Madagascar’s capital and largest city, Antananarivo lies in the centre of the island. ‘Tana’, as it is affectionately known, is a unique place and where the country’s history and blend of Austronesian, Africa and European cultures are most apparent.
Glistening paddy fields and small farms stretch far out into the surrounding highlands and well into the city itself, hills packed densely with a ramshackle of buildings and ‘trano gasy’ brick houses piled on top. Causeways lead into the historic middle where classic French hatchbacks struggle up cobbled inclines, past markets, workshops, salons de coiffure, bouchers and food stalls.
Atop the hills in the Haute-Ville, find quaint colonial villas (a handful of which are now charming boutique hotels), artisan shops and some surprisingly good restaurants. Its wonderful light and views are a treat for photographers and while not the best city to explore on foot, Tana has an undeniable charm that means a night or two here should be savoured.