Explore the lIvely Malagasy capital and the scenic surrounding Highlands with us
Into a hazy timewarp - welcome to Antananarivo and the Central Highlands
The Malagasy capital Antananarivo (Tana for short) is set in a basin surrounded by 12 sacred hills, at about 1,250m above sea level. Cobbled streets winding their way among often narrow, two- or three-storey buildings render parts of the city incredibly photogenic. Rice is the staple dish of Madagascar and Tana is surrounded by a mosaic of rice paddy fields with housing built all the way up to the growing rice.
Much of the architecture is of French origin, with other European elements including the noticeably Victorian English-styled carved, wooden balconies. Oxcarts are still commonplace in the often chaotic traffic. There is a selection of good quality hotels and outstanding restaurants for you to enjoy on a tailor made Antananarivo holiday, as well as interesting galleries, museums, markets, shops, and plenty to see for those with an interest in culture, architecture and history. As the majority of tourists enter and exit Madagascar here, Antananarivo functions as the ‘hub’ of most Madagascar itineraries. While there has been much development during the last 15 years, visiting the city is happily still somewhat like entering a hazy time warp.
21km from the city is the Royal Village of Ambohimanga, one of Madagascar’s three UNESCO World Heritage Sites, where departed Merina monarchs had summer homes. There are elegant gardens, the excellent Banana Rova restaurant, and panoramic views over the surrounding countryside. You can get an account of the history of the palace from the local guides who are fluent in English and French.
Another must-see on an Antananarivo city tour is the Prime Minister’s palace which is situated near Rova. Local tour guides will provide you with some interesting historical information for a small fee.
Antananarivo is known for its hiking terrains, so don’t forget to carry comfortable shoes. Take your camera along with you to capture some beautiful pictures of the flora and fauna.
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