Mahajanga is on the west coast of Madagascar.
Mahajanga or Majunga is the main tourist destination in Madagascar. Located on the sunnier west coast, on the Mozambique Channel, it is less affected by rains than its counterparts on the Indian Ocean coast. More than fifty hotels cater to every budget, from families and groups travelling by bus the island's capital Antananarivo (560 km by a well-paved road) to well-heeled tourists flying in from abroad, notably Mayotte.
The city is famous throughout Madagascar for its easy-going and friendly atmosphere. Mahajanga is the gateway to a number of nature parks, including nearby Reniala reserve and distant Ankarafantsika, Bay of Baly, and to the natural wonders of Cirque Rouge, Anjohibe caves, and Katsepy peninsula.
Mahajanga is situated at the northern end of the national road N4 which connects it with the nation's capital. For most of the distance, N4 is in a good condition, but it is narrow and partly winds itself over very mountaineous territory. North of Maevatanana, the damaged sections are more frequent. Expect to travel around 11 hours. There are two scheduled bus lines that connect Mahajanga and Antananarivo:
- 2 Cotisse transport, ☎ (mobile). Offers two daily scheduled minibus services to and from Antananarivo (gare routière du nord), buy tickets with seat reservation in advance. The buses depart on time even if not full. You are required to be at the station 45 minutes before departure. The station in Mahajanga has a buffet service and a toilet. 34,000 Ar (€10) per person.
- TransPost. Offers scheduled minibus services to and from Antananarivo three times a week. Inquire at the post offices (see "Connect" section) in these two cities for departure times.
Mahajanga's city center is small enough to be discovered by walking. There are plenty of Bajaj (tuk-tuk) available, expect to pay 3000 Ar for a ride in town.
There are 1 several banks in Rue de France and Rue Gallieni.
- 1 Buvette Macha'llah, Avenue des Comores. Large portions of Madagasy muslim food. Budget 7,000 Ar for a main dish.
- 2 Fishing résidence, Boulevard Marcoz, ☎ (mobile), (mobile), , e-mail: email@example.com. This is the restaurant of a resort with very good kitchen. The setting is under a large thatched roof next to the pool, but no sea view. Budget 20,000 Ar for a main dish.
- 3 La Petite Cour (La piccola corte), Boulevard Marcoz, ☎ (mobile), . French-managed restaurant in a nicely renovated colonial building. Sophisticated kitchen, good service. Open for lunch and dinner. Budget 20,000 Ar for a main dish.
- Fishing Résidence. Also has a restaurant; see "Eat" section entry. Expect 110,000 Ar for a double room, 250,000 Ar for a bungalow.
- 1 Hôtel Anjary, Rue Georges V/Rue de la mosquée, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. This hotel is near the city center and decorates itself with three stars, which is not justified; the quality of service is by far inferior to Antananarivo's Hôtel Anjary (same owner). Expect 70,000 Ar for a double.
- 2 Hôtel Coco Lodge, Avenue de France, ☎ , (mobile), e-mail: email@example.com. Located near Mahajanga's city center. Promises "European" comfort and receives very good feedback from travellers. Good restaurant. Budget 180,000 Ar for a double.
- 3 Hôtel du Phare, Boulevard Marcoz, La Corniche, ☎ , , (mobile). Located on a hill with sea view. Old and old-fashioned building that was undergoing renovation in October 2017, small pool available. Friendly, helpful staff and French management. Breakfast is served, for lunch and dinner you are better off eating out. There is a small entrance on Boulevard Marcoz, for the main entrance, go up Rue Marius Barriquand that forks off Blv Marcoz 500 metres north of the big baobab tree. 80,000 Ar for a double with air conditioning.