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.
If you are accessing this site within Madagascar, this page is open for editing. Feel free to add any local advise here.
- 1 Antananarivo, the ancient royal city
- 2 Antananarivo and its staircases
- 3 Places to visit
- 4 Day excursions
- 5 Markets
- 6 Souvenirs and shopping
- 7 Overland transport
- 8 Madagascar airlines
- 9 Taxi-brousse stations in Antananarivo
- 10 Accommodation
- 11 Restaurants and bars
- 12 Coffee shops
- 13 Food shopping
- 14 Street food
- 15 Health & Spa & Sport
- 16 Jewellers and gemstones
- 17 Tour operators
- 18 Phone networks
- 19 IT services
- 20 Money exchange
- 21 Medical services
- 22 Banks
- 23 Various
- 24 Media
- 25 Photos
- 26 Additional information
- 27 Google Newsfeed
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.
Places to visit
- Ambohitsorohitra Palace - Presidential Palace
- Andafiavaratra Palace - Prime Minister's Palace
- Manjakamiadana Rova - Queens Palace
- Soarano Train Station
- Independence Avenue
- Tsimbazaza - zoo and botanical garden
- Andafiavaratra Museum of Art and Archaeology
- Isoraka Museum of Art and Archaeology
- Lake Anosy
- Ambohijatovo Park
- Akany Avoko Faravohitra - home for girls and young Malagasy females
- 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
- Flower Market
- Analakely Market (former Zoma Market) - fruits, vegetables, clothes and tools
- Mahamasina Market - typical Malagasy street market
- Andravoahangy Market - wood carfings, jewelry and raffia crafts.
- Digue Market- handcrafts market.
- Book Market - second hand books and magazines
- Soarano Market - sells everything...
Souvenirs and shopping
- Digue Market
- Lisy Art Gallery
- Happy Creations
- CENT pour CENT - baskets and placemats en route Ivato (mainly wholesale)
- Malagasy tin souvenirs
- Caramiel - handmade houseware products
- Les Jocondes Galerie - wood sculpture workshop, art gallery, exhibition space, cultural center
- Mama Benz - crafts, accessories, interiors, furniture boutique
- Bois Art - sale of timber, furniture, handcrafted products en route Ivato
- Mad'Création - traditionally handmade embroidery
- Chocolaterie Robert - cocoa producer and chocolate
- Chocolaterie Colbert - small chocolaterie part of Hotel Colbert
- Pâtisserie Colbert - bakery selling bread, baguettes, fresh croissants, pastries, ice cream and sweets including fine chocolate from the Chocolaterie Colbert
- Gilbert Rakotomanana - bespoke tailor
- Mi-Haja - fashion and accessories for men and women
- La City shopping mall with many boutiques and restaurants. Air Madagascar's office that is open on Sundays is located here.
- CS Events - outdoors equipment
- TED - GPS equipment, computers and security cameras
- Supreme Center - large shopping centre with computers and other technical equipment
Eric RASOLOHERY is a taxi driver in Antananarivo sporting a vintage 1958 2CV in immaculate condition.
Taxi Driver Richard is a reliable and reasonably priced English speaking taxi driver in the capital.
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.
Madarail is the national intercity rail service which operate freight and passenger trains.
Mountain bike rental (part of La Ferme d'Ivato).
- Besadi+ is a bus service between Antananarivo and Ambanja, Antsohihy and Nosy Be.
Madagascar airlinesAir Madagascar - the national airline with international and domestic flights
Madagasikara Airways - a domestic airline since 2015.
Private Charter Flights - various small private aircraft operators.
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
Hotel de France
34 Avenue de l'Indépendance
Tel: +261 (0)20 22 213 04
Relais des Pistards
Lot III 45 ter Tsimbazaza
Tel: +261 (0)32 29 471 65 / +261 (0)32 29 471 65
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
Hotel Secret de Tana
Tel: +261 (0)33 1117453
Hotel Maison des Cotonniers
Rue Ratsimilaho lot vb 18
Tel: +261 (0)20 2220954
Restaurants and bars
- Vary Gasy - 100% Malagasy
- Fish and Chips Restaurant - located between Ivato International Airport and Antananarivo
- Le Poney - en route Ambohimanga
- Chez Vanina - Malagasy-Chinese
- Cookit - small lunch restaurant with a wide range of Malagasy and Malagasy-Chinese dishes.
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
- Le Phare - Bretange-style crêperie
- Fée Maison - Bretange-style crêperie
- Pourquoi Pas ! - French/Europan/Malagasy popular with the expats community
- Le Rossini - a world-class restaurant serving French cuisine prepared with fresh Malagasy ingredients
- La Varangue - very upscale restaurant close to the Presidential Palace
- InfiniThé - tea salon and restaurant
- Foie Gras de Tana - duck liver speciality restaurant
- Le Fleuve Rouge
- Dzama Cocktail Cafe
- Le Grand Orient
- is’Art Galerie - art gallery, restaurant and bar with live music performances Friday evening
- Fara West - music venue with live performances Saturday evenings
- Restaurant Ranjatiana - restaurant next to Cotisse Transport
- Le Restaurant Taxi-Brousse - a small cantine like restaurant located directly at the northern taxi-brousse station Ambodivona
Health & Spa & Sport
Jewellers and gemstones
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:
- Dot.mg domain registration and hosting services
- Centre Hospitalier de Soavinandriana
- Clinique Reine Marie
- A list of doctors and medical facilities by the British Embassy
- A list of doctors and medical facilities by the French Embassy
- Plague affected areas 2017
- HFF (Henri Fraise Fils Travel Service) is a travel agency, tour operator and flight booking service at The Carlton
- Events in Antananarivo (on allevents.in)
- Paositra Malagasy - postal offices
- Tana Water Front - enclosed commercial and residential
- INSTAT - Institut national de la statistique (National Institute of Statistics)
- FTM - Foiben-Taosarintanin'i Madagasikara (Geographical and Hydrographic Institute of Madagascar)
- US Embassy
- Tourist visa on arrival
- Air France head office location in Antananarivo
- Pack Yellow
- Malagasy government ministries on africanbib.biz
- lily.mg online marketplace
- Ivato Conference Center
- Ady Gasy
- View all Antananarivo photos
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