Antananarivo, or 'Tana', as it is known by most, is what you would expect from any capital city: lively, bustling and with the usual traffic and pollution problems.
Madagascar's capital is also the kind of place where you will find many beggars and street vendors. Brace yourself before venturing out and expect a constant onslaught of small children running behind you asking for money or food, vendors shoving vanilla and hand made cards under your nose. You can however, pick up some lovely fruit and flowers, but beware that once you buy from one, the rest will not leave you alone. Having said all that, most are good natured and a polite 'No thank you' usually suffices.
Restaurants and cafés abound, likewise the ubiquitous 'Baobab' and 'Maki' clothing stores. For souvenirs, head to the craft market on the way out to the airport, or, for more relaxed shopping, take a taxi to 'Lice Boutique'. Pickpockets are very much in evidence so watch your bags. Shop staff are very on the ball and will warn you if they have been seen in the area or if they think you bag is insecure.
Labour Day, held on May 1, is a national holiday, with city folks taking the time to visit the countryside and beaches for picnics and a day of relaxation.
Independence Day in Madagascar is June 26, a national holiday which commemorates the country’s final shaking of colonial rule. It’s celebrated all across the archipelago with feasting, drinking, music, and dance.
Antananarivo has warm and pleasant weather most of the year, but from November to March is rainy season. The rest of the year is fairly dry, like most of the inland parts of the country. Temperatures are around 27 °C during summer, 21 °C in winter. Nights can drop to below 10 degrees during this period.
|Avg Max||27.7 °C||25.9 °C||25.4 °C||24.8 °C||22.9 °C||20.9 °C||20.2 °C||20.6 °C||23 °C||25.2 °C||26 °C||25.8 °C|
|Avg Min||16.6 °C||16.9 °C||16.3 °C||15.2 °C||12.9 °C||10.8 °C||10.3 °C||10.3 °C||11.3 °C||13.4 °C||15.1 °C||16.3 °C|
|Rainfall||270.4 mm||256.9 mm||183.1 mm||50.5 mm||20.1 mm||7.2 mm||11.1 mm||15 mm||9.5 mm||66.6 mm||170.8 mm||304.1 mm|
Air Madagascar is the national airline of the country with its base at Ivato International Airport (TNR) near Antananarivo. International destinations include those to and from Bangkok, Johannesburg, Marseille, Mauritius, Milan, Moroni, Nairobi, Paris and Reunion. Air France and Corsairfly have flights from Paris and a few other airlines serve South Africa, Mauritius and Reunion as well.
Air Madagascar has a comprehensive domestic network with regular and often daily flights to most major towns.
Getting around in the city is by way of a taxi, a cream coloured Renault 4, there are hundreds of them and in various states of disrepair. Agree the price before you get in.
|Les Hautes Terres Hotel||PK12 Rte Aeroport Ivato, Antananarivo||Hotel||-|
|Tana-Jacaranda||24 rue Rainitsarovy Antsahamanitra ANTANANARIVO||Hotel||93|
|Le Karthala||Lot II B 60 Faravohitra||GUESTHOUSE||87|
There are internet cafes in most major towns but dont expect broadband!
See also International Telephone Calls
Abundant phone booths almost everywhere. You can pick up cards in most shops. Calling home can be pretty cheap this way. Mobile phones can be used in towns but rarely in rural areas. You can pick up local sim cards really cheap. Opt for Orange, they have the best coverage. Again, a cheap way of calling home. Pick up top up cards almost everywhere, available from 2,000ar to 50,000ar.
You can have mail sent to you 'poste restante' but takes an eternity with the possibility of not receiving it at all. Likewise sending mail home. Postcards are ok but I have had several letters go amiss.
It is possible to send parcels but make sure you have a post office approved box, take it to the post office, then to the administative building to have the contents listed, then to customs to have it checked and sealed, then back to the post office. You can not send anything consisting of stuff made up of animals, vegetables or minerals. Better to give all your old clothes to the orphanage and take any souveniers in your bag with you.
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