Antananarivo, the city of "a thousand"

The capital and heart of the island of Madagascar, Antananarivo, Tananarive or "Tana" for those who know her well, attracts visitors with its hills, narrow streets and endless stairs. It is nicknamed the city of a thousand, referring to the thousand royal guards who protected the city, is built on the slopes of a rocky ridge. The Queen's palace dominates the city, set on the Ambohimanga hill, the highest in Madagascar. Antananarivo is worth the visit. The Malagasy people are warm and friendly, and you will discover the island's history while visiting the many ruins.
Antananarivo has a population of 1.8 million of multiple origins: Africa, Asia, Arabia and of course, the native ethnic groups of Madagascar such as the Mérina, the Betsimisaraka and the Betsileo. Air France flies you to the Malagasy capital with a stopover in either Paris and/or Amsterdam.

Antananarivo, its monuments, its culture

Tourists usually prefer the sea coast, however, the capital of Madagascar and its surroundings offer a large selection of monuments to discover the island's culture.

City centre: many street markets around the Anosy lake. There is a war memorial in the centre honouring the soldiers from World War I.

The Queen's Palace, or the Rova: on the Ambohimanga hill, is the city's emblem and the island's official royal residence. It is also the former location of the royal city. After a fire in 1995, the palace was restored and transformed into a museum. The palace is open to the public. The site is on UNESCO's World Heritage list.

The hills: the Malagasy capital is surrounded by 12 hills that are considered to be sacred. They were said to be the homes to King Andrianampoinimerina's wives during the 18th century. The hills shelter the former Rova.

The crocodile farm, "Croc Farm": 5 km from Ivato airport, the 3 hectare park has 80 species of animals including crocodiles from the Nile. It is a pleasant outing.

Lemur's park: Nine species of lemurs live in this park of 4 hectares. Ideal for families and nature-lovers.

Botanical and zoological park of Tsimbazaza: the park has many animal species, including fifty species of aquatic birds. An essential outing during your trip to Antananarivo.

Music and cuisine in Madagascar

A reflection of its population, the Malagasy population has Asian and African influences. Music and dance are essential to the island's culture. Each ethic group has its own music. During your trip, you can enjoy hira gasy, a typical blend of music, song and theatre from Imerina. Hira gasy is played by itinerant groups. During one of the performances, you may have the chance to see the musicians play the Valiha, a type of zither made of bamboo.
Pleasure for the ears as well as pleasure for the palate. Madagascar has its own cuisine that is based on rice. It is often accompanied by romazava, a typical meat-based dish with acmella oleracea, leafy greens that are cooked in bouillon. Coffee is the main local drink, but the island also has other specialties with flavoured rums and rice-based drinks.

Prepare your trip to Antananarivo

The region of Antananarivo has two seasons. A dry season starting in April until October and the winter season from June to August. The months of April/May, as well as the months of September/October, are perfect for travel. Remember to pack light clothing as well as clothes for rain in your luggage. Don't forget to pack sunscreen and good walking shoes.
After purchasing your tickets , inquire at the Madagascar tourist office or embassy about visas. You must provide a copy of your return plane ticket as well as two identity photos and the filled in form available on the embassy's website. You must have a passport that is valid for 6 months after your return.

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