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Antananarivo, Tananarive or simply Tana is the capital of Madagascar. Most foreign visitors to the country will pass through the city as almost all international flights to the country connect with its nearby Ivato International Airport. This page includes information on various city attractions, hotels and restaurants etc.

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If you are accessing this site within Madagascar, this page is open for editing. Feel free to add any local advise here.

Antananarivo, the ancient royal city

Text from Passport for Madagascar - 81st edition, March/April 2014

Antananarivo, an ancient royal city in the sixteenth century is the synthesis of a series of construction technologies making it a modern city from the reign of Radama I (1810 - 1828). The latter, initially the King of Imerina, was recognised as the king of Madagascar by the British government, a major world power of the time, following the signature of a friendship and cooperation treaty which provided for the abolition of the slave trade in 1817 and 1820.

This was the beginning of the opening of the Big Island to European influence in many domains, including construction. At that time the houses were built according to an architecturally unique pattern: wooden walls, thatched or shingled roofs, a single room, one door, one window, but as the cost of wood kept rising because of the decline in forest areas, only the wealthy could afford to build. For the royal buildings, common wood was not used but species especially known for their resistance to weather and especially for their imputrescibility were selected. It was Radama I who wanted to break with the traditional model. It was from this period that the idea emerged of providing an upstairs and a veranda.

Over the years, the scarcity of wood was felt, making it unaffordable for everyone. It was Queen Ranavalona II, witness to many house fires and even of entire villages, calamities over which men were powerless, who broke tradition by allowing the use of new materials such as stone and brick whose manufacture had been initiated and popularised by the English missionary James Cameron. It was an English missionary who would design and build the prototype of a "modern" house at the end of the nineteenth century, i.e. walls of burnt brick, tiled roof, veranda, an upper floor, with four or six spacious rooms, multiple windows, which was a revolution in the field of housing.

Antananarivo adopted this type fo house as seen so far, and even if the corrugated iron has gradually replaced tiles, these Tananarivian constructions continue to look good.

Antananarivo and its staircases

Text from Passport for Madagascar - 83rd edition, July/August 2014

Built on a hill, 1,200 metres above sea level, the city of Antananarivo features multiple staircases certain of them narrow and steep, linking different neighbourhoods and other, wider ones descending from Antaninarenina and the opposite Ambondrona staircase to reach the Zoma place (or what remains of it).

Two tunnels were also constructed to avoid long detours for the population: the Garbit tunnel, dug between 1914 and 1924 and the Cayla tunnel, dug between 1932 and 1935 allowing access to the eastern neighbourhoods of the city.

The Ambondrona staircase and Antaninarenina staircase are essential routes to reach the Zoma. From Antaninarenina it takes exactly 168 steps before reaching the place.

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Places to visit

Day excursions

  • Ambohimanga - a UNESCO World Heritage Site where the original kings and queens that once united Madagascar lived, about 24km northeast of the capital. A great view of Antananarivo on clear days.
  • Green Club Vontovorona - one of three Green Club health spas in Madagascar which offers a quick getaway from the capital.
  • Lemurs Park - lemurs reserve and botanical garden, 22km from Antananarivo


View from Carlton
View of Queen's Palace
Staircase to Analakely Market
Market street

Souvenirs and shopping

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Overland transport

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Eric RASOLOHERY is a taxi driver in Antananarivo sporting a vintage 1958 2CV in immaculate condition.

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Taxi Driver Richard is a reliable and reasonably priced English speaking taxi driver in the capital.

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Tina's Tana Taxi is one of only two or three female taxi drivers in Antananarivo who with a big smile and a good sense of humour will likely find you the quickest as well as the most entertaining route to your destination.

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Madarail is the national intercity rail service which operate freight and passenger trains.

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Mountain bike rental (part of La Ferme d'Ivato).

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Cotisse Transport is a scheduled taxi service offering transport between Antananarivo and Toamasina, Mahajanga, Morondava, Fianaratsoa and Diégo-Suarez.
  • Besadi+ is a bus service between Antananarivo and Ambanja, Antsohihy and Nosy Be.

Madagascar airlines

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Air Madagascar - the national airline with international and domestic flights

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Madagasikara Airways - a domestic airline since 2015.

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Private Charter Flights - various small private aircraft operators.

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Tsaradia - a domestic airline launched in 2018.

Taxi-brousse stations in Antananarivo

  • the eastern station in Ampasampito
  • the northern station in Ambodivona
  • the southern in Lalana Pastora Rahajason
  • the western station a couple of hundred metres west of the southern station


Tana Hotel
Tel: +261 (0)20 22 313 20/26

Tana Jacaranda
Tel: +261 (0)20 22 562 39 or +261 (0)34 22 562 39 (mobile)
Skype: noro_rh

Villa Besoa
32 rue de Russie, Isoraka
Tel: +261 (0)20 22 21063

Le Pavillon de l'Emyrne
12 rue Rakotonirina Stanislas, Isoraka
Tel: +261 (0)20 22 259 45 / +261 (0)20 22 259 46

Tsanga Tsanga Hotel
2, rue Reallon, Tsaralalana
Tel: +261 (0)20 22 254 80

Maison Vue Royale
Lalana Printsey Kamamy
Tel: +261 (0)43 20 388 38

Madagascar Underground
18 Lalana Rainitovo, Madagascar
Tel: +261 34 29 909 07

Lemur Hostel
LOT VG 26 Ter Antsahabe Rue Andrianaivoravelona
Tel: +261 (0)32 66 091 20

Fara's Guest House
Tel: +261 (0)33 14 294 83

Hotel Isoraka
11, Avenue Gal Ramanantsoa
Tel: +261 (0)20 22 355 81

Hotel Colbert
29 Rue Prince Ratsimamanga
Tel: +261 (0)20 22 202 02

Hôtel La Résidence
Tel: +261 (0)34 01 807 70

Hotel Carlton
Rue Pierre Stibbe Anosy
Tel: +261 (0)20 22 26060

Hotel de France
34 Avenue de l'Indépendance
Tel: +261 (0)20 22 213 04

Maison Lovasoa
Lot VE28 Bis Rue Razanakombana
Tel: +261 (0)34 9352065

La Medina
52 Avenue du Général Ramanantsoa
Tel: +261 (0)34 0413433
Email: Website:

La Résidence du Rova
Place Ratsimandrava
Tel: +261 (0)20 22 341 46 or +261 (0)32 07 245 03

Secret Garden
VT3 Avaradrova
Tel: +261 (0)34 02 219 04 or +261 (0)34 16 858 37

Le Louvre Hotel & Spa
Tel: +261 (0)20 22 390 00

Relais des Pistards
Lot III 45 ter Tsimbazaza
Tel: +261 (0)32 29 471 65 / +261 (0)32 29 471 65

Le Combava
Ambodihady Ambohimanarina (between Antananarivo and Ivato International Airport
BP 8271- 101 Antananarivo
Tel: +261 (0)20 23 584 94 / +261 (0)20 26 328 47 / +261 (0)20 23 252 49

Villa Isoraka
Lot IB 78 Isoraka
Tel: +261 (0)20 24 22052 or +261 (0)32 05 712 69

Hotel Saint Ange
Soarano Tana 101
Tel: +261 (0)33 13 66569 / +261 (0)34 4883700

Hotel Secret de Tana
Alarobia Ivandry
Tel: +261 (0)33 1117453

Hotel Maison des Cotonniers
Rue Ratsimilaho lot vb 18
Tel: +261 (0)20 2220954

Hotel Ibis

Restaurants and bars


Malagasy / Chinese

  • Au Bon Accueil - simple Malagasy-Chinese restaurant with a great panoramic view over Tana
  • Chantaco - Malagasy with a Chinese influence


  • Little India - traditional north and south Indian cuisine (reopened with new management and a genuine Indian menu and kitchen in 2015)
  • Shalimar - Indian/Pakistani cuisine
  • Terrace Exotic - authentic Indian restaurant






Coffee shops

Food shopping

Street food

Health & Spa & Sport

Jewellers and gemstones

Tour operators

Phone networks

There are three major phone operators in Madagascar offering prepaid cards, all of which have have good connections in cities but with varying quality throughout the countryside:

IT and printing services

Money exchange

Medical services





Additional information

Google Newsfeed

Madagascar: Authorities impose curfew in Antananarivo on eve of presidential election - Africanews English
15-Nov-2023 08:00
Opposition rejects Madagascar vote as counting underway - Reuters
16-Nov-2023 08:00
Madagascar army warns against destabilisation after officers ... - Reuters
29-Nov-2023 13:46
Madagascar president on course for reelection as supporters claim they were promised money to vote - ABC News
23-Nov-2023 11:46
Constantin Grund from Antananarivo – Authors profile, articles and ... - IPS Journal
15-Nov-2023 13:58
Madagascar group aims to protect wildlife from stray cats & dogs -
21-Nov-2023 10:04
Madagascar leader poised for third term after boycotted election - SaltWire NS
25-Nov-2023 12:14
Is Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar, Africa's newest art hub? - Art Newspaper
04-May-2023 07:00
Madagascar police break up new opposition protest - eNCA
11-Nov-2023 08:00
In Antananarivo, poverty is a source of malnutrition - Madagascar - ReliefWeb
20-Jul-2023 07:00
Antananarivo - State Magazine
01-Feb-2023 05:42
A Madagascar, la capitale Antananarivo sous couvre-feu avant la ... - Le Monde
15-Nov-2023 08:00
FOOTBALL – Six matchs pour démarrer le Grand tournoi d’Antananarivo - 2424.MG
30-Nov-2023 12:02
Madagascar : pollution de l'air majeure à Antananarivo - Mayotte la ... - Outre-mer la 1ère
23-Nov-2023 07:34
Madagascar: Increased security likely during an international ... - Crisis24
24-Aug-2023 07:00
Market spotlight on French-speaking region: from Strasbourg to ... - Konecta Group
04-Aug-2023 09:37
Université d'Antananarivo : l'Institut Confucius au coeur d'une ... - Témoignages.RE
30-Nov-2023 03:49
Madagascar presidential candidate injured after opposition rally ... - Reuters
07-Oct-2023 07:00
Excess mortality associated with the COVID-19 pandemic during the ... - ReliefWeb
27-Jul-2023 07:00
New American Corner Connects Antananarivo to the United States - US Embassy in Madagascar
10-Feb-2023 08:00
Madagascar: l'armée ne va tolérer «aucune déstabilisation» avant ... - RFI
30-Nov-2023 06:22
Seven Children Among 13 Killed in Madagascar Stadium Stampede - Voice of America - VOA News
25-Aug-2023 07:00
Corsair International Returns to Antananarivo, Madagascar After a ... - Airspace Africa
29-Jun-2023 07:00
Madagascar: fortes tensions à Antananarivo où le collectif de l ... - RFI
04-Nov-2023 07:00
I've found Africa's most intriguing city, home to hilltop palaces and ... - The Telegraph
30-Jul-2023 07:00
63rd anniversary of Madagascar's independence celebrated in ... - Xinhua
27-Jun-2023 07:00
Madagascar: Further protests, clashes likely nationwide through ... - Crisis24
02-Oct-2023 07:00
GRANDE DISTRIBUTION – Jumbo Score Ankorondrano se met aux couleurs de Carrefour - 2424.MG
29-Nov-2023 09:04
Madagascar: à Antananarivo, la grande lassitude des habitants face ... - RFI
02-Nov-2023 07:00
Université d’Antananarivo : les cours à nouveau suspendus, le ... -
23-Nov-2023 02:37
The Poverty of Madagascar | Scott Beyer - Catalyst
05-Jun-2023 07:00
How Antananarivo produced Africa's best ever FIBA 3x3 World Tour ... - FIBA
20-Oct-2023 07:00