In the extreme northwest of Madagascar lies the 19.300 km² administrative district of Diana. The capital of the region is the port city of Antsiranana, which was called Diégo-Suarez until 1975. Antsiranana is the administrative seat of the regional government, fishing port and trading port for agricultural products and minerals. There is a small airport in the southern outskirts.
Madagascar - View of Antsiranana
Commercial and fishing port
Between 1894 and 1960 Madagascar was a French protectorate. The Grande Nation in Diégo-Suarez had already had one of its most important naval bases in the Indian Ocean since 1890. After the French withdrew, Antsiranana, located on a spacious bay, became the third largest trading port in the country.
Madagascar - The port facilities of Antsiranana
The city is also an important fishing port. Mainly tuna, shrimp and sea cucumber are caught and processed into delicacies. Agricultural products are: cotton, coffee, cocoa, essential oils, pepper, vanilla and sugar cane. Smallholders produce beans, grain, cassava and rice for their own use. In addition, rare earths, metals and precious stones are extracted in the region.
Madagascar - rice terraces
Traces of the colonial era
According to the 2013 census, the population of Antsirananas is given as 115.000. In addition to Malagasy ethnic groups, descendants of Comorians, Indians, Pakistani and Chinese live in the city. The Republic of Madagascar is one of the poorest and least developed countries on earth. This is evident not least in the cityscape of Antsiranana. From colonial times it has extensive streets and representative colonial buildings. The decay of the originally stately buildings is obvious. Cyclones and the country's lack of financial strength obviously contributed to the collapse.
Madagascar - Ruins of the Hotel de la Marine
Tourist destinations nearby
Regardless of this, Antsiranana is frequently visited because of its proximity to attractive tourist destinations. The few cruise ships touring the Indian Ocean also call at the port from time to time. We visit Antsiranana on board a Costa Crociere cruise ship. The day before we visited the island of Nosy Be, which also belongs to the Diana region.
Madagascar - Antsiranana - Living in the green
After the Lokobe Reserve nature reserve on Nosy Be, this time excursions to the Montagne d'Ambre National Park and a visit to the Tsingy Rouge Park on the east coast of Madagascar are on the program.
We report on our experiences and experiences in our article: Antsirananas sightseeing and shore excursion to Tsingy Rouge Park.
Madagascar - Tsingy Rouge
Update March 2021