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Antananarivo Highlights

Antananarivo, commonly called Tana, is the capital and largest city of Madagascar. The city is situated inland, about 144km from the East coast. Antananarivo means "the city of a thousand", a reference to the 1000 soldiers that supposedly protected the newly founded city during the reign of the revered King Andrianjaka.

Antananarivo is just 12km south of the Ivato international airport and is the city most travellers pass through at the beginning or end of their trip. Tana is characterised by its masses of rice paddies, numerous flights of ancient stairs that creep up steep hills, its palaces, cobbled streets and churches.

The appearance of the city and its buildings shares a likeness to Asia; however, the overlying flavour of Madagascar is totally unique and Tana offers a real sense of Malagasy culture found nowhere else in the world.

Sun Safaris Says

Many visitors are set on the beautiful coasts of the island and don’t linger long enough to appreciate Antananarivo’s charms, but the architecture of Tana is picturesque with its mix of French Countryside and Indonesia.

Some of the most interesting places and views in Tana will be chanced upon during leisurely walks over the many haphazardly-placed hills. 

 

Tana possesses numerous monuments, historic buildings, sites of significance and traditions related to the customs and history of the central highlands people.

The Lemur Park, 45 minutes out of Tana, is well worth a visit to interact with these creatures that are unique to Madagascar. 

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Safari Lodges within Antananarivo

Hotel Colbert

Hotel Colbert is a world-class hotel offering luxury accommodation in the heart of Madagascar's Antananarivo. It is located in the Upper Town, decorated with an umbrella of jacaranda trees in summer and boasting a collection of arts and craft markets, jewellers and more.

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Hotel Carlton

Hotel Carlton Madagascar is located near Lake Anosy; a mere 15 kilometers from the Airport and just a 10 minute drive from the town centre. It provides a luxurious and welcome retreat amid the chaos and craziness of Antananarivo.

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Anjajavy L'Hotel

Located on the western coast 120 km north of Majunga, Anjajavy is both a remote fishing village for those who are aware of it and an extraordinary peninsula at the end of the world. The Hotel is a luxury establishment with 24 sea-facing rosewood villas.

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Palissandre Hotel and Spa

Located in the center of Antananarivo, Palissandre Hotel & Spa is recognised as one of the finest establishments in the city, which is known as the 'Place of 1000 Warriors'. Palissandre Hotel and Spa gets its name from a type of rosewood which abounds throughout the hotel, creating an authentic and ...

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Le Pavillon de L’Emyrne

Built in the 1930's and masterfully restored, Le Pavillon de L’Emyrne is a charming guesthouse perfectly positioned in Antananarivo's old town atop the Royal Hill, near the Japanese embassy. It maintains an element of history and blends perfectly into the town surroundings.

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La Varangue

La Varangue is a boutique hotel in the centre of downtown Antananarivo, providing a welcome retreat in the vibrantly chaotic scene of the capital city. Quaint and intimate, this Antananarivo hotel offers guests a quiet environment in one of only seven rooms.

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Antananarivo on display

Antananarivo Activities

Tana is a treat for the visual tourist, with picturesque buildings, churches, winding, cobbled streets and narrowly-packed houses decorated with quaint wooden shutters and balconies. Its landscape rolls with hills and peaks with church spires, whilst embodying a cool highland atmosphere.

It is truly unique amongst the capital cities of the world and stands out, even from Madagascar's other urban areas. As desirable as the unexplored coastal areas of Madagascar are, Tana offers a plethora of sights and activities that deserve a little attention. Interesting architecture, bustling markets, historical sites and friendly people to tell the fascinating historical tales.

For a peaceful and memorable time spent in the city, explore the streets in the morning before the business of the day begins, or venture out in the cool evenings when the setting sun spectacularly illuminates its hillsides. Antananarivo is a city for walking. Tana is truly a lovely Madagascar vacation destination and spending a few days there will be a great experience.

Antananarivo Seasons and Climate

The climate of Madagascar is tropical along the coast, temperate inland, and arid in the south creating a variety of completely different biomes and a diverse ecology.

The combination of south-eastern trade winds and north-western monsoons produces a hot, rainy season from November to April and a relatively cooler dry season between May and October.

The heavy precipitation due to the rain clouds that form over the Indian Ocean support the area's rainforest ecosystem along the east coast of the island. The central highlands are both drier and cooler, while the west is drier still.

A semi-arid climate prevails in the southwest and southern interior of the island. The best time to visit Madagascar is during the drier May to October period, so as to avoid the risk of monsoon season. Potential floods see the closure of many camps.

 

Top Destinations

Hotel Colbert is a world-class luxury hotel located in the Upper Town, decorated with an umbrella of jacaranda trees in summer and boasting a collection of arts and craft markets, jewellers and more. The hotel has 140 rooms and suites with beautiful views of the city, while it offers a gym and spa for relaxation and special treatments.

Palissandre Hotel and Spa is located in the centre of Antananarivo and is recognised as one of the finest establishments in the city. The hotel's restaurant, La table des Hautes Terres, prepares savoury local specialities and French cuisine, while the 'Amphore Bar' welcomes guests to relax in its cosy atmosphere with delicious cocktails.

Built in the 1930s and masterfully restored, Le Pavillon de L’Emyrne is a charming guesthouse perfectly positioned in Antananarivo's old town atop the Royal Hill. It maintains an element of history and blends perfectly into the town surroundings.

 

How to Get There

Sun Safaris can arrange scheduled flights for visitors to Madagascar. Ivato International Airport is an airport located in Antananarivo (Tana), the capital of Madagascar. Ivato Airport is main hub for Air Madagascar and the majority of flights around the island originate from here, which is a good thing considering the bad state of the roads. Besides the big cities, lots of little hamlets are also served via light air transfers.

By road is the only inexpensive way to get around, but Madagascar's roads are mostly very poor quality (except for two routes leading in and out of Tana). These road excursions will take guests into beautiful forested areas; however, if there is a time limit on the journey, travellers should be reminded that these trips will take a while longer than expected.

There are not many direct routes on land and the many small towns are accessible via one road only, meaning guests should be advised on which routes to take should they be self-driving. The best option is light air transfer to destinations on the island.

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