Cheap Flights to Antananarivo, Madagascar

  • Area: City : 88 km² (34 sq mi)
  • Area Codes  : +261 023
  • Currency : Malagasy Ariary (MGA)
  • Population City : 1,613,375
  • Official Language : Malagasy and French
  • Time Zone : East Africa Time (UTC+3)
  • Airport : Ivato International Airport

Antananarivo’s Ivato International Airport located 16km northwest of the city is one of the largest out of Madagascar’s 64 airports and Air Madagascar’s main hub. Travellers to Antananarivo can book cheap flights to Antananarivo on one of 12 airlines operating in and out of this city. The airport operates around 110 domestic and 160 international weekly flights. Travellers from South Africa have numerous airlines to choose from for cheap flights departing from O.R. Tambo International

Airports that include:

  • South African Airlines
  • Turkish Airlines
  • Emirates

Other airlines touching down at Ivato International Airport include:

  • Air France
  • Kenya Airways
  • Air Madagascar
  • Air Berlin
  • Swiss

Best Time To Visit Antananarivo

The ideal time to go to Antananarivo is during shoulder season between April and June or September and December that provides warm temperatures and fewer tourists. Because of rain some attractions close early in November while others reopen late in June. The ‘low season’ between January and March affords discounts at most hotels along with the cyclone season and rain everywhere. High season during July and August is busy due to European school vacations.

Reasons to Visit Antananarivo, Madagascar

  • Madagascar’s capital city Antananarivo, globally known as Tana has for three centuries been the home of Malagasy power. It’s a colourful city that bustles with shopping, eateries, history and culture, wonderful day trips and wildlife options. Although the streets are chaotic with traffic, flower and fruit sellers and live animals, the city creeps into visitors’ hearts. The Haute-Ville within the city comprises steep streets with fine-looking colonial buildings and is ideal for meandering in its cool climate with vibrant markets and opportunities to purchase crafts at good prices.
  • Tourists have a good choice of superb hotels for accommodation that include the 5-Star Carlton Madagascar or the Tana Hotel that offers a relaxing stay with free breakfast. Backpackers too have a good choice of hostels to stay over in.
  • There are plenty of restaurants and cafes that visitors can indulge their appetites in comprising African, Creole, Fusion, French, International and others. Le Petit Verdot is a small red-bricked bistro with three floors, a wonderful cosy atmosphere and nourishing French dishes. La Varangue dishes up a mixture of delicious French and Madagascan flavors in an elegant dining room or on its terrace that overlooks a lovely garden. Booking is essential.

Places to Visit in Antananarivo, Madagascar

  • The Presidential Palace is a lovely 19th century manor that was for many years the official French residence until 1975 when it became the Madagascan presidential palace until the president decided to build a more contemporary complex in 1991. The mansions is still an official residence but fairly quiet.
  • Lemurs’ Park is a 5km lemur reserve and botanical garden 22km southwest of Antananarivo that delights visitors with up-close encounters with lemurs of which there are 9 species that live freely in this reserve.
  • Tsimbazaza Zoo is a picturesque botanical tropical and zoological park that enlightens visitors with customary houses of the various ethnic groups and animals unique to Madagascar homed in enclosures and a few lemurs living freely. The park is filled with trees, lovely walkways and a lake. It’s a popular place for picnics and in its heart there’s a lovely garden restaurant. The park has a museum that displays relics and a skeleton of an ‘elephant bird’ that once frequented the island.
  • The Musée Andafivaratra, former home of Prime Minister Rainilaiarivony, is housed in a splendid pink baroque palace with an assortment of remnants from the Merina kings and queens and brings to light the people of that era. The Merina crown jewels were sadly stolen in 2013, still to be found. Visitors will find interesting aspects of history related to the kings and queens.
  • Analakely Market is Tana’s main market, alive with people and packed with all sorts of food items, risky dvd’s, clothing and household items. Don’t take valuables with you.
  • Located in the heart of Tana’s industrial area is Lake Alarobia an imperative refuge that has 14 endangered endemic bird species nesting sites. Tickets can only be purchased from ‘Boogie Pilgrim’s’ office at Tana’s Waterfront during office hours so if you’re a keen ‘birder’ wanting to make an early start, you’ll need to purchase your tickets the day before.
  • The heart-shaped ‘Lake Anosy’, located in the southern part of the city is an artificial lake that replaced a swamp during the rule of ‘Radama I’. An island in the lake’s centre is connected by an isthmus to the city and is home to ‘Monument aux Morts’ in memory of the French that fell in World War I.
  • The old train station, ‘Gare Soarano’ is a beautiful old building that was converted into a small shopping centre.
  • Tourists should take 2-day or more tours to really appreciate the natural beauty and wildlife this country offers.

Getting Around Antananarivo, Madagascar

Taxi-Brousse:
This system is relatively well organised with drivers and vehicles belonging to ‘cooperatives’. These taxis are cheap and travel everywhere but are slow, erratic and uncomfortable. They do however stop on a regular basis for leg stretching, toilet use and meals at ‘hotelys’ along the way. Tickets can be purchased at their booths, agents or at the ‘taxi-brousse’ station. National and regional services are provided that traverse the same routes with the exception of national services travelling from A to B without stopping while the regional service picks up and drops off passengers along its routes.

Tuk-Tuks:
These yellow motorised rickshaws are found everywhere. Taking three passengers at a time they operate on a ‘flat-fare’ basis and can be booked for longer trips like to the port or airport.

Pousse-Pousse/Cyclo-Pousse:
These colourful rickshaws are very popular in getting around the city with fares varying on distance but costing more at night or when it rains. A bit more expensive is the cyclo-pousse that’s quicker with its cab attached to a bicycle.

Train:
The ‘Réseau National des Chemins de Fer Malgaches’ (RNCFM) comprises more than 1000km of tracks but is mostly used for freight transport.

Charettes:
These wooden carts drawn by a pair of zubu cattle are found mostly in rural areas.

Car Hire:
Avis Car Hire in  Antananarivo, Madagascar has rental locations across the country and at the airport tourists can hire a vehicle from ‘Sixt’, ‘Europcar’ including others. It’s not advisable to drive yourself but to rather hire a driver.

Taxi:
To get from the airport to the city it’s recommended to use the ‘Antananarivo Airport Taxi Service’ that’s more expensive but safer.

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