Travel Guide for Antananarivo

Travel Guide for Antananarivo

Personalized for these inputs:

  • Destination: Antananarivo, Analamanga, Madagascar
  • Trip length: 13 days
  • Trip dates: June 06 - June 19
  • Travel style: digital nomad
  • Budget: $$
  • Accommodation: hotel, apartment or house
  • Activities: arts and culture, gastronomy, nightlife and entertainment, outdoor adventures
Picture of Antananarivo, Madagascar

Key Facts

  • location: Africa
  • currency: Malagasy Ariary (MGA)
  • religion: Christianity
  • population: 1,391,433
  • language: Malagasy, French
  • electricity: 220V/50Hz, Type C, Type E, Type J?
  • time zone: East Africa Time (UTC+3)
  • country code: +261
  • internet access: Limited access with ADSL and 3G/4G mobile networks
  • climate: Tropical climate

Useful Phrases

Language: Malagasy
    hello
    manao ahoana (ma-nao a-wana)
    goodbye
    veloma (ve-lo-ma)
    yes
    eny (e-ny)
    no
    tsy (tsi)
    how much
    isaorana (ee-sa-o-ra-na)
    please
    azafady (a-za-fa-dy)
    thank you
    misaotra (mee-sow-tra)
    excuse me
    faly (fa-ly)

Introduction

Antananarivo, the capital city of Madagascar, is a vibrant blend of culture and history, nestled amidst picturesque landscapes. With its hilly terrain and tropical climate in June, visitors can expect mild temperatures perfect for exploring.

This bustling city is known for its bustling markets, historic sites like the Rova of Antananarivo, and vibrant Malagasy culture, offering a unique experience for digital nomads seeking inspiration on an average budget. For a productive workday, cozy cafes like La Boussole or Vanilla Cafe offer a relaxed atmosphere with reliable Wi-Fi, while weekends can be spent exploring Lemurs' Park or the Royal Hill of Ambohimanga for a refreshing break from work.

Getting There

To reach Antananarivo, Madagascar, the most convenient option is to fly into Ivato International Airport. Various airlines offer connections through major African hubs like Nairobi or Addis Ababa. From the airport, you can take a taxi or arrange airport transfer services to the city center, which is about a 30-minute drive away. It's important to note that road conditions in Antananarivo can be challenging, so it's advisable to hire a local driver or use reputable taxi services.

For travelers with more time and a sense of adventure, there are long-distance buses that connect Antananarivo to other cities in Madagascar. Keep in mind that June marks the beginning of the cooler, drier season in Madagascar, but weather conditions can still be unpredictable, so it's advisable to check for any potential disturbances before planning your travel.

Climate and Best Time to Visit

Antananarivo, Madagascar, has a pleasant tropical highland climate with distinct wet and dry seasons. The cooler dry season from May to October is ideal for visiting, featuring clear skies and comfortable temperatures. The warmer wet season from November to April brings occasional heavy rainfall.

From June 06 to June 19, you can expect mild and sunny weather in Antananarivo. It's the perfect time to explore the city's historic sites, like the Royal Hill of Ambohimanga, and enjoy outdoor activities like hiking in nearby national parks. No extreme weather events are usually expected during this period, offering a great opportunity to experience the city at its best.

Itinerary

Day 1

Arrival in Antananarivo, Madagascar, and settling into accommodations. Exploring the local culture and sampling traditional Malagasy cuisine.

  • Visit Rova of Antananarivo

    Discover the historic Rova of Antananarivo, a royal palace complex showcasing traditional Malagasy architecture and offering panoramic views of the city. Learn about the rich history of Madagascar's royalty while enjoying the picturesque surroundings.
  • Taste Malagasy Street Food at Analakely Market

    Immerse yourself in the local culture by trying traditional Malagasy street food at Analakely Market. Sample diverse delicacies such as koba (sweet snack), mofo gasy (street food), and ravitoto (pork dish) while interacting with friendly vendors.
  • Experience Malagasy Folklore Dance Performance

    Witness a captivating Malagasy folklore dance performance showcasing the vibrant cultural heritage of Madagascar. Enjoy the rhythmic music, colorful costumes, and energetic dance moves that reflect the traditions and stories of the Malagasy people.













Day 2

Immersing in the arts and culture of Antananarivo, visiting museums, galleries, and experiencing local art scenes.

  • Explore Musee de la Photographie de Madagascar

    Visit the Musee de la Photographie de Madagascar to explore a collection of historical and contemporary photographs showcasing the cultural diversity and rich heritage of Madagascar. Dive into the visual storytelling of Malagasy life and traditions through captivating images.
  • Attend Art Gallery Exhibition at Alliance Francaise

    Immerse yourself in the local art scene by attending an art gallery exhibition at Alliance Francaise. Discover works by Malagasy and international artists, engage with diverse artistic expressions, and participate in cultural dialogues through visual art.
  • Shop for Local Artisan Crafts at La Route des Artisans

    Explore La Route des Artisans to shop for unique Malagasy artisan crafts and souvenirs. Support local artisans and discover handmade items such as woven baskets, colorful textiles, wood carvings, and traditional jewelry that reflect the artistry of Madagascar.













Day 3

Delving into the gastronomic delights of Antananarivo, tasting diverse Malagasy dishes and exploring traditional markets.

  • Indulge in Malagasy Cuisine at La Varangue

    Savor authentic Malagasy cuisine at La Varangue, known for its flavorful dishes like romazava (beef stew), ravitoto (cassava leaves with pork), and vary amin'anana (rice with leafy greens). Enjoy the cozy ambiance and attentive service for a delightful culinary experience.
  • Visit Zoma Market for Traditional Flavors

    Explore Zoma Market, one of Antananarivo's oldest and most vibrant markets, to immerse yourself in the local culinary scene. Discover a variety of fresh produce, spices, and traditional Malagasy ingredients while interacting with friendly traders and experiencing the buzz of the market.
  • Experience Culinary Diversity at Marche d'Anosy

    Dive into a culinary adventure at Marche d'Anosy, a bustling market known for its array of food stalls offering a diverse selection of Malagasy dishes. Taste specialties like Akoho sy Voanio (chicken with coconut) and Lasary (pickle) while soaking in the lively atmosphere of the market.













Day 4

Venturing into outdoor adventures in the surrounding nature, hiking trails, and enjoying the scenic beauty of Madagascar.

  • Explore Lemurs' Park

    Embark on an exciting adventure at Lemurs' Park, where you can spot various species of lemurs in a natural habitat setting. Take a leisurely walk through the park's trails, observe these unique primates up close, and learn about Madagascar's rich biodiversity.
  • Hike to Amber Mountain National Park

    Discover the lush landscapes of Amber Mountain National Park on a scenic hike surrounded by tropical rainforests, waterfalls, and diverse wildlife. Follow the trails to explore unique flora and fauna, including chameleons, lemurs, and colorful birds.
  • Visit Tsarasaotra Park for Bird Watching

    Immerse yourself in the birdwatching paradise of Tsarasaotra Park, known for its serene lakes and abundant bird species. Spot endemic and migratory birds, such as herons, kingfishers, and ducks, while enjoying the tranquil surroundings of this urban oasis.













Day 5

Relaxing day to unwind, rejuvenate, and enjoy leisure activities in Antananarivo.

  • Picnic at Tsimbazaza Zoo and Botanical Garden

    Enjoy a leisurely day with a picnic at Tsimbazaza Zoo and Botanical Garden. Relax amidst the greenery, observe diverse wildlife, and appreciate the beauty of exotic plants in a peaceful setting. It's a perfect spot to unwind and connect with nature.
  • Explore Craft Market at La Digue

    Stroll through the vibrant Craft Market at La Digue to browse an array of handmade crafts, jewelry, textiles, and souvenirs created by local artisans. Discover unique Malagasy handicrafts and take home one-of-a-kind treasures as mementos of your trip.
  • Relaxing Sunset Cruise on Lake Anosy

    Unwind aboard a relaxing sunset cruise on Lake Anosy and soak in the tranquil ambiance as the sun sets over the water. Witness the changing colors of the sky, enjoy the gentle breeze, and take in panoramic views of Antananarivo from a different perspective.













Day 6

Exploring the vibrant nightlife and entertainment options in Antananarivo, experiencing the city after sunset.

  • Attend Malagasy Cultural Performance at Is'Art Galerie

    Immerse yourself in the vibrant Malagasy culture with a traditional performance at Is'Art Galerie. Experience authentic music, dance, and storytelling that showcase the diversity and richness of Madagascar's artistic heritage. Join locals and visitors for a memorable evening of entertainment.
  • Dine at Le Café de la Gare

    Indulge in a sophisticated dining experience at Le Café de la Gare, a renowned restaurant in Antananarivo known for its elegant ambiance and exquisite French-Malagasy fusion cuisine. Enjoy a culinary journey with a blend of flavors in a charming setting.
  • Enjoy Live Music at Le Glacier Analakely

    Unwind to live music performances at Le Glacier Analakely, a popular spot for music enthusiasts in Antananarivo. Savor delicious desserts and refreshing drinks while listening to local bands or artists playing a variety of genres.













Day 7

Engaging in cultural exchange activities, interacting with locals, and participating in community events.

  • Join Traditional Malagasy Dance Workshop

    Participate in a hands-on traditional Malagasy dance workshop led by local experts at a community center. Learn iconic dance moves, rhythmic patterns, and the cultural significance of Malagasy dance forms. Engage with locals and immerse yourself in the vibrant dance culture of Madagascar.
  • Explore Local Artisan Market at Andravoahangy

    Discover the diverse talents of local artisans at the bustling market in Andravoahangy. Browse through handcrafted goods such as jewelry, textiles, wood carvings, and souvenirs while interacting with skilled craftsmen. Support the community and take home authentic Malagasy treasures.
  • Attend Cultural Exchange Night at Soarano Station

    Join a cultural exchange night at Soarano Station where locals and travelers gather for music, dance, and storytelling sessions. Engage in conversations, share experiences, and forge meaningful connections with the community through shared cultural expressions.













Day 8

Embarking on a day trip to nearby villages or towns to experience rural life and local traditions.

  • Explore Mahitsy Village

    Embark on a journey to Mahitsy Village, a picturesque rural community known for its traditional craftmanship and warm hospitality. Immerse yourself in local traditions, interact with villagers, and experience authentic Malagasy village life.
  • Visit Ambohimanga Rova

    Discover the historic Ambohimanga Rova, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and royal hilltop village. Explore the ancient palace grounds, traditional houses, and sacred sites while learning about the cultural significance of this spiritual place.
  • Experience Malagasy Villager's Market

    Immerse yourself in the bustling atmosphere of a Malagasy villager's market, where locals gather to sell fresh produce, handmade crafts, and traditional goods. Engage with vendors, taste local delicacies, and witness the vibrant exchange of goods and culture.













Day 9

Discovering the historical heritage of Antananarivo, visiting ancient sites, and learning about the city's past.

  • Explore Mahamasina Municipal Stadium

    Visit Mahamasina Municipal Stadium, a significant sports and cultural venue in Antananarivo. Learn about its role in hosting events, sports competitions, and cultural performances that bring the community together.
  • Learn at Presidential Palace of Madagascar

    Gain insights into Madagascar's governance and history by visiting the Presidential Palace. Discover the architectural grandeur, historical significance, and political relevance of this iconic landmark while learning about the country's leadership and administration.













Day 10

Enjoying a day of beach relaxation and water activities near Antananarivo.

  • Relaxing Beach Day at Mantasaly Resort

    Unwind and enjoy a day of beach relaxation at Mantasaly Resort near Antananarivo. Lounge on the sandy shores, soak up the sun, and indulge in water activities like swimming or snorkeling in the crystal-clear waters. Treat yourself to a tropical paradise escape.
  • Jet Ski Adventure at Ramena Beach

    Experience the thrill of a jet ski adventure at Ramena Beach, known for its scenic beauty and exhilarating water sports. Zip across the turquoise waters, feel the rush of speed, and admire the coastal views from a unique perspective. An exciting way to explore the coastal surroundings.
  • Beachside Dining at La Case en Falafy

    Savor a delightful beachside dining experience at La Case en Falafy, a seaside restaurant offering fresh seafood and Malagasy specialties. Enjoy a delicious meal with ocean views, gentle sea breeze, and the sound of waves as the backdrop for a memorable culinary treat.













Day 11

Participating in a cooking class to learn the art of Malagasy cuisine and traditional cooking methods.

  • Join Traditional Cooking Class at Akoranga

    Immerse yourself in the art of Malagasy cuisine by joining a traditional cooking class at Akoranga. Learn authentic recipes, traditional cooking methods, and the cultural significance of Malagasy dishes. Engage with local chefs and hone your culinary skills in a hands-on experience.
  • Discover Spices and Flavors at Local Market

    Embark on a sensory journey at a local market to discover a variety of spices, herbs, and ingredients essential to Malagasy cooking. Interact with vendors, learn about indigenous flavors, and select fresh produce to use in your cooking class for an authentic culinary experience.
  • Cook and Taste Traditional Malagasy Dishes

    Put your culinary skills to the test as you cook and taste traditional Malagasy dishes under the guidance of expert chefs. From ravitoto to romazava, experience the flavors of Madagascar firsthand and indulge in the rich gastronomic heritage of the island.













Day 12

Venturing into the wild for an outdoor adventure like safaris or exploring national parks.

  • Embark on a Safari at Andasibe-Mantadia National Park

    Experience the thrill of a safari adventure at Andasibe-Mantadia National Park, a biodiversity hotspot teeming with unique flora and fauna. Encounter iconic lemurs, colorful chameleons, and diverse bird species as you explore the lush rainforest habitats.
  • Hike to Sacred Waterfall at Analamazaotra Special Reserve

    Embark on a scenic hike to the Sacred Waterfall within the Analamazaotra Special Reserve. Trek through dense forests, listen to the sounds of nature, and reach the tranquil waterfall, a sacred site where locals gather for rituals and gatherings.
  • Spotting Wildlife at Peyrieras Reptile Reserve

    Immerse yourself in the fascinating world of reptiles and wildlife at the Peyrieras Reptile Reserve. Explore the reserve's lush surroundings, observe a variety of reptiles, amphibians, and insects, and learn about Madagascar's unique biodiversity conservation efforts.













Day 13

Farewell day in Antananarivo, reflecting on the journey, shopping for souvenirs, and preparing for departure.

  • Reflecting on the Journey at Lake Anosy

    Take time to reflect on your memorable journey at Lake Anosy, a serene spot in Antananarivo. Sit by the lakeside, soak in the peaceful atmosphere, and reminisce about the experiences and adventures you've had during your stay in Madagascar.
  • Shopping for Souvenirs at Andravoahangy Market

    Browse and shop for unique souvenirs and gifts at Andravoahangy Market, a vibrant marketplace with a variety of handicrafts, textiles, and local products. Find mementos to remember your time in Madagascar and support local artisans.
  • Preparing for Departure at La Case en Falafy

    Savor a final meal and moments of relaxation at La Case en Falafy before your departure. Enjoy the beachside ambiance, delicious cuisine, and warm hospitality as you prepare to bid farewell to Antananarivo and Madagascar.













Accommodations

For a digital nomad-style trip in Antananarivo, consider staying in the Isoraka neighborhood known for its central location with easy access to restaurants and shops. Look for budget-friendly accommodations like Hotel Sakamanga or Lokanga Boutique Hotel for a cozy stay in a charming setting.

If apartments or houses are preferred, websites like Airbnb and Booking.com offer various options in the city. For a longer stay from June 06 to June 19, booking a self-catering apartment may be ideal to have a comfortable and convenient home base while exploring the city. Look for accommodations with reliable Wi-Fi and workspace if remote work is part of the plan.

Food and Drink

Antananarivo offers a diverse culinary scene with traditional dishes like ravitoto (pork and cassava leaves) and romazava (beef and leafy greens), and local beverages like ranon'apango (burnt rice water). For a digital nomad on an average budget, try La Varangue for Malagasy fusion cuisine, Le Glacier for pastries and coffee, and Skybar for cocktails with stunning city views.

Tipping isn't mandatory but appreciated at restaurants in Antananarivo. Be mindful of seasonal variations in availability of certain dishes, and embrace the unique flavors of Madagascar during your culinary exploration in the highlands.

Romazava

Romazava

Romazava is a traditional meat and leafy green stew considered to be Madagascar's national dish. It is made with zebu meat, pork, or fish, combined with local greens like spinach, cassava leaves, or sweet potato leaves. This hearty and flavorful dish is a staple in Malagasy cuisine.

Ravitoto

Ravitoto

Ravitoto is a popular Malagasy dish made from shredded cassava leaves and meat (often pork). The ingredients are cooked with coconut milk, giving the dish a rich and creamy texture. It is often served with rice and provides a delicious and satisfying meal experience.

Lasary

Lasary

Lasary, or Achard, is a tangy and spicy condiment or salad made with pickled vegetables such as carrots, green beans, and cabbage. It is seasoned with chili peppers, ginger, and garlic, providing a zesty and refreshing accompaniment to many Malagasy dishes. It adds a burst of flavor to meals and is a beloved component of the local cuisine.

Mofo Akondro

Mofo Akondro

Mofo Akondro are banana fritters commonly enjoyed as a snack or light dessert in Madagascar. Ripe bananas are mashed and mixed with flour, sugar, and spices before being deep-fried to a golden brown perfection. They are sweet, aromatic, and often served with tea or coffee, making for a delightful treat.

Koba Akondro

Koba Akondro

Koba Akondro is a traditional Malagasy dessert made from ripe bananas, peanuts, rice flour, and sugar. The mixture is wrapped in banana leaves and steamed, resulting in a sweet, sticky cake with a delightful blend of flavors and textures. Koba Akondro is a beloved sweet treat perfect for satisfying a dessert craving.

Attractions and Activities

Antananarivo, Madagascar, offers a vibrant mix of activities for arts-and-culture enthusiasts, foodies, nightlife seekers, and outdoor adventurers. Explore the Rova of Antananarivo for a cultural immersion, indulge in local cuisine at La Varangue, and experience the lively nightlife at City Center clubs.

For outdoor adventures, hike to the Queen's Palace or explore Lemurs' Park for a wildlife encounter. These activities are perfect year-round for digital nomads with an average budget.

Off-the-Beaten-Path Experiences

Discover the off-the-beaten-path charm of Antananarivo, Madagascar by exploring the underground labyrinth of the Ambohitrandriamanitra Catacombs. Trek to the isolated village of Ambohimiadana to experience traditional Malagasy village life and customs. For a unique culinary adventure, try the local delicacy heny matsiro, a dish made from zebu fat.