Best cities to live in Madagascar


It's not always easy to decide in which area to settle in when moving to Madagascar. According to you, what are the best cites to live in?

Which regions offer most of the job opportunities, a good quality of life, an affordable cost of living?

Share with us the cities you would recommend to expats and soon-to-be expats in Madagascar.

Thank you in advance,



First of all, if you are thinking of coming to Madagascar for an extended stay, you should look at their embassy web site to figure out for which long-term visa you may be eligible.  You can just get off the plane and pay for a 30-day, non-renewable tourist visa, but that won't work for longer periods.  And, being an island, it's not just a matter of crossing the border and re-entering to renew it; you'll have to book a roundtrip flight, which is a good way to see the region, but will get expensive after a few times.

In terms of job opps, it's not too common for the Malagasy/local businesses to hire foreigners.  You may want to research nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), where you could get a foot in the door doing volunteer work, or multinationals, like the mining industry.  Tourism is another possibility.

If you're doing online work, the internet is accessible anywhere there is a mobile telephone network (good coverage) by buying a USB modem.

In any case, you must speak the language, French, at least, and commit to learning the local dialect of Malagasy.

Mind you, I've never lived in the cities I'm about to mention, though I have had extended stays in them.  I live in a small, somewhat isolated town in the northeast.  And, no matter where you live in Madagascar, you'll be subject to cyclones between November - April.  The coast is hit harder than the interior.

In terms of where to live, my top choice would be Tamatave/Toamasina, on the east coast.  It's the second-largest city, and the largest port; many NGOs and international companies; lots of tourism; decent infrastructure (though far from perfect in many quartiers); airport that handles regional/international flights; and the cost of living is lower than more remote places (due to lower transport costs for goods).  There are supermarkets as well as the local markets, which have recently undergone an impressive makeover.

The capital, Antananarivo (or "Tanà"), is tolerable, but the infrastructure is frail.  Even the hotels suffer occasional power and water outages.  There are traffic jams all the time.  I have friends who live a little out of town, and while that makes life much nicer, you still need transportation (a car or scooter) to get to the supermarkets.  Sometimes, you can work out an arrangement with a taxi driver, or just hire a car.  There is a wide variety of restaurants, but if you cook at home, costs will be much lower, as most of the agricultural production is in the area surrounding Tanà (the High Plateau).

One thing to note is that foreigners cannot own land outright.  So, you'll be renting, but very long-term arrangements can be made.

I hope this helps.  A lot of information is available on the Internet.

Bon voyage!