GOING QUIET IN MADAGASCAR
- Remember Madagascar. Like the fact that 80% of the population does not have access to drinking water. Therefore it is strongly discouraged to drink tap water. It is therefore better to buy bottles of water (about 1600 Ar (€ 0.45) in a “supermarket” and 4500 Ar (€ 1.30) in a restaurant). Or, you can provide water purification tablets, you can fill your bottles and drink without fear. We also advise you not to eat fruits and vegetables without having washed them and not to eat the small dishes that you will propose the Malagasy in the street (this will avoid any problem of tourist …!) Almost all animals in Madagascar are stray animals, it is important to be careful to not touch them (fleas, rabies, scabies). However, if you do not approach them, they will not come to you (they are very timid).
- You must know that in Madagascar the risk of malaria is great. Especially on the east coast of the island where there is neuro-palu. The area with the least risk is on the highlands. It is therefore important to provide anti-mosquito (the most effective is the Five-Five) but also anti-malaria treatment such as malarone or paludrine (ask his doctor). It is also advisable to make vaccinations against typhoid and hepatitis A. Ask your doctor. Plan a complete pharmacy kit in case of small cuts, stomachaches … And in Madagascar, there is no social security, you will not be reimbursed if you buy a drug on the spot, so it that Madagascar is one of the poorest countries in the world and that sometimes hygiene remains to be desired … There are also hygiene problems in
- is better to leave with a very complete kit to avoid any problems. Anticipate adequate antistamines according to your allergies, warn your guides and drivers if appropriate.
To get to Madagascar, there are 3 main companies serving the capital. AirFrance, Corsair and AirMadagascar. Attention, AirMadagascar is not very reliable, they are often on strike and can cancel a flight overnight … Carry flights without warning, always confirm its flight 48h in advance! This does not happen on all flights but you have to know … AirFrance offers direct flights from Paris Charles De Gaules and AirAustral makes stops in Reunion. You can find other airlines with stops (AirAustral, AirMauritius)
How to move in the country?
Option 1: Private car rental.
It is advisable to rent a private car with driver because the roads are often in bad conditions and no one respect the traffic laws. For your comfort and your safety we highly recommend it. The cost is 30 to 70 € depending on the desired car per day plus gas costs (1 € per liter).
Option 2: Bush taxi or bush truck.
If you want to travel cheaply and you are ready to travel in less comfortable conditions, it is possible to take bush taxi, means of transport of Malagasy, the price is really low but the security is just as much. These are the buses, cars, trucks arranged in such a way to carry the greatest number of people (yes, yes in a car where you would only put 7 people, here there will be 15!). However, this experience is to be done at least once in your trip (even on a short trip!).
Option 3: Domestic flights, very very expensive
AirMadagascar also offers internal flights. (Always reliability issues) Recently, a new airline Madagascar Airways serves domestic flights. This allows you to make price comparisons …
Some must-sees in Madagascar :
The Tsingy: Classified UNESCO World Heritage Site, are presented as true limestone cathedrals, consisting of a very dense network of faults, crevices, limestone blocks sculpted surfaces blades or sharp needles. A very nice hikes to do The Makay massifs: At the south-West of the island. Look for the Maki Sifaka fulvus lemurs in the heart of the forest. One of the most remote massifs and difficult to access, but surely the one that offers the most richness. Deep canyons, endemic species of the island.
Isalo: Jurassic national park sheltered the rat canyon and the makis canyon, which constitute a fauna (3 different species of lemurs: Catta lemur, Verviere sifaka and Fulvus lemur as well as rock reptiles) and a Flora (like Aloe, Euphorbia, Pachypodium or Kalanchoe) dense and unique. “L’allée des baobabs”: at the west of the island Morondava, beautiful landscapes. Classified in protected air natural monument. A dozen baobabs 800 years old.
“Mer d’émeraude” (Emerald Sea): At Diego Suarez in the north of the island. Paradise beach protected by the coral reef. It is called “le lagon vert émeraude”(the emerald green lagoon) because of the color of the water. It is a paradise for those who like to observe the seabed.
Andringitra: classified World Heritage site. This mountain is the second highest in Madagascar, the summit, called the “pic Boby” peaks at 2658 m. You will have a view of the region and in good weather you can see the Isalo. Cross a primary forest, meet rare palms, natural pools.
Tsaranoro Valley: Second cliff of the world, with 800m high, you can initiate or improve your climbing. Splendid point of view. Ranomafana: city in the heart of 44000h of primary forest. Opportunity to visit the park and discover a dozen species of different lemurs. Discover the natural thermal baths of the region with warm waters about 38 °.
The Pangalanes Canal: A series of rivers and lakes in front of the Indian Ocean for over 650km making it the largest canal in the world. Profit a soothing ride in a pirogue! Andasibe-Mantadia: Forest, natural pool, sacred fall, biodiversity, you can see the largest lemurs of the island (Indri-Indri, bamboo lemur, propithecus fulvus)
Attention, an wise old said “what you see obvious is not in Madagascar, forget everything you know and your European habits! Keep this sentence all along your trip, because as a “vazah” the Malagasy will always try to make you pay more! To avoid this, be careful to the prices displayed and the prices asked in the parks, and in the markets do not hesitate to negotiate prices all the time! You can be sure that the salesgirl will ask you more than a Malagasy … (Except some who are honest). Be careful also a lot of Malagasy speak Malagasy Franc (the old currency), to convert to Ariary, just divide the asking price by 5. And always remember to ask if he / she speaks Franc or Ariary.
Be realistic, in 15 days, it is impossible to visit the whole island in view of the difficulty to move (road in bad conditions, tracks …) so we must focus on a part, a coast of the island, a region and come back to visit an others! Indeed, it would take at least 2 months to profit all the facets of the island and still …
Some basic circuits :
- For 7 days: Tana-> Antsirabe-> Fianarantsoa-> Ranomafana-> Ambalavao-> Isalo-> Tulear->Ifaty-> Tulear-> Tana
- For 15 days to the coastal track: Morondava-> Belo sur Mer-> Morombe-> Andavadoaka-> Salary-> Ifaty-> Tulear-> Anakao-> Itampolo-> Lavanono-> Sainte-Marie-> Fort Dauphin