The Antsiranana Port, also known as the Bay/Port of Diego-Suarez is located in the northern most extreme of the Island of Madagascar. It was so named after 2 Portuguese explorers who are credited with discovering the island. Regarded as one of the best naturally formed harbors in the world, the port of Antsiranana was developed by the French during the 18th and 19th centuries. The Antsiranana cruise port is a thriving tourist & commercial port, the second largest in Madagascar with a population of nearly 80,000 people. There are many tourist destinations within driving distance from the harbor, making it a popular port of call for many passenger cruise liners that sail the Indian Ocean.
The city itself is full of French colonial architecture from the Old Covered Market to the former Hotel de la Marine, which gives a classic vintage atmosphere to the port of Antsiranana. It is famous for its marine products and handwork crafts of zebu horns and sea turtle shells. The crafts shops owned by Moussa Feno and Patricia Bardu are considered the best to go buy such souvenirs in the city. Exploring its alleys and storefronts can be a rewarding and fun-filled experience.
Things to See
The port of Antsiranana is encircled by a group of mountains that make it an ideal scenic location for sea-faring voyagers who come ashore to rest from their long journey at sea. A number of tourists also flock through the city on their way to the Montagne d'Ambre (Amber Mountain) and the Ankarana national parks. Located 35 kilometers from the port of Antsiranana, the Amber Mountain National Park is a remote mountain rainforest filled with lakes and waterfalls. It is also one of the most biologically diverse places on the island of Madagascar.
If you are looking for adventure, The Montagne des Francais is a popular destination for rock climbers and hikers alike who wish to explore the scenic beauty of the surrounding area. Alternatively, if you wish to just relax and enjoy a day out in the sun; Ramena Beach lies about 18 kilometers from the harbor. It is a popular destination among locals and tourists who go to enjoy the white sandy beaches of Madagascar and swim in the Indian Ocean.
Restaurants and Bars
Hotels and tourist lodges are dotted all over this part of the island, and tourists find little shortage of places to stay. However, a bit farther away from the city of Antsiranana is the Le Domaine De Fontenay Hotel in Joffreville, which is a century-old homestead of a French colonist that has been turned into a hotel. Its location makes it an exceptional setting for tourists to relax during the day and get away from the heat of Antsiranana in the summer.
From there, tourist can go to enjoy a tranquil dinner in the city's most stylish restaurants such as the Rosticceria, the Jonque or a host of others which provide a variety of seafood dishes of local and French cuisine. There are also bars to enjoy a night out in the port city; most notably the Balafomanga and Le Venilla Bar, which are the most welcoming to tourists fresh off the Antsiranana Cruise Terminal.