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Antananarivo also known as the city of a thousands, is the capital of Madagascar.
Antananarivo is the main entry point for Madagascar and travel to the capital is covered in the main Madagascar page.
Ivato Airport (TNR) is the Antananarivo's major airport and it is serviced by Air France, Turkish Airlines, Air Austral, Airlink, Air Mauritius, Comores Aviation, Kenya Airways, Interair South Africa and Air Madagascar.
Once you get past baggage claim, you will be greeted by a mass of entrepreneurs offering assistance with your luggage to the waiting taxis, in return for a gratuity, and offering directions to other services.
All foreign visitors require an entry visa. Initial visas are for up to 30 days, and your passport must be valid for at least six months after the last day of your stay. Any visa longer than three months must be referred to the Ministry of the Interior or Embassy in Antananarivo.
There are three main methods of navigating the capital: taxi, bus and on foot. Most tourists tend to use taxis as they are very practical. Make sure you agree on a rate with the driver before entering the taxi.
To travel on from Tana there is only one real form of public transport, the taxi brousse or bush taxi.
On arrival to the station you will be mobbed by touts trying to sell the services of every destination and route. They do this to all arrivals to the station, local and tourist alike. Most stations are lined with ticket kiosks with signs overhead advertising their locations.
Andasibe-Mantadia National Park - buses depart from the comparatively modern Gare Routieie de l'est. Travel first to Moramanga then catch a connecting bus to Andasibe village. Buses leave regularly, up to every hour.
Ranomafana National Park - from Farakana bus station catch a bus with an end destination of Mananjary or one of the other cities south of here. Journey time is about 14 hours.
What to see
There's no point being kind about this - there really is no tourist infrastructure to speak of in Antananarivo.
Rova - Sovereigns or Queen's Palace of the Kingdom of Imerina, 17th and 18th century. The site offers good panoramic views of the city, as it is on the highest point in the hills.
Prime Minister's Rainilaiarivony's Palace - near the Rova. In 2005, the situation here was uncertain, the Palace appeared to be closed, but a freelance guide let visitors in for a fee and gave a comprehensive account of the historical artifacts which were on display.
The Musée d’art et d’archéologie of Isoraka is also an institute of civilizations, which shows several archeological works. you can learn a lot about Madagascar's history, its people and its traditions, since 1st century to the present.
There are several ethnographic objects from all over the island and a lot of cookware. Its purpose is clearly to contribute to a better knowledge of the cultural history of Madagascar.
Beware of dogs! Tana is loaded with stray dogs, some of whom will occasionally harass passers-by for scraps or bark, growl and chase humans off their territory. If accosted by a stray dog, look for a rock or bottle or something to throw at it, then let fly. If nothing is available start screaming and clapping your hands. If this doesn't work, run. These animals also leave their marks behind...many locals refer to Tana as "Antaybe".
Street children are present here. Beggars also. A polite but firm "Non, merci" when speaking to anyone older than you) should do the trick. Avoid handing out cash, candy or trinkets to beggars and children - it provides no solution to the social problem and encourages begging and theft.
Be wary of groups of older children begging in the centre, they are often ready to steal/snatch exposed jewelry, saleable items or bags.