Antananarivo is bustling with activity, and the locals welcome (Tonga Sao) every tourist and holidaymaker with open arms. The Capital of Madagascar is full of culture and history as you will see when you book private custom city tours. The streets are crowded full of stalls and vendors selling everything from bamboo, phones and even livestock.
One of the most lively cities in Africa this hillside capital offers visitors a wealth of opportunities to see the real Madagascar on private guided tours. Located at the top of Antananarivo Hill The Manjakamiadana Palace is the countries crowning glory and a must see on all Island tours.
The downtown region is the heart and soul of Antananarivo, with the Avenue de l'IndÈpendance which is full of boutiques and smart shopping areas. Nearby and a stop on sightseeing tours is the New City Hall, surrounded by stunning gardens and sculptures of Madagascar local heroes and political leaders. Some of the top attractions on private guided tours of the Island are Ambohimanga, Lemurs Park, Tsimbazaza Zoo, The Sacred Hills, Anjozorobe, and the Special Reserve of Ambohitantely. Read More...
Manjakamiadana Palace Is Madagascars Crown Jewel on Private Custom Tours
For the best panoramic views of Antananarivo City take a custom private Manjakamiadana Palace guided tour. Hiking to the top can be a bit of a trek, but it is entirely worth it when you see Madagascar's magnificent Palace.
Restoration works are ongoing due to a fire inside the Palace in 1995, your tour guide will inform you of any difficulty with entering the Palace before your arrival.
Top of the city's upper boroughs and known for their luxury properties and historic buildings the Andohalo are is a delightful stop on all city walking tours. Take a stroll along the narrow little streets with beautifully decorated and kept gardens and see how the wealthy live on this wonderous Island
Top 10 Things to Do in Antananarivo
Lac Anosy (Lake)
Located in the southern part of Antananarivo’s is the beautiful heart-shaped lake of Anosy. The lovely jacaranda trees when their purple blossoms are in bloom are just stunning to look at and enjoy. Tours of the lake will escort you along the causeway to an enormous golden angel which is a WWI memorial the people of France dedicated to Madagascar.
Located close to the city center The Pirates Museum of Antananarivo is a good way to spend an afternoon. Visitors and tourists can learn the history of Madagascar and its relationship with pirates. Over 300 years ago pirates discovered the Island which was uncolonized and it became a primary pirate hideout. See the artifacts and replicas of items from pirate times on this tour.
The Rova Fortress Palace is positioned on top of Ambohimanga hill, famous for using millions of eggs to make up the cement this is one unique Palace. Originally a wooden hut with a thatched roof it was updated in the 19th century and stands with a single rosewood trunk in its center. Tour guides will talk about the history of the Palace, and it's residents while you take in the strange decorative symbols everywhere.
Park de Tsarasaotra
Lake Alarobia is located in the heart of an Industrial Area in Antananarivo. It is a vital nesting site, and refuge for threatened bird species such as The Meller's Duck, The Little Grebe, and The Madagascar Pond Heron. The site is classified as an International Convention on Wetlands, highlighting the fragility and importance of protecting critical sites areas, access is difficult but worth it on guided tours.
Antananarivo's main market is now located in Analakely, while it is not as good as the old Zoma market which was legendary, it has a character of its own and is loved by holidaymakers on tours. The market is full of stalls with vendors selling everything from clothes to dvds and some items of local food and delicacies that maybe only the locals would eat.
In 1975 this beautiful 19th-century manor house was for years home to the Madagascan President and was named the Presidential Palace and before that an official French residence. A new and more modern Palace was constructed in 1991 but the original building remains and formal building and home for political leaders. It is a favorite stop on many cities walking tours as a historical site.
Ampefy Guided Tour
The village of Ampefy is located west of Antananarivo and is a popular private sightseeing tour. Its volcanic landscape uniquely characterizes this area with some of the Volcanoes reportedly dating back over two million years according to the registered tour guides. On tour you will see over 40 lakes with a volcanic origin and included on tour is a visit to the lemur's private reserve.
Tsimbazaza Botanical Gardens
Tsimbazaza Botanical park and gardens introduce's holidaymakers and visitors on private sightseeing tours to animals unique to Madagascar Island. There is a museum on site with a skeleton of a rare and extinct bird called Aepyornis Maximus or elephant bird. Have a picnic by Lake Tsimbazaza relax and enjoy the atmosphere before touring around the park to see the many animals housed there.
Monument Aux Morts
Antananarivo has a famous WWI memorial erected in the Botanical Gardens of a beautiful golden angel. The people of French donated the monument to the people of Madagascar as a reminder of the many soldier's lives lost and the sacrifices made by brave men during the great world war. Sightseeing tour of the gardens is a perfect way to find out about the history of this magnificent monument.
Museum or Art and Archaeology
This small museum in the Isoraka area of Antananarivo gives a detailed overview of any archaeological digs around the island. Included are displays of many grave decorations from Aloalo on the southern Island region. You will see exhibitions on your tour showing Madagascan life from traditional cooking methods to music including some talismans and artifacts used in traditional ceremonies.
Travel Tips for Antananarivo
Best Time To Visit
Due to its location in the Indian Ocean Madagascar Island enjoys a tropical climate as does the Capital Antananarivo. The weather all year round is usually good but because the Island has some different climate zones due to its location between the Tropic of Cancer and the Equator it can be unpredictable. Summer season is between November and April with temperatures hitting 21 degrees, and the winter runs from May to October with temperatures coasting in
The most expensive thing about Antananarivo is getting there because when you arrive, you will note everything is reasonably priced. The highest expense is usually accommodation, but if you are on a budget you can get a night in a pension or b&b, with an evening meal, that is clean but basic for $70.00. Activities like water sports are more expensive in peak season, as are many of the private guided tours.
Know Before Visiting
Sadly, there is no holiday destination these days that are free from crime and Antananarivo is no different. Try only to carry enough money to do you for your day's outings and keep it somewhere safe as there are pickpockets on the go all the time. Never walk alone at night or in unpopulated areas on the Island. When you are on any sightseeing tours, always take the advice given and listen to your tour guides.
Antananarivo has a divine tropical climate with plenty of sunny, dry days. Winter time is May to October when it is dry and crisp with temperatures hitting about 15 degrees. Summer is from November to April with lowest temperatures at 20 degrees, it can get extremely hot during these months, but holidaymakers flock here as it is perfect weather for traveling. Be prepared for cool nights and warm days.