This vibrant capital city is easily accessed by scheduled flights from Europe, Nairobi or Johannesburg, there are no direct flights from the UK. We can arrange for you to be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel and from there you can explore the city on foot or by taxi.

Where to stay in Antananarivo

As with most cities you have plenty of choice of accommodation across different levels, to suit all budgets. Many of the better hotels, restaurants and bars are located in the area known as Isoraka which lies between the high town and the avenue.

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Antananarivo accommodation

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facts and information

Time: GMT +3 hours

Flight time:

Flights from Europe to Madagascar take about 10/11 hours.

Language: Malagasy and French are Madagascar's official languages. English or German is spoken by a municipal workers and guides.A basic working knowledge of French will make communication easier.


Most nationalities require a Madagascar visa, obtainable from the High Commission in London (or on arrival into International Airport.


Malaria is present in most of the country. No vaccinations are compulsory.



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