And the favourite pastime of the Tananarivians is… (the answer will surprise you!).

04/10/2018. What are the hobbies of the Tananarivians? Because to each his own Ingres violin and when it comes time to settle down and forget for a while the pressure of everyday life, we all have our favourite dada. Some go for a walk, others watch TV, while others still prefer to bubble. After all, it’s not called free time for nothing!

For this new incursion into the reality of the Malagasy people, Stileex takes you to meet the Tananarivians and their leisure activities. What do we do today in Antananarivo for entertainment? We asked this question to 1,058 people we met in the street and here are their answers!

Me, I like to sweat

Between what you can do outdoors and what you can do indoors, the choice is wide when it comes to entertainment. In fact, in the course of the survey and interviews, we noticed that the people we interviewed were generally practising not just one but several hobbies. In spite of this, it was clear that the most popular hobby for Tananarivians is sweating, perspiring and getting their bodies moving: doing sports won 38% of the votes among those surveyed!

After sport comes a habit almost as old as the contemporary world: listening to the radio or music. In all, this activity attracts 29% of the respondents in their free time. Next comes watching television, including watching a film or series (26%), followed by going for walks (going for walks, window-shopping, etc.), which comes in fourth place (17%), followed by the outings that we like to do such as excursions, going out to restaurants or in the evening (12%).

Playing sports! This is what the Tananarivians like to do in their leisure time.
Playing sports! This is what the Tananarivians like to do in their leisure time.

Note that Internet and social networks come in 6th position, attracting 9% of respondents on their free time.

The top 5 favourite hobbies of the Tananarivians

If so far we have asked them about all the activities they liked to do for entertainment, this time we asked our interviewees to keep only one: if they had to choose only one, which one would be their favourite? Well, as you can see, the ranking doesn’t change or only slightly. Instead, look at it this way:

  1. playing sports (28%)
  2. listen to radio or music (15%)
  3. watching TV, movies or a series (13%)
  4. to walk (9%)

Only then, tied for fourth place, did we notice something new: doing nothing. Indeed, 9% of those surveyed said they prefer to linger in their leisure time!

Women’s Top 5 Favourite Leisure Activities

Where the lines really move is when we look at the ladies’ favourite leisure activities. Judge for yourself:

  1. listen to radio or music (19%)
  2. watching TV, movies or a series (17%)
  3. to walk (12%)
  4. do nothing at all (12%)

Among women, preferring to do sports during leisure time only comes in 5th position and concerns only 10% of the respondents.

Flemmarder, the fourth favourite pastime of the Tananarivian women!
Flemmarder, the fourth favourite pastime of the Tananarivian women!

Men’s Top 5 Favourite Leisure Activities

With the men, we go back to the same hierarchy that we saw at the beginning, except that it is a large part of them who prefer to do sports:

  1. playing sports (45%)
  2. listen to radio or music (11%)
  3. watch TV, movies or a series (9%)
  4. walking (7%)

In 5th place in the ranking is acorn: 6% of the men like to do nothing once they are freed from the constraints of everyday life.

Top 5 favourite hobbies of young people

For their part, 18 to 35 year olds also follow the general trend in terms of their favourite leisure activities:

  1. playing sports (32%)
  2. listen to radio or music (18%)
  3. watching TV, movies or a series (11%)
  4. to walk (9%)

On the other hand, novelty in 5th place: 7% of them prefer to go on social networks and Internet like Facebook or Instagram for entertainment.

Top 5 favourite hobbies for those aged 36 and over

And the over 35s will you tell us? When it comes to science, this is what they prefer to do for fun:

  1. playing sports (23%)
  2. do nothing at all (15%)
  3. watching TV, movies or a series (14%)
  4. listen to radio or music (13%)

Going out, finally, is the fifth favourite leisure activity of Tananarivians aged 36 and over (12%)!

A leisure budget? What for?

When questioned about their budgetary habits in the practice of their leisure activities, the Tananarivians confess bluntly that they simply do not have a budget.

The majority of those surveyed (62%) naturally say that they do not allocate any amount for leisure in their accounts. Then there are those who still say they expect less than 50,000 Ariary per month (31%) and those who allocate between 50,001 and 100,000 Ariary per month (6%). Beyond this budget range, they are a negligible minority (1%).

You don't need a budget when you can practice your favourite hobbies for free!
You don’t need a budget when you can practice your favourite hobbies for free!

Finally, let us conclude on an interesting and quite paradoxical fact that emerges from the perception that Tananarivians have of the leisure offer in the capital: it so happens that 35% of them consider this offer really satisfactory while, immediately afterwards, 27% find it totally unsatisfactory!

What can we conclude from this survey on the Tananarivians and their leisure activities?

It seems that Malagasy people and sport are more connected than one might think: 38% of those surveyed do sport for entertainment, while doing sport is the favourite leisure activity of 28% of those interviewed. As a reminder, 60% of Malagasy people practice at least one sport regularly.

The rest of the Tananarivians’ favourite leisure activities are then turned to the media: radio, music, TV, films, etc. A trend that could be explained on the one hand by the traditionally social dimension of these activities (in Madagascar, the whole family gets together to listen to the radio or watch TV), and the explosion of mp3 and series vendors that can now be found on every street corner (telenovelas, when you hold us…).

There is also a softer distribution of preferences among women, while among men, a large 45% chose sport as their favourite leisure activity. But what we see above all is that shopping is not really popular among the former (in terms of leisure activities, I might add), and that young people go online more than others to have fun while very few like to do nothing, in contrast to the 36 and over age group who like to watch films almost as much as they like to laze around.

Let’s end with a figure: only 38% of Tananarivians budget their leisure expenses. When you think about it, it’s quite logical. Already, we know that half of those who practice a sport regularly spend nothing on it. Afterwards, one only has to look at the top 5 favourite leisure activities of the Tananarivians to realise that indeed, establishing a budget beforehand is not really necessary.

What to do in Tana?

Did you know that the city of Antananarivo was blowing out its 408 candles this year? Over the centuries, the city of a thousand has been transformed to become the city of many faces that we know today: a mixture of modern and traditional architectural style collecting hillside buildings that no urbanization plan can master. And what about the wild advertising that invades Antananarivo… Yet there is an obvious charm emanating from this mess that it would be dishonest to deny. And then, as the other would say, there is order in this chaos.

Gardens and parks

To brighten up the 3 million or so inhabitants that it shelters, the capital has set up gardens and parks here and there. But, let’s face it, not many of them are maintained, and a garden left to decay is not at all attractive. These are the ones that I think are worthwhile.

  • the botanical and zoological park of Tsimbazaza

Created in 1925 during the colonization, the park of Tsimbazaza is the zoo of the city even if it also works for the conservation of the flora of the country. You can see turtles, fosas and makis, but it is also a private green space where you can picnic without any problem (entrance fee).

"Bro... you're disturbing..."
“Bro… you’re disturbing…”
  • the garden of Antaninarenina

An island of greenery and cleanliness located just in front of the Hotel du Louvre. The calm of this garden is appreciated by lovers and amateurs of board games (chess, fanorona, etc.). Regular cultural events also take place there.

  • Andohalo’s garden

Taking advantage of the calm of the Upper Town, this garden is an unsuspected Eden floating above the hustle and bustle of the city. Clean, peaceful and green, the garden is also home to an artificial turf football pitch and a basketball court which (unfortunately) has to be paid for. As a bonus: the nearby cathedral!

  • Lemurs park

Ok, it’s not Tana strictly speaking, but what are 22 km when you can, afterwards, make an excursion among the lemurs? Located on the RN1, this park proposes to discover on its 5 ha 7 varieties of lemurs (not all as blasé as the specimen above, I reassure you). Be careful, picnic is possible, but it is necessary to warn in advance (paying entrance).

The Lemurs Park logo
The Lemurs Park logo

Sporting activities

Doing sports in Antananarivo is quite easy depending on what you want to do.

  • basket, volley, foot

As a general rule, it is enough to go, on a Saturday, to a high school to play (Ste Famille Mahamasina, Lycée moderne Ampefiloha, St Michel Amparibe, etc.). And of course, there is the Mahamasina Municipal Stadium and the grounds of the University of Ankatso.

  • tennis, squash, ping-pong

To practice sports, let’s say, a little more elitist, you’re going to have to join a club. The ACSA club (Amicale Culturelle et Sportive d’Ambohidahy) is the perfect example, offering tennis, gymnastics, squash, etc. to its members. One can even play golf in Antananarivo with two addresses for that: Malaza golf (on the RN1) and the Golf du Rova (on the RN4).

  • karting

Kart lovers can choose between the Serena Racing Kart (SRK) in Imerintsiatosika (you have to pass Malaza golf), and Havoana Land (Imerikasinina) which has the advantage of offering in addition to petanque, accrobranche, zip lines, and even a swimming pool.

Go-karting is a leisure activity that requires a large budget in Madagascar.
Go-karting is a leisure activity that requires a large budget in Madagascar.
  • swimming

Surprisingly, there are many swimming pools in Antananarivo and finding them will not be difficult. But what about the cleanliness and quality of the installations? Personally, I would advise the following addresses: Panorama hotel, Motel Anosy (ex Solimotel), Sahamadio (Ilafy), Carlton hotel, or Batou Beach (Ambohimanambola) even if for the latter, it would be more for paddling than for doing laps.

  • skateboarding

Correct me if I’m wrong, but the only skatepark I know in Antananarivo is in the Maintsoririna leisure center. Former municipal swimming pool rehabilitated by the CUA (Urban Commune of Antananarivo), it is located in Ankaditapaka, Antanimena, and offers 650 m2 of refurbished pool bottom.

Recreation centres in the city

Recreation centres are also numerous in the capital. Check out :

  • Sam Run

It was better before. From a pleasant and green space with lots of activities, this playground has become a shadow of its former self due to lack of maintenance. I’m still putting in just in case. Sam Run is in Anosizato.

  • Imaho space

Located in Ambohidahy, Soavinimerina on the road to Ambohimanga Rova, the Imaho space offers its visitors 2 beautiful swimming pools, table football, and several picnic areas. And if Imaho doesn’t suit you, stay in the area: Blue Hills, Ankany Nomenjanahary, Villa Olivia, there is no shortage of recreation centers in this area.

  • the Chat’O

2 ha of various activities: swimming pool, mini-golf, bouncy castle, etc. They are in Ivato, on the road to the airport. Be careful however, they forbid to bring food, so you will have to go to their restaurant if you plan to stay there during the day. Fortunately, the prices charged are not particularly excessive.

the Chat'O aims to make you spend very good days outdoors.
the Chat’O aims to make you spend very good days outdoors.
  • recreation center Maintsoririna

The skatepark has the particularity of being in the city centre (Antanimena) and has a good size car park, which is rare enough to be mentioned. In addition to the pool, it has 1,000 m² of greenery and a large children’s play area with everything you need.

  • Batou Beach

It is not too much in town (Ambohimanambola), but there is a huge swimming pool and you can also spend some time playing basketball, beach volleyball and beach-soccer. Not to spoil anything, the traffic is quite mild there too.

Note that as you move away from the city, you will come across a host of centres such as Tokotany (Lazaina) or O!Safari (RN3, Antanambao).


Antananarivo is not really known for its museums, but there are several. Be careful though: we are sometimes very far from the westernized conception of museums!

  • Andafihavaratra museum

After the fire at the Rova de Manjakamiadana in 1995, the surviving objects were transferred to the Museum of Andafihavaratra. This museum, formerly the palace of Prime Minister Rainilaiarivony, now houses the effects of the former royal family of Madagascar. In the same genre, you can also visit the rova of Ambohimanga or that of Ilafy.

  • photo museum

Installed in the former residence of the Mayors in Anjohy, the photo museum looks back on the history of Madagascar through precious period photos. About 5,000 photos are on display, an impressive stock resulting from a long research work that lasted 5 years.

Selected pieces from the Photo Museum's impressive collection
Selected pieces from the Photo Museum’s impressive collection
  • pirate museum

Immersion in the world of pirates in Madagascar in the 1500s, between Libertalia and historical reconstructions. An unusual way to discover a whole section of the country’s history. Direction: Tsaralalàna, rue Liège.

  • museum of art and archeology

This museum was created in 1970 and came under the aegis of the University of Antananarivo in 1990. There are various archaeological objects and various reconstructions including a replica of a cave in Isalo where cave paintings were found. This museum is located in Isoraka, rue Dr Villette.

  • museum park Tsimbazaza

Located within the Tsinbazaza Zoological and Botanical Park, this museum is divided in two: a section dedicated to ethnography and another to palaeontology. In the first one, you will find various artefacts and objects specific to the different ethnic groups of Madagascar. In the second one, you will find, well, a lot of old bones.

The squellette of a giant lemur exhibited at the Paleontological Museum of Tsimbazaza
The squellette of a giant lemur exhibited at the Paleontological Museum of Tsimbazaza

How about getting (a little) out of Tana?

The surroundings of Antananarivo are worth the detour just for the pure air we breathe there. It also happens that one discovers there, with the turning of a bend, a park which one did not know. Below are some suggestions for mop.

  • Ambatofotsy, RN7

A guaranteed change of scenery for this picturesque destination located about 15 km from Tana. This village is known for its “tamboho”, ancient walls built to protect the villages. There is also a park: the Gasikara park.

  • Ambatomirahavavy, RN1

Just twenty kilometers from Tana, Ambatomirahavavy is a good plan for those who want to change the city without necessarily going far. The landscape is soothing, made of valleys and rice paddies, and you will find plenty of recreational centers such as Le Papaya, La Villa Verte and Lemurs Park.

A small glimpse of the beautiful landscapes you will encounter on the RN1 on your way to Ambatomirahavavy
A small glimpse of the beautiful landscapes you will encounter on the RN1 on your way to Ambatomirahavavy
  • Mantasoa, RN2

It’s true, going to Mantasoa is a small trip in itself with 75 km to go. But this corner is a small paradise: walks in the forest, pedal boats, kayaking and water skiing on the lake, there again, the change of scenery is total.

That’s it. Obviously, the lists proposed here are not exhaustive, so do not hesitate to share your addresses if you have any!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here