Fly to Antananarivo, the premier city of the gorgeous and intriguing island of Madagascar.
Ivato International Airport (TNR)
The Ivato International Airport (TNR) is the largest airport in the country and services the city of Antananarivo, the bustling capital of Madagascar. The airport is well facilitated, offering transiting passengers currency exchange and postal services, lounges, as well as a few restaurants, bars and shops.
Airlines to Antananarivo
There are a decent amount of commercial and international carriers that fly to Entebbe. The major airlines include Corsair International, AirFrance and Air Mauritius. More local carriers that fly Madagascar are Airlink, Air Madagascar, Comores Aviation and Kenya Airways.
If you are travelling outside the African continent, then you will most likely have to connect in one or more transport hubs that operate flights to this destination. These are usually via Perth (PER) and Johannesburg (JNB).
Getting into Antananarivo
There are a few different types of taxis. In the Arrivals Hall you’ll find counters and touts, and a journey into town will cost anywhere from 30-40,000MGA ($13-17). You can also take taxis from the parking lot, which tend to be a little cheaper at 20-25,000MGA ($9-11). There are also taxis just outside the airport, run by Taxi-brousse, and look like white mini-buses. These are like shared ride vans, and can have a lot of stops, but are extremely cheap; expect to pay around about 400MGA (20 cents)
By public transport
There a shuttle bus that runs into Antananarivo that is operated by ADEMA, and it schedules its timetable according to the flight arrivals at TNR. Endorsed by the airport as the best option in terms of safety and cost, you can expect to pay between 5000 and 13,000MGA ($2-6) for a ride into town.
There are a couple of car hire companies located within Ivato International Airport, these are Europcar, Avis, Budget, Sixt, and Hertz.
What can you do in Antananarivo?
Though Antananarivo can frequently be overlooked for Madagascar’s more natural beauties, it has enough character and entertainments to charm the skeptical. The nation’s capital is packed with historical and cultural attractions and it would be a real pity to skip over this vibrant city.
Start by heading to the Rova, also called Manjakamiadana, a fortified palace that sits on the city’s highest hill. Though the Rova was almost destroyed in 1995 by fire, the imposing stone walls still remain.
Surrounding the Rova are the upper boroughs of Antananarivo, which are perhaps the most interesting part of the city, boasting a higgledy-piggledy mix of traditional and colonial houses that mix with cathedrals that spike up from narrow winding streets. In this part of town you can see the square of Andohalo, the Ambavahadimitafo Gate, one of the city gates and the only one that has been maintained. There is also the Palace of Justice that served as a court for the ruling kings of Antananarivo.
Outside of the cultural attractions, guests to this city can shopping down the popular Avenue de l’Indépendance, where you can investigate all the interesting boutiques and brands of Madagascar, which might be just the ticket if you are coming back from some of the wilder adventures available on the island. Or if you want to experience a little wilderness within the city, head to the Antananarivo Crocodile Farm, where you can see the intimidating reptiles up close.
When should you go?
The climate in Antananarivo is subtropical, and so rarely gets really cold. The winters (Jun-Aug) are dry and warm and tend to stick between 16-20°C, whereas the summers are warmer still and quite wet, expect a decent amount of rainfall and temperatures that range from 21-26°C.
What do you need to know?
Currency: The Malagasy Ariary (MGA)
Visas: Most travellers outside of the African continent will need a visa to visit Madagascar. Some of these can be issued on arrival but you must check the requirements of your specific nationality. There is a very helpful website here, that has more information, and will direct you to the appropriate consulate service where you can make your application.
Please note all information is current as of February 2016.
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