Where to go
Five regions that are well worth visiting in Madagascar are Antananarivo, Andasibe, Ankarana Tsingy, Mandrare and Manafiafy, and Nosy Be and Nosy Komba.
The capital of Madagascar, Antananarivo (or Tana, as it is popularly known) is a colourful hub with endless opportunities for eating, shopping, and cultural and historical immersion.
Although the crazy traffic and pollution of the city centre can put some visitors off, Tana is well worth exploring for its historical significance, colonial architecture, bustling markets and surprisingly fine dining.
Designed for Queen Ranavalona I by Scottish missionary James Cameron, Tana’s Manjakamiadana is a beautiful fortified palace that overlooks the bustle of the city from its highest hill. Although much of the structure was destroyed by a fire in 1995 and it is still under restoration, the compound remains well worth a visit. Ruins of a number of other palaces built by succeeding rulers are scattered about, and the site is the resting place of the country’s greatest monarchs. Just make sure that you don’t point your finger directly at the palace or royal tombs, as this is considered highly taboo by the locals!
The Musée d’Art et d’Archéologie in Antananarivo offers a fascinating overview of archaeological digs from around Madagascar, including grave decorations, rotating exhibits on Madagascan life, and some objects used in traditional ceremonies.