Madagascar Tourist Information and Tourism

(Madagascar, MG, Africa)

Antananarivo cityscape photographFamous for its threatened populations of lemurs and lush national parks, the island nation of Madagascar has become a familiar African country, thanks in no small part to the 2005 DreamWorks animated movie simply entitled 'Madagascar'. Located in the Indian Ocean, this really is a unique country like no other, with its baobab trees, orchids, record-breaking chameleons (smallest and largest), beautiful waterfalls and interesting locals.

Although the enormous main island of Madagascar lies a fair distance from the coastline of south-eastern Africa, it is nevertheless considered to be a part of this continent. Most people choose to visit anytime between April and December, avoiding the heavy rain which reliably falls earlier in the year. April, October and November tend to be the peak months for holidays here.

Antananarivo, or Tana as it is often referred to by the local Madagascans, is the capital city and a good place to come for tourist information. The Maison de Tourisme de Madagascar (House of Tourism) on the Lalana Elysee Ravelomanantsoa is a useful place to visit, being conveniently near to a number of local travel agencies and tour operators.

Mahamasina Municipal Stadium photo, located in Antananarivo

Madagascar Tourist Information and Tourism: Top Sights

The almost endless coastlines and huge selection of beaches are the principal reason that Madagascar has become such a popular holiday destination, with top tourist resorts based on both the main island and many of its smaller islands. Some of the most appealing beaches can be discovered on the islands of Ile Sainte Marie, Nosy Be, Nosy Iranja, Nosy Komba and Tsarabanjina, while on 'mainland' Madagascar, the beaches of Le Paradisier and Manafiafy are worth looking out for, amongst many, many others. More information about Madagascar Beaches.

Andohalo Cathedral image, AntananarivoIf you are a tourist on holiday in Madagascar and looking for some memorable sightseeing, then Antananarivo is an excellent place to start your adventure. Consider walking tours of the capital, taking in attractions such as the famed Queen's Palace, which also goes by the names - the Manjakamiadana, the Palais de la Reine and the Rova. This royal complex dates back to the 17th century, with considerable fire damage in the mid-nineties resulting in a huge, albeit slow, restoration project.

Also in Antananarivo is the President's Palace (Président Palais), the Mahamasina Municipal Stadium (Stade Municipal de Mahamasina), the family friendly Tsimbazaza Zoo and Botanical Garden, and some very enchanting markets, such as the Marché Artisanale de La Digue and the Marché Communal de Petit Vitesse. Elsewhere in Madagascar, the vineyards of Fianarantsoa, the Ivoloina Zoological Park at Toamasina, the Ranomafana Hot Springs, the Royal Palace of Tsinjoarivo and the Sahambavy Tea Estate in Ampaidranovato all deserve mentioning.

Picture of Antananarivo city centreMany wonderful national parks are spread around the country, allowing you to experience indigenous Madagascar wildlife in its natural habitat. As you might expect, most people simply want to see the lemurs, of which there are numerous different species. The Kirindy Mitea National Park at Menabe is the place to come for lemur spotting, as are the national parks of Andohahela, Andringitra, Isalo and Ranomafana, as well as the Berenty Nature Reserve and the Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict Nature Reserve. The Amber Mountain National Park contains important groups of Sanford's brown and crowned lemurs, and is highly regarded for its crater lakes and cascading waterfalls. More information about Madagascar Tourist Attractions and Madagascar National Parks.

Madagascar beachfront imageMadagascar is a particularly important country when it comes to history and preserving the past, with a host of classified monuments and many impressive World Heritage sites. Some of the most familiar and touted include the Royal Hill of Ambohimanga, which resides close to central Antananarivo and is now regarded as an important archeological site, with its royal tombs and holy shrines. Close by, the vast Anosy Lake (Lac Anosy) forms the capital's scenic centrepiece and functions as an important recreational space.

Roughly two hours to the west is the even larger Lake Itasy (Lac Itasy), while considerably closer and to the east, man-made Mantasoa Lake (Lac Mantasoa) has become a leading weekend haunt for those living in Antananarivo. Located just off the north-western tip of Madagascar's main island and only a short boat trip from Ambanja, Nosy Be comes highly recommended, as do excursions to Ile Sainte Marie (Nosy Boraha) off the north-easterly coast, where a fascinating pirate heritage and seasonal whale watching (June to September) serve as major draws for tourists. More information about Madagascar Landmarks and Monuments.

Photo showing the famous Avenue of the BaobabsIf you are coming to Madagascar with a view to taking in some of the country's premier museums, then Antananarivo should certainly be your first port of call. Here you can explore the Musee Andafiavaratra, where pink architecture is accompanied by information and well-captioned exhibits relating to the Merina royalty - including the valuable Merina crown jewels. Further cultural highlights in Antananarivo include the Musee de l'Art et de l'Archeologie (Museum of Art and Archaeology) and the Musee d'Ethnologie et de Paléontologie (Museum of Ethnology and Paleontology), the latter of which is the place to come if you are interested in learning about the island's now extinct elephant bird. Toliara, the University of Toamasina and Sarodravay Marodoka on Nosy Be are all also known for their reliable Madagascan museums. More information about Madagascar Museums.

Waterfront viewIf you are prepared to travel, then a holiday in Madagascar will be all the more rewarding, with many day trips to towns, beaches and attractions being quite possible with only minimal planning and organisation. Literally dozens of airports (large and small) are dotted around the archipelago, meaning that trips to chosen destinations are often no more than a short flight away. However, the more adventurous may like to continue their travels on mainland Africa, with the surprisingly plentiful attractions of Mozambique lying directly to the west. To the north-west is the country of Tanzania, where the Serengeti National Park and the beaches of Zanzibar stand out in particular. Head to the south-west and you will soon reach South Africa - home of bustling cities Cape Town and Johannesburg. More information about Madagascar Attractions Nearby.

Coastal picture of Lokaro Beach, Fort Dauphin

More Madagascar Information / Fast Facts and Orientation