Antananarivo Ivato International Airport (TNR) is the main airport on the beautiful island of Madagascar, one of the largest islands in the world. There are two different terminals at the airport, one for international flights and the other for domestic flights. Air Madagascar, Comores Aviation, Airlink and Kenya Airways are all domestic airlines that fly to and from Antananarivo Airport while the international airlines are Air Mauritius, Corsair International, and Air France.
The airport is equipped with basic amenities like a post office, bars and restaurants, but if you have a little more time to spare and are adventurous with food, you might want to take a 10-minute taxi ride to a nearby crocodile farm to look at the magnificent creatures or feast on a crocodile burger.
How to get around
To the city
The Antananarivo Ivato International Airport is located approximately 16km away from the city centre. One of the cheapest transportation options to Antananarivo from the airport is by Taxi-brousse, actually white mini buses that drop people off along the way. Even though they are usually crowded and they have a lot of stops on the way, the prices are inexpensive and they are a good way to travel. There is also a shuttle bus service run by the company ADEMA. It is different to the Taxi-brousse in that the schedule of the shuttle bus matches the one of the flights, both arrivals and departures. This is widely considered to be the best choice in terms of both safety and price. If you intend to drive yourself to the city, there are also car rental companies available at the airport.
Within the city
Getting around Antananarivo is quite difficult by foot... so as by public transportation (overloaded buses). Instead, rent a car with a driver and a guide. Do not even think of driving by yourself otherwise as you’ll get caught in the traffic jam with both pedestrians and drivers who are used to following their own rules which may or may not be the standard rules you are used to. If you’re travelling in a group, it may be economical for you to hire a car with a driver for the duration of your stay from one of the travel companies who can give you running commentary on sights and places to go while getting you to your required destination.
What to see and do
Most travellers to Madagascar enter the country through the capital's airport and tend to spend as little time as possible in this apparently unappealing city. However, the city has rich history and wonderful sights that can only be
uncovered with time. Antananarivo is divided into three different levels, which are linked by crowded stairways leading to the upper city boroughs full of traditional red-earth brick houses. There is the downtown area (ancient swamp), the intermediate level (known as “Plateau du Colbert” and located in the middle of the cliffs, and the old city in the upper town (“La Haute ville”), where Palaces (Queen's palace, ancient Prime Minister Rainilaiarivony’s Palace and the ancient Justice palace), cathedrals and the residential area of the families of ancient noblemen can be found. To see some wildlife within the city, head to the Lemur Park where lemurs who were previously in captivity are allowed to live in a place very close to their natural habitat, almost running free in some places.
If you have more time, take a short drive out of Antananarivo to the ancient capital city of Ambohimanga. Well restored and maintained, this UNESCO World Heritage Site was once the royal capital and from the palace on a steep hill, you can see stunning views of rice terraces, fields and Antananarivo.
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