Antananarivo Things to Do

  • The Rova, with new roof
    The Rova, with new roof
    by Orchid
  • Jean Laborde's eagle
    Jean Laborde's eagle
    by Orchid
  • Lac Anosy from the Rova lookout
    Lac Anosy from the Rova lookout
    by Orchid

Most Recent Things to Do in Antananarivo

  • nepalgoods's Profile Photo

    Visit the zoo!

    by nepalgoods Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Kattas

    In the zoo you see the different areas of Madagaskar in a nutshell: desert and rainforest. Some parts of the Zoo are like an Open Air Museum with old houses and the different kinds of tombs, they have in Madagaskar.

    The Zoo not only shows the animals, but also the flowers and trees of Madagaskar, which in its combination is fascinating.

    As I only had one week in Madagaskar the visit of the zoo was essential for me. Otherwise I would not have got an impression of the diverse wildlife and the wonderfull plants of the country.

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    MARCHE COMMUNAL de PETIT VITESSE

    by DAO Written Apr 26, 2009

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    This is a smaller, more compact, market than the main Analakely ‘Pavilions’. I highly recommend this market. It can be slightly claustrophobic when you first enter, but it’s a bit more of a traditional market. The small winding pathways between market stalls throw up surprises at very corner. There are a few souvenir items, but mostly clothes, some fresh fruit, definitely cheap clothes, electronics and pirate CD’s & DVD’s. The sellers are relaxed by ‘Tana’ standards and will even talk to you without hassle. It’s just across the street from the right side of the train station. Be careful walking along the sidewalk (pavement) as it is narrow and drivers do not always slow down.

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    THE MAIN MARKET – ANALAKELY

    by DAO Updated Apr 26, 2009

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    Known for their ‘Pavilions’’, this sprawling area sells it all. Fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, flowers, crafts, stationery, handbags, clothes, electrical goods, furniture, household goods, pirate DVD’s, souvenirs, books and some stuff that’s just plain rubbish. This is a fascinating way to see the local way of life in ‘Tana’. You do get the freelance street sellers that will sometimes follow you for a while, but it a good overall experience. In the fringes of the area you will even find people selling cookies (biscuits) out of their cars (4th photo). If you need to telephone anyone they have mobile call centres or will sell you air time for the local mobile phone provider. If you don’t see what you want, just ask. I found many of the established sellers more than happy to direct you onwards. Prices range between very negotiable to slightly
    negotiable. Some electrical goods sellers will not budge on printed prices. Ask anyway. You never know.

    Please watch your valuables as there are pickpockets. There is a Police Station in the market (last photo)

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    LAC ANOSY

    by DAO Written Apr 25, 2009

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    This small lake is the beautiful heart of Antananarivo. From the main hotel and shopping areas it over and down the hill. The emerald green waters are surrounded by purple blooming Jacaranda trees and create an absolute oasis of peace. The best month to see the blooms are October. Thankfully the many aggressive street sellers do not regularly inhabit the area. In the middle of the waters is an island with the Monument aux Morts (Monument to the Dead). This large white Angel is dedicated to French soldiers lost in World War I. To the left of the lake (as you look at the memorial) is a fantastic flower market every day. You will also find some local stalls offering different products and services – a real slice of local life.

    WARNING: This is a quiet and secluded place that should be avoided at night.

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    Rova and Around

    by Jmill42 Written Oct 17, 2008

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    Outside of the Rova
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    Unfortunately for me, the Rova was closed for renovations when I visited, so I can only speak to the outside facade being pretty. It is known as one of the best tourist attractions in Tana, so likely its pretty good. The Rova area, is beautiful. Being high above the city, the view is spectacular, especially looking over the stadium and lake. I would have to say that the other attractions at the top of the hill leave a lot to be desired, if you have been in Europe or elsewhere. The Prime Ministers Palace, just down the hill from the Rova is a dilapidated home, which should put you in one of two camps: 1) It sucks, so we should pass it by or 2) Its run down and my entrance fees help to restore its grandeur.

    Up for you to decide.

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  • bumpychick's Profile Photo

    Watch the world go by.

    by bumpychick Written Oct 1, 2007

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    If you are fortunate enough to have a guide or driver to take you round the city, it is fascinating to look out of the window and watch the world go buy. It is really busy every where you look, and you will never fail to spot something interesting. The buildings are incredibly diverse and the array of things for sale in the road side shops and stalls on the outskirts of the town is very interesting.

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    Walk around the market

    by bumpychick Written Sep 29, 2007

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    The market

    There is a bustling market very close to the Ave De L'Independance. It sells everyday items, almost everything you might want (except for duck tape!) as well as some tourist type souveniers. You will feel safer walking around this area if you don't take much with you. I just had a small camera in my pocket, and a minimal amount of money. The stall holders are friendly and very few are pushy in their selling techniques.

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    The Black Angel

    by bumpychick Written Sep 29, 2007

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    Black Angel

    The 'Black Angel' is a statue in the middle of Lake Anosy. You will find yourself driving around this lake quite frequently, and the area feels alot more green and open than other parts of Tana. This photograph was taken from a hill behind the lake. Despite being called the black angel, the statue has now been painted white to make her look cleaner!

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    Tsimbazaza Botanical and zoological park

    by bumpychick Updated Sep 29, 2007

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    Let me out!
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    This is a pleasant place to go if you've just got off the plane and need a walk and some fresh air. It also provides a peaceful haven from the bustling city.
    There is a large selection of indigenous flora and flora on display here, including a large variety of lemurs. Although they are in cages, it gives you the opportunity to see up close, some of the species you might find it hard to spot in the wild. They also have a nocturnal house, where you can get some really good video and pictures if you have night mode on your camera.
    Another intersting feature of the park are the reconstructions of buildings and tombs from diffferent tribes.
    I would recommend the park as a good introduction to the delights of Madagascar.

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  • bumpychick's Profile Photo

    Drive to the highest point.

    by bumpychick Updated Sep 29, 2007

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    Antananarivo

    It is fascinating to take a city tour and drive through all the narrow streets, up and down the steep hills and round the sharp bends. Despite travelling around the city quite a lot in the few days we spent there, I'm not sure if I would be confident to 'go it alone'. You definitely have to know the one way system well and drive with confidence.
    Our driver and guide took us to the highest point in the city, past the Presidental Palace and Royal Palace (which has burnt down and is currently being restored). The views from the top of the hill are incredible, and you get an idea of just how big Tana is compared to any other town or city in Madagascar.

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    Ambohimanga - the blue hill.

    by bumpychick Updated Sep 29, 2007

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    The King's Palace
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    Ambohimanga (pronounced Amboo-imanga) is the sight of the original king's palace, built in 1788. The original building is still there, next to two slightly more modern ones built for the queens that followed him. There is quite a lot of influence from Victorian Britain, including furniture and decor, in the Queen's palace. The king's 'palace' is a very simple wooden structure with a high ceiling which is almost black with age. Apparently the king used to hide in the rafters and watch whilst his wife received his guests. If he decided he wanted to talk to them he would make a miraculous appearence when they stepped out for a moment.

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  • Norali's Profile Photo

    Visit Rovan' Ambohimanga (Ambohimanga Palace)

    by Norali Updated Jul 21, 2007

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    The stone discus, Ambohimanga Royal city main gate
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    Rovan' Ambohimanga: a symbol of Tana as Tana history began here.

    In 1610, Andrianjaka chose Ambohimanga ("blue city") as his place while succeeding to his father, Ralambo, a Merina king who had ruled Ambohidrabiby kingdom. From this place, Andrianjaka conquered Analamanga hill who will be later "Antananarivo city". Both Ambohimanga and (neighbour) Ambohidrabiby kingdom are located North of the city whose past kingdom is Analamanga hill.

    Later, circa 1780, Andrianampoinimerina, then king of Ambohimanga, united all conquered kingdoms to form Antananarivo (with its 12 sacred hills). This was necessary to ensure peace within Merina nation (many kingdoms in Merina area were then used to fratricidal wars).

    Rovan' Ambohimanga eventually served as summer palace for queens and kings of Madagascar while Manjakamiadana Palace (on Analamanga hill, in the center of nowadays Antananrivo), that was burnt years ago, became the main palace of Madagascar kingdom.

    "The Royal Hill of Ambohimanga consists of a royal city and burial site, and an ensemble of sacred places. It is associated with strong feelings of national identity, and has maintained its spiritual and sacred character both in ritual practice and the popular imagination for the past 500 years. It remains a place of worship to which pilgrims come from Madagascar and elsewhere."
    This a description taken from UNESCO website. Rovan' Ambohimanga is classified in UNESCO World Heritage since 2001.

    Go there to see also an enclosure wall (made from clay and eggs,... yes) that has stood there for centuries.

    Aah! There used to be some fady (interdicts) there:
    - snails / porcpines / horses / pigs
    - onions / maize / courges
    - kidneys
    - Europeans (foreigners, in general, used to be banned from sacred places), who are are allowed there nowadays. So, go there to visit it.

    Click here to see my page of Ambohimanga.

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  • Norali's Profile Photo

    Look up in the air !

    by Norali Updated Feb 26, 2006

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    Araben'ny Fahaleovantena-Avenue de l'Ind��pendance

    Whenever you wander in downtown, you'd better look up in the air. Because.. it's really worth it. You could have some unexpected perspective for a nice snapshot, be it for details on traditional houses, for the rays of light playing on the many facades on those hillsides.

    Araben'ny Fahaleovantena is the obvious place to catch such a view. Andohan' Analakely also. Then, wandering around Lac Anosy (where, till lately, has stood the flower market and some handcraft market), you could enjoy the view of Antananarivo hill from front: facing the Queen's palace and the cliff from which Queen Ranavalona (18th cent.) used to throw early Christian martyrs, her political opponents. I love this view when sun is setting and orange, red, yellow light warms up the facades of those houses clinging on the cliff... and above it. No other place than downtown to grant you with the views of the "crowded" hills and the architecture of the city as you look up in the air.

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  • Norali's Profile Photo

    The cathedrals in La "Haute" - uc !!!!

    by Norali Updated Feb 23, 2006

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    Isn't this Anglican Cathedral pretty ?
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    OK.. I talked about La haute as "Palaces area". This is also the "Cathedrals area".

    The area abunds in that type of buildings. From historical point of view, La Haute plays an important role in christianisation of first Merina people, then Malagasy people. From non- Christian, the nobility turned into an officially Christian one when Prime Minister and one of the Queens whom he was married with converted themselves into Protestantism. [For sure, it was not Queen Ranavalona I. She was a fierce opponent of Christianism.]

    At that time, Calvinism was the official religion of Madagascar and here is the pic of the Protestant temple in the Royal complex. It is NOT the main temple in the area though.

    Rivalries were amongst the different trends in Christianism to have the favour of the nobility, then the most powerful ones. Cathedrals were built in La haute: Anglican, Calvinism protestant, Catholic... They had(ve) their cathedrals in the area (Temple for the protestant). All over the city, there were churches as well.

    The Catholic Cathedral is quite big and impressive, not ugly. In a Roman style.

    My fave is of course Anglican cathedral of Ambohimanoro. Guess why :) Well, it's massive, beautiful (in stone !) and I like attending masses there... Ha! enough said !

    In the La Haute village, you can have a mix of every architecture: the multistoreyed Merina houses (with or without verandas, tradional white/ creme or the more colonialstyled with carmin walls), some wooden houses (Laborde house is all in wood incl. the roof & tiles), the palaces and the cathedrals (of different style)... and quaint villas. It is a quiet area to stroll in.

    I like it there, serene.. like a little village out of the hassle of downtown.

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    Take a stroll around central Tana

    by quapaw Updated Feb 1, 2006

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    Just strolling around central Tana for a day can be very rewarding. Take a taxi be from where ever you are staying and get out in Analakely in central Tana. There are several markets in the centre; one is right at Analakely which sells anything from shoes and clothes to meat, one is on the rail road tracks to the the east of the railroad station named petite vitesse. Along the road they sell a variety of stuff; things like shoes, tv's and cd's. At the back it is only fruit, vegetables and other foods. There is another market just to the west of the rail road station just across the road at the roundabout. This is definately the best place to go in central Tana if you are looking for souvenirs.

    There are also numerous restaurants around town where you can enjoy good and cheap meals. You should also try the fresh fruit juices sold at the little stalls on the streets. Dead cheap and very very good.

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Antananarivo Things to Do

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