Traveling around Madagascar basically starts from the country’s capital, Antananarivo . The city is located in the central mountainous part of the island in a valley at an altitude of 1276 m. Antananarivo was founded in 1625. The locals call the city abbreviated – Tana. The French spirit is everywhere in Antananarivo, here you can find colonial-style mansions and narrow streets, like in European cities.
According to Top-mba-universities, the city is built on three levels. The main attraction of Antananarivo located in the Upper City and immediately catches the eye. This is a monumental ensemble of Ruwa Ambuhimanga palaces. The ensemble includes the “double palace” Mandzakamiadana of the 17th century, the palaces of Mahitsilafandzaka, Tranavaluna and Manampisoa built in a later time, and the tombs of Madagascar monarchs. In the 19th century, the residence of the Merina dynasty was located here. Now you can learn about the royal family at the Historical Museum, which is open in Ruwa Ambuhimanga. The center of the Lower City is Independence Street with the Analakeli shopping district, where the most popular Zuma market is one of the largest open-air markets in the world. It is also worth visiting the handicraft market in the Andruvuhangi quarter, the Presidential Palace, the Prime Minister’s Palace, the buildings of the National Library, the Izutri Municipal Theater and the Tsimbazaza Botanical and Zoological Park, 20 km from Antananarivo is the Ambuhimanga hill with the fortress and the palace of King Andrianampuinemerin, which were built in the 18th century. In the past, the fortress was the main fortification of the Merina, its main gate is a huge stone disk, which took 40 people to install. This place is considered a cult place, it attracts Malagasy pilgrims and pilgrims from other regions of the world. Perinet Nature Reserve is located 140 km east of the capital.. Indri’s short-tailed lemurs, the largest of the lemurs, live here, as well as many species of orchids. The reserve is also famous for the fact that the largest variety of frogs in the world – more than 100 species – and the huge Parson’s chameleon live on 810 hectares of land. Night excursions are also offered to tourists in Perinet.
South of Antananarivo is the city of Antsirabe. Once it was the main thermal resort of Madagascar. Now there are several spa centers and baths, which offer a variety of treatments from hot baths to a variety of massages. Antsirabe is also known for its handicrafts, which are sold in souvenir shops. To the west of Antsirabe are volcanic hills with lakes. The most popular of them are Lake Tritriva and Dead Lake, which is a small reservoir between granite rocks with almost black water. The depth of the Dead Lake is about 400 m. The lake was named so because there is no living creature here.
City of Fianarantsoa known as the capital of the Betsileu people, who have been engaged in rice cultivation since ancient times. Now Fianaratsoa is the largest center of the country for the production of rice and wine. The center of the city is the ruins of the royal palace of Ruva, which is located on top of the city hill, the Catholic Cathedral of the 19th century, the ancient Hat-Vill district and numerous markets are also interesting here. From Fianarantsoa you can go to RanomafanaNational Park, which was created in 1991. There are moist forests that are home to 12 species of lemurs, including the golden bamboo lemur. From Fianarantsoa, a railway runs east to the coast, the final point of which is the city of Manakara. Driving along it you will see mountain landscapes and forests. Toamasina is the main port of the country.. It is a large city on the northeast coast of Madagascar. The main attractions of Toamasina are the old quarters with residential buildings built in the colonial style, the City Hall, the Column Square and the central market Bazaar-Be.
Sandy beaches stretch along the entire city coast, among which Manda Beach and Mahambu are the most popular. From Toamasina you can go to the small islands of Nosy Akuhu, Ile aux Prune, Ile aux Nattes, as well as the island of Sainte Marie(Nusi-Buraha). It is located 150 km north of Toamasina. Since the end of the 17th century, the island has been one of the main bases for pirates in the Indian Ocean. Now it is a popular resort in Madagascar. This narrow tropical island is lined with sandy beaches that are surrounded by groves of coconut palms. In the coastal waters of Sainte Marie, from July to September, seasonal migrations of humpback whales from Antarctica can be observed.
11 km from Toamasina is the Ivuluina Zoo with a botanical garden, where, in addition to a variety of plants, lemurs, turtles and frogs live. No less interesting for tourists will be Antungila Bay and the Masuala Peninsula. northwest of Tuamasina. There are sandy beaches that are adjacent to the densest rainforests of Madagascar, considered one of the last surviving primeval rainforests on the planet. South of Tuamasina, you can go to the Pangalan canal, which is a system of rivers, lakes and swamps surrounded by a relict rainforest.
In the southeast of Madagascar, on the coast of the Indian Ocean, the city of Taulanaru is interesting, which is also called Fort Dauphin. It lies at the foot of the Saint-Louis peak on a small peninsula. This is the main place on the island where lobsters are caught. In Taulunara, it is worth visiting Taulanaru Botanical Garden, an old fort that was built in the early 16th century, and the Berenti Nature Reserve. The Berenti Reserve is dominated by “dry forests” because it receives little rainfall compared to other parts of the island. In these forests grow trees similar to cacti and baobabs. This reserve is a habitat for ring-tailed lemurs.
Toliara is a large port city on the shores of the Mozambique Channel on the west coast of the country. This is a popular seaside resort in Madagascar with numerous sandy beaches surrounded by baobab trees. In the vicinity of Anaku Beach, you can still find the remains of the eggshell of the ancient bird Aepiornis, which was the largest in the world, it reached a height of 3 m. A 250-kilometer coral reef stretches in the coastal waters of Tuliara. It is believed that this is the second such reef after the Great Barrier Reef off the coast. Australia. It is home to 250 species of corals, 750 species of fish, sea turtles, dolphins, humpback whales, whale sharks and an ancient fish species – the coelacanth, which appeared 70 million years ago.
Not far from Toliara is Isalu National Park, which covers an area of 81.5 thousand hectares. Isalu is a limestone massif with erosional landforms. The emblem of the park depicts the Elephantopus plant, which grows everywhere here. In addition to the animal and plant world, ancient burials that were discovered in caves are very interesting.
To the north of Toliara is the popular beach resort of Morondava . For several kilometers along the city and beyond, deserted sandy beaches stretch, which are surrounded by baobabs. These trees are interesting because they can store up to 120 thousand liters of water. In the vicinity of the city you can see a lot of baobabs, and 20 km north of Morondava is the Alley of the Baobabs. They surround the road, towering majestically above it. During the day, they create a shadow, so the Alley of the Baobabs is a popular place for recreation and walks. But it is best to come here at sunset, when against the background of the red sky you can see the silhouettes of huge baobabs.
One of the oldest cities in Madagascar – Mahajanga – is located 560 km northwest of Antananarivo on the banks of the Mozambique Channel in the delta of the Betsiboka River. Mahajanga was once the capital of the Buyna kingdom. The city impresses with a large number of churches and mosques. Here is the sacred hill of Duani, where you can see the personal belongings of the four kings of Buin, the ruins of the royal fortress of Ruva, the House of Crafts and the Regional Center of Malagasy Art Crafts. Mahajanga is famous for its resort areas. Here, tourists from all over the world rest on the beaches of Gran Gavoa d’Amburuvi, Kacepi, the beaches of the nearby island of Radama and Bueni Bay.
In the very north of Madagascar, it is worth visiting the city of Antseranana , which until 1975 was called Diego Suarez. It is a major port and one of the main industrial centers of the country. The city itself will not be very interesting for tourists. Not far from Antseranana is the northernmost point of the island – Cape Amberg, and 37 km south of the city is the Amberg Mountains National Park. The park extends within the volcanic massif for 18.2 thousand hectares. It was established in 1958 to protect the rain forests that cover the slopes of the mountain, where you can meet the crowned lemur and Sanford brown lemur and see many orchids. The waterfalls and lakes of the park are very beautiful. La Grande Falls forms a picturesque lake where tourists can swim.