Antananarivo, also known as Tana, is the capital of Madagascar.
Antananarivo is the main entry point for Madagascar and travel to the capital is covered in the main Madagascar page.
Arrival at the Ivato airport in Tana is fairly scary for those used to US or European airports. First, you need to buy a visa using Euros or US dollars, and dealing with immigration folks, wherever they are, is always stressful. Once you get past baggage claim, the fun really starts as you are descended upon by a mass of "entrepreneurs" offering assistance with your luggage to the waiting taxis, in return for a gratuity of course. This may be helpful to some, but others may find the presence of the "Skycaps a la Tana" a little distracting as they try to change money at the airport bank (which you have to do, since the Madagascar Ariary is not a convertible currency).
There are three main methods of navigating the capital: taxi, bus and on foot. Most tourists tend to use taxis as they are very practical. Make sure you agree the rate with the driver before entering the taxi. Also, be aware that traffic tends to be heavy in Analakely (Antananrivo's center and busiest area) during typical rush hour times. If you are comfortable being squeezed onto a van with other people, the buses, or 'taxi be', are the most affordable form of transportation, with prices usually ranging from 1,000 fmg to 2,000 fmg (Compared to 25,000 fmg or more for a typical taxi ride). However, tourists are not usually familiar with taxi be routes. While the city is quite large, Analakely is fairly navigable on foot.
There's no point being kind about this - there really is no tourist infrastructure to speak of in Antananarivo - for some folks that is part of the attraction!
Go to the open air markets for all of the crafts.
Lots of bottled water (not tap water!) and Fanta in the glass bottles! THB (Three Horses Beer). Madagascar wine - variable but so much cheaper than the alternative (imported French wine)
There are many cheaper hotels.
The two best known accommodations in the capital are the Hilton and the Colbert (the latter pronounced like the Comedy Central show!). However, in addition to being well known, these hotels are quite expensive, especially relative to other accommodations.
Quickly. There is a lot of hustle and bustle but not really much for the casual tourist to do, and you run the gauntlet of aggressive beggars if you frequent the central shopping area. Also, due to the altitude, the capital is significantly colder than the coastal areas. Probably sensible to allocate no more than a couple of days to Tana.
Travel out of the capital is by two modes: road or air. Contrary to the main Madagascar article, as of 2005 there was no passenger rail service from the capital. Road transport is by bus (http://www.madabus.com/) to limited destinations, taxi-brousse (shared taxi) to a variety of destinations or by car rental (usually with driver). Air travel is the recommended method, due to the poor state of many roads, and Antananarivo is the hub city for the national carrier Air Madagascar. But of course air is more expensive. Recommended next stops are Morondava and/or Nosy Be.