Walking Tour: Antananarivo Walking Tour

  • Start Point de Vue du Rova
  • End Place de l'Indépendance
  • Length 2.2km; one hour

This walk starts at the viewpoint below the Rova, so you could combine it with a visit to the palace or come straight here by taxi (Ar10,000 from the centre).

The views from the lookout below the Rova make it clear why the city’s rulers decided to build their palace here: the Madagascan landscape unfolds for miles in every direction.

A few hundred metres downhill, on your right-hand side, you'll find a bas-relief (1940) by Malagasy artist Charles Rabemanantsoa that tells the history of Madagascar. Rabemanantsoa trained at the school of fine arts, which used to be in what is now Musée Andafivaratra, the magnificent pink baroque palace of Prime Minister Rainilaiarivony (r 1864–1895). From here, wend your way down to the reconstruction of Jean Laborde’s house, a beautiful wooden building that served as Madagascar’s first French consulate.

At the end of the street is Cathédrale de l’Immaculée Conception, which was built on the spot where Queen Ranavalona I ordered Christian martyrs to be thrown from the cliffs. To your right are the Jardin d'Andolaho, where hira gasy (traditional shows) are held on Sunday afternoons in winter.

From here, amble down through the Haute-Ville’s quiet lanes to Rue Ratsimilaho, famous for its jewellers. Turn left on Rue Prince Ratsimamanga to have a look at the old Presidential Palace, with its white, green and red sentry boxes that match the Madagascan flag colours; at night, the fountains at the front are lit with multicoloured spotlights, adding a trendy touch to the classic facade.

Head up Rue Rainilaiarivony, where you'll see a memorial to the victims of the 7 February 2009 riots, which eventually led to Andry Rajoelina overthrowing president Marc Ravalomanana. Finish your walk on the shady Place de l’Indépendance – the friendly Buffet du Jardin is the perfect place to relax with a THB (Madagascar's signature beer).