ClimateAntananarivo has a temperate climate, despite being situated in the Tropics, due to its high elevation of 1,300 to 1,400 metres (4,265 to 4,593 ft) above sea level. Antananarivo receives practically all of its average annual 1,400 mm (55.1 in) of rainfall between November and April. The dry season between May and October is pleasant and sunny, although somewhat chilly, especially during the nights, and in the mornings and evenings. Although frosts are rare in Antananarivo, they are common at higher elevations.
The daily and monthly temperature variations are quite small. Means range from 22.2 °C (72.0 °F) to 15.3 °C (59.5 °F).
Ivato International AirportThis airport is Antananarivo's major airport. It is served by Ethiopian Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Air France, Air Mauritius, Interair (part of South Africa Airways) , Kenya Airways. Expect lengthy queues, numerous forms to fill out and chaotic handling for hygiene check, visa purchase and immigration. Once you get past baggage claim, expect a mass of individuals pestering you to "help" you with your luggage or to show you how to find a taxi. As it is not obvious who is a porter and who is a thief, hold on to your bags tightly and make sure you load them into your transport; anyone who can get a hand on your bag will then follow you demanding remuneration. If you do need help with your luggage, it is wise to arrange an airport pick-up before arrival.
There are two ATMs: BNI (Mastercard and Visa card) and BOA (only Visa card) — in the international terminal. There are 24 hour exchange windows inside the international terminal and outside of the airport in a separate building adjacent to the parking lot. The exchange also works in case your plane arrives late in the evening.
Transport in a private vehicle to the city center will cost 40,000-60,000 Ar (November 2018) - costs will be at the high end of the cost spectrum after daylight hours. It will take a half hour in the late evening and early morning to reach the city center, and usually more than an hour during other times when the roads are congested.
- A taxi brousse is the least expensive option, and should cost 2 x 600=1200 Ar from the airport to downtown. You need too take two seats one for you and one for your bag.
Tsara Car Rentalphone: +261 34 59 036 39Provides airport shuttle service with shared ride or private from 1 to 7 passengers aboard van.
For travelling by road, there are three options: a private vehicle hire, a scheduled bus service or taxi brousse (bush taxi).
Vehicles can be hired through various agencies in Antananarivo. Individuals that work as freelance driver-guides will also approach you while you walk around in the streets or sit in a café. Budget €60 per day if you wish to hire a driver, and clarify how the driver's expenses (food, accommodation) is handled if you hire the car for trips that last more than one day. You may need to sign a "contract" to be shown to police officers that may stop the car at checkpoints along the road. It is allowed to check the technical state of the vehicle before you agree.
There are several companies that operate scheduled bus services between Antananarivo and larger towns of Madagascar.
phone: +261 32 11 027 33address: IVM 12 TER AT, AmbodivonaDaily services to Mahajanga, Morondava, Fianarantsoa and Toamasina, vehicles in three categories. Departs on time even if the vehicle is not full. Does not take passengers along the route (unless the passenger has bought a ticket). The Mercedes Sprinter vehicles are in a better state than taxi-brousses. Entertainment (Malagasy pop music) and free Wifi on board. Timetables and prices are published on the web page; additional buses are run if demand is high. Requires the passengers to arrive one hour before departure; the hour can be spent in a decent restaurant with very clean toilets next to Cotisse's premises. Book ahead; if you can get a ticket, there is no reason why you should choose an ordinary taxi-brousse.
phone: +261 22 302 27address: Rue RatsimilahoEarly-morning services to Mahajanga three times a week. Inquire at the central post office.
- Besady Plus buses to Nosy Be and Sainte Marie Via Ambanja and Toamasina. tickets includes sea Tranfer. all Besady Plus buses have free wifi and go on time.
- Casycar VIP Transport has 5 seat cars going from Antananarivo to Antsirabe. They depart 6 times a day from Hotel Chalet des roses in Antananarivo city center. The fare is 26,000 Ar. Saves you having to get a taxi out to the bus terminal.
On arrival to the station you will be mobbed by touts trying to sell the services of every destination and route. Don't be intimidated as they do this to all arrivals to the station, local and tourist alike; rather look for a vehicle that seems reliable to you and which is almost full. Most stations are lined with ticket kioks with signs overhead advertising their locations. On the wall inside there should be a price list advertising locations, so make sure you don't pay more than this (and remember luggage is included). You can also ask to be dropped off on route before the final destination. After buying your ticket, the bus may not leave for a long time, as they will only leave when full. Try and avoid the back row of seating, this generally has the least leg room; you may buy an extra ticket (i.e. three tickets for two persons) if you want to have more space.
Gare routière du Nordaddress: Along Rue Docteur Raboto RaphaelDestinations include Antsiranana/Diego-Suarez (for Ankarana), Ambanja (for Nosy Be), Mahajanga (for Ankarafantsika) and Antsohihy among others. The minibuses line both sides of a road and display their location on a poster on the front. There is a public toilet at one end of the street and a number of street food vendors. For Ankarana National Park catch a bush-taxi with a destination of Antsiranana and ask to get dropped off by the park entrance. This involves a very painful 20 hour journey (~65,000 Ar in January 2012). You will likely stop over in Ambanja for half an hour (~14 hours into the journey). Ambanja is also where you need to change for Nosy Be. For Ankarafantsika National Park catch a taxi to Mahajanga and ask to be dropped off at the park (~9 hours, 30,000 Ar in January 2012).
Gare Routiere de l'estDestinations include Moramanga (for Andasibe). Bush taxis depart from this comparatively modern station which includes an official kiosk where all tickets are bought from. There's also a toilet which costs a few ariary to use (amusingly it costs more for a 'pipi' than a 'caca' and you have to specify before you go in). You can buy food from street vendors or a snacks from a nearby petrol station. For Andasibe-Mantadia National Park travel first to Moramanga (5,000 Ar as of January 2012, 4 hours) then catch a connecting bus to Andasibe village (1000 Ar, 2 hours). Buses leave regularly, up to every hour.
Farakana bus stationDestinations include Mananjary, Morondava and Ambositra among many more. This dusty station has a number of kiosks from which to buy tickets, and a few cafes where you can pass the time waiting. It's next to a market. For Ranomafana National Park catch a bus with an end destination of Mananjary or one of the other cities south of here. Journey time is about 14 hours (~60,000 Ar in January 2012.) These run less frequently with some services leaving in the afternoon. Don't worry if you get dropped off in the village in the middle of the night, at least one hotel, (Palmeria) has a night guard who can sort out a room for you. This is also the bus station wanted for Anja Reserve (~11 hours, 35,000 Ar in January 2012) and Isalo National Park. Most the buses will stop off in Ambositra where you can get a meal or use the toilet.
The colonial central station, , is located on Arabe Rainibertsimisaraka, at the northwestern end of Avenue de l'Independence. It has been converted into a small shopping mall as it sees no or very little passenger traffic. If the train to Toamasina runs, then it is not a mode of transport but an adventure for the lovers of rail transportation. Inquire at the decent Café de la gare.
There are three main methods of navigating the capital: taxi, bus and on foot.
- Taxis are preferred by most tourists and can be found easily. There are no meters, agree the rate with the driver before entering the taxi. Expect to be quoted 5,000 Ar for a short ride in town and 20,000 Ar for a longer ride; a one-way trip to the airport will be 40,000-60,000 Ar. 60,000 at night. A taxi can be hired for half a day or a day, expect to be quoted 150,000 Ar for half a day. You can bargain. That traffic tends to be heavy in Analakely (Antananrivo's centre and busiest area) during typical rush hour times, allow for extra time if you need to pass that area on your way to the airport.
- Taxi-bes typically are old and smoky Mercedes-Benz TN that go along a defined, numbered route. If you are comfortable being squeezed onto a van with other people, the buses, or Taxi-be, are the most affordable form of transportation, with prices around 600 Ar. There is no plan of the route system, nor is there a timetable, only locals use Taxi-be.
- While the city is quite large, Analakely is fairly navigable on foot. Prepare for a slalom around market stalls, cars, holes and other obstacles, don't carry anything you need, in particular valuables.
RovaRoyal palace complex and former residence of the rulers of the Merina Kingdom. A cab ride (or very long walk) from the hotel district, but be warned that it has been severely fire damaged by suspected arson in the late 1990s, and only the stone shell remains, together with some outbuildings, statues and a Chapel (the latter rebuilt with American money). Inte and then native Tana guides (usually university students with good English or French) may give a good account of the Rova's features in return for a gratuity. The site offers good panoramic views of the city. While walking up the hill towards the palace you may be told by local guides that the Rova is shut for the day and to follow them elsewhere to a different attraction but the likelihood is that the gate will be open as normal.
Prime Minister's PalaceThe palace of the prime minister during the reigns of the last queens is now a museum with an exhibition of precious items saved from the fire of the Rova in 1995, such as the red jacket of Radama I, the royal coral jewels, various royal portraits and the diadem of the last queen.
phone: +261 20 22 234 36address: Route Nationale n°1, PK 22, Katsaoka Imerintsiatosika - Route d'AmpefyA conservation park established by a French-Japanese charity which hosts mostly lemurs rescued from illegal captivity or attempted smuggling. It aims at reintroducing a part of their animals into their natural habitat. Over 6000 trees have been planted in this 5 hectare park preserving a lot of important flora and fauna of Madagascar. The park gives an opportunity to see at close range a variety of lemurs, which would be much more difficult in one of Madagascar's National Parks or in a Western zoo. Apart from lemurs, it has cameleons, turtles and several species of birds. The park also gives valuable employment to graduates from the local university as guides and free tours to local school children. Taking a guide is compulsory. Carry local cash as they do not accept cards. There is no public transport back from the park (taxi-brousses into town are mostly full when they pass here), so hire a taxi for the round trip; the park also offers the service of picking you up in town (see webpage).
Croc'Farmphone: +261 20 22 030 71Located on more than 3 hectares of plants, trees and flowers of Madagascar. You can watch the crocodiles, 80 other species of animals (turtles, snakes, lemurs...) and the smallest chameleon in the world. The best time to see crocodiles in action is during feeding time. And for the brave, the Croc'Farm restaurant preparing several crocodile meat dishes and favorite dish is the "Croc burger". As the park also breeding crocodile for leather goods, you'll find in the shop belts, bags but also the Malagasy crafts.
phone: +261 34 17 478 38address: Lot IVD 63 Ter AA, Ambohibahiny, AnkaraobatoJean Be Tours is a concierge travel guide service. The owner Jean is an experienced tour guide for Madagascar who speaks English and French. On individually organized trips, one can meet local people, take photographs and collect souvenirs and memories.
Outside the centre there is a dedicated tourist market which has about 30 stalls selling souvenirs and local crafts. Definitely worth a visit.
There are many large western style supermarkets notable the chains Shoprite, 'Jumboscore', Leader price. and Supermaki. any taxi driver can take you to one. However, most stock is imported from abroad and so include a significant mark up (although most goods are still below European prices). For fresh goods like fruit and vegetables, significant savings can be made by buying them from the local markets stalls dotted throughout the city.
Buy a local SIM (Telma, Orange, Airtel) to access calls at the national rate. Both Sim cards and credit are easily obtainable throughout the country, and one of the few things you can easily get hold of (aside from Coca Cola, THB beer and coconut flavoured biscuits) in provincial towns and small rural villages. As with most countries, the cheapest way to receive calls from abroad is to use a local SIM and get someone to ring the number using Skype (or similar software), as it will be free for you (the receiver) and cheap for them.
Most banks have an ATM, although they often limit you to how much you can draw out at once. It's relatively simple to change money from euros and dollars to ariary, and you often get a better rate than at the airport. Some banks will also accept pound sterling.
Shopping malls & supermarkets
address: Rue James AdrianisaShoprite South Africa have many stores all over Antanarivo.
phone: +261 34-2596840Shopping mall with a food court and Shoprite supermarket.
address: ankorodranomany stores in Antananarivo.
phone: +261-20-2268456address: Enceinte cora AnkorondranoA large hypermarket.
L A City Malladdress: AlarobiaThis is the largest shopping mall in Tana with 52 stores. There are stores for Orange, Airtel and Telma, there is also a Madagasikara airways and Air Madagacar ticket offices and a Shoprite Hypermarket.
address: Amkazomangaa mall with a Jumbo score Hypermarket. has a bank with an ATM.
SupermakiA large chain of convenience stores all over Madagascar.
Banks & ATMs
address: Arabenny 26 Jona 1960BNI ATMs take Mastercard and Visa cards. Their website shows all their ATM locations in Madagascar.
BFV Societe Generale bankBFV ATMs take Mastercard (including Maestro debit cards), Visa card, Diners Club, American Express, and Discover Cards. Their website shows all their ATM locations in Madagascar.
address: Arabe AndrinampoinimeinaBOA ATMs take only Visa card.
address: RUE Solombavambohaka Frantsay 77MBC ATMs take Mastercard, Visa card, Diners Club, Discover cards.
- BMOI ATMS also take visa cards.
La Table de Mariettephone: +261 20 22 216 02address: 11 rue George-V-FaravohitraThis is a good choice for high quality Malagasy food. More expensive than many other restaurants.
La Brasserie at the France Hoteladdress: 34 Ave de l'IndependenceVery good and inexpensive. Try the calamari. Also vegetarian (non vegan) dishes, a very cheesy veg lasagne for 13,000 Ar.
Grill De Rovaaddress: Near Palace de RovaSmall Menu. Great Zebu!
Ku de Taphone: +261 20 22 281 54address: 16 rue de la ReunionA slick setting for excellent French-influenced Malagasy food.
Cookie SophFrench and English is spoken here. Good cappuccino, milkshakes, and bagels.
Jasminaddress: Palace Analakely 101 AntananarivoLovely veg meal with tofu. Perhaps a bit pricey.
Café de la Garephone: +261 20 22 611 12address: Arabe RainibertsimisarakaStylish café with good French food, occasionally hosts live music. Quiet garden setting not far away from Tana's busy city centre.
- Lots of bottled water (no tap water!), the main brand is Pura Vida, relatively expensive, with a 1.5 L bottle costs about 3000 Ar
- THB (Three Horses Beer). Multi-awarded beer.
- Madagascar wine - variable but so much cheaper than the alternative (imported French wine).
- Bonbon Anglais - very sweet, bubble gum tasting soft drink, similar to South American Inka Cola. Excellent if you mix it with a little bit of THB. You may be presented with this when asking for limonade.
- Betsa-betsa - alcohol made from coconut water. Stronger than beer but not quite as potent as hard liquor.
- Litchel (or Vin Litchi in French) - lychee wine. Some brands are off-dry and quite nice, others are sickeningly sweet.
- Saint Claude - a local brand of rum with a hint of vanilla.
If you are overnighting in Tana while traveling through the airport, it is at least 30 minutes, and closer to an hour with traffic, to travel from the airport to the downtown area, and that the cost of the transfer in a private taxi is 40,000-60,000 Ar. 60,000 at night (one-way), so a hotel near the airport may be a good option.
phone: +261 20 22 562 39address: Rue Arabe RainitsarovyThis is a place to stay without breaking your budget. The rooms are small, facilities are old and partly improvised but everything is very clean. There is no restaurant, but decent food can be ordered and is served in the shared areas. The staff is super friendly. WiFi provided in the whole building. You are likely to meet fellow travellers or researchers here. You can pay with Mastercard or Visa card.
phone: +261-34-90907address: 18 Lalana Rainitovo6-bed dorms and double rooms. A clean place for backpackers and travellers to stay in Antananarivo.
Hotel Moonlightphone: +261 20 22-26870address: 62 Rue Rainandriamampandrysingle & double rooms with a TV. Bathrooms are outside the room . two communal terraces.
phone: +261 20-2262765address: Laiana Tsiombikibo22 single/double rooms with own bathroom.
phone: +261-20-2261365address: Soarana12 single/double rooms with own bathroom.
El Mundo Hotelphone: +261 345091015address: Lalana Ranafits Rahoerasonvery clean double room with own hot water bathroom. friendly owners. Has free wifi. The hotel has its own restaurant with good priced food.
Aina Hotelphone: +261 20-2263051address: 17 Lalana Ratsimilahoclean nice size double room with own hot water bathroom. Cable TV. Fast wifi. Can pay with a mastercard. 10% discount if you stay 5 nights or more.
phone: +261-34-4352530address: Vf 12 Ankazotokana Ambanidia23 double rooms with own hot water bathroom cable TV. Safe box in every room. Free wifi. Has a restaurant.
- Andravoahangy hotel. Rue Me Albertini. Clean double room with own bathroom. Free wifi. 25,000Ar. Not far from the Cotisse bus terminal and Tana waterfront mall.
Irianja Guest HouseA Malagasy-owned and -managed hotel. Excellent value, 7-course Royal Traditional Malagasy dinner, well appointed rooms. Very friendly.
Le LogisRésidence Hôtel.
KaribotelGood alternative for Sakamange. More locals than tourists.
La Maison du PylaThis bed and breakfast is popular with researchers and NGOs, which makes for interesting conversation at meal times. The owner bakes homemade bread at breakfast time and is very attentive to guest needs and can help with travel arrangements including airport shuttles and reservation confirmations. The three-story building is a bit old, but is kept clean and in good repair. Meals are generous, the wi-fi works well, and the homemade infused rums are well worth a try.
phone: +261 32 0567893address: Lot 66 B Antanetibe IvatoThe main draw of this hotel is its location ten minutes from the airport and its free shuttle, saving travelers with stopovers the headache of spending an hour in traffic trying to reach a downtown hotel. It is clean, has a pool, a decent restaurant, hot showers, working wi-fi, and the amenities one would expect in a good hotel. The downside is that it is very expensive for what you get, with small, pod-like rooms, no extra amenities, and little to see or do in the immediate neighborhood.
La RibaudièreA good mid-range option. Very popular, good restaurant.
Le Saint-LaurentSimple and cheap. Near historical monument. Free Wi-Fi. Food available.
phone: +261 20 22 358 09A good mid-range option located in the center of the downtown area, but secluded from the streets. Rooms have air conditioning, wi-fi works well, there is a very nice pool, and the restaurant/bar serves drinks and light meals. Very popular, so book ahead. 32 rooms, reception open 24 hours.
SplurgeThe two best known accommodations in the capital are the Colbert (pronounced like the Comedy Central show!) and the Carlton (formerly Hilton). However, in addition to being well known, these hotels are quite expensive, especially relative to other accommodations.
Hotel Carlton MadagascarThis hotel is a member hotel of Summit Hotels & Resorts. It is a great hotel by European standards. The Carlton has 2 restaurants (Cafe Charly is reportedly excellent), 2 bars and an internet cafe, some rooms have nice views of the lake, and it is near the football (meaning soccer) stadium. 170 rooms.
Hotel ColbertFrench-run, and situated close to the government ministries. Aid workers and French government folks will customarily stay there. There are old and new wings, the old wing is certainly inferior to the Carlton, the new wing on a par or better. The Colbert has a lovely spa, two restaurants and a coffee shop/patisserie. The efficient and knowledgeable staff will help you navigate the challenges of the city. 140 rooms.
- Beware of dogs! Tana is loaded with stray dogs, some of whom will occasionally harass passers-by for scraps or bark, growl and chase humans off their territory. If accosted by a stray dog, look for a rock or bottle or something to throw at it, then let fly. If nothing is available start screaming and clapping your hands. If this doesn't work, run. These animals also leave their marks behind... many locals refer to Tana as "Antaybe" (place of much poop).
- Beggars can also be a nuisance, especially groups of children. A polite but firm "Non, merci" or "Tsy misy (tsee meesh)" (add "Tompoko (toom-pook)" when speaking to anyone older than you) should do the trick. If not, shout "Mandehana! (man-day-han)" (Go Away!). Try to avoid handing out cash, candy or trinkets to children, it simply encourages more begging.
- Be wary of groups of older children begging in the centre, they may try and snatch exposed jewellery or bags.
- Don't be alarmed by taxis or vehicles with holes in the floor, springs poking out of the seats, missing mirrors or broken windows. Malagasy motor vehicles may not be much to look at and not much fun to ride in, but for the most part they run well and the engines are well-maintained.
- In daylight hours you should be fine, as long as you don't carry too many valuables. Use common sense.
Embassies & consulates
Egyptphone: +261 20-22-454-99address: LOT MD 378 Ambalatokanana Mandrosoa Ivato
Greecephone: +261 20-22-394-40address: Β.P. 1442, Antananarivo, Madagascar
- phone: +261 20-22-493-57address: Villa Chrysantheme III, Ambohijatovo-Analamahitsy
- phone: +261 20 23 480 00address: Lot 207 A, Point Liberty, Andranoro, Antehiroka
Travel out of the capital is by two modes: road or air. As of 2017 there is no passenger rail service from the capital. Road transport is by bus to limited destinations, taxi-brousse (shared taxi) to a variety of destinations or by car rental (usually with driver). Although travel by taxi-brousse is guaranteed to try one's patience and sanity, there is quite possibly no better way to meet and interact with the locals and experience Madagascar as the Malagasy do. Air travel is the recommended method, due to the poor state of many roads, and Antananarivo is the hub city for the national carriers Air Madagascar & Madagasikara Airways. But of course air is more expensive.
Recommended next stops are Morondava and/or Nosy Be.