Most travelers prefer to hire a private driver/guide. Its an
affordable, comfortable and easy way of getting around in Madagascar.
See the links page for recommended tour operators.
More adventurous people
or those on a tight budget travel by Taxi Brousse, the only
form of public transport known to Madagascar. It is cheap,
but really slow. Vehicles often break down and are always crammed.
It is possible to reserve more seats for yourself for a more
Most visits to Madagascar involve domestic flights simply because
most distances are too large to cover over land, or take too
much time. Air Madagascar is a good and safe airline which
flies to all corners of the country on a frequent basis. The
average price of a one way ticket is 100 euros. It is advisable
to book your tickets early to ensure your place. Tickets can
be bought from Europe through, for instance, Air Agencies in
Rotterdam. When setting up your itinerary keep in mind that
Air Mad flights are often delayed, so keep a flexible schedule.
It is possible to join cargo boats that sail between several
destinations on the East Coast. However safety can be a serious
issue, and nobody knows exactly when or if a certain ship departs.
Ferries between the mainland and the islands like Nosy be or
Ile Sainte Marie are sometimes not safe, make sure you pick
a decent boat, check the condition of the sea and ask the driver
to bring enough fuel!
Madagascar is a very safe country. People are very friendly
towards foreigners. In rural places, criminality rates
are close to zero. However, pick pocketing occurs in Tana
around busy markets, like they occur in any other capital
in the world. Take good care of your belongings and don't
drift off during the night.
In Fort Dauphin, on some beaches muggings
have been reported.
is generally safe to leave your valuables in your hotel room,
but of course always bring your money and passport with you.
Madagascar's currency is Ariary. Euros are not accepted
as a payment but can be easily exchanged at banks or on Tana's
black market. Tana has some ATM's that accept Visa cards (Master
Card is nowhere to be accepted, a few exceptions aside). Most hotels
don't accept credit cards except for larger tourist hotels
in Nosy Be and Ste Marie.
Traveler Cheques is possible at some banks, but can be very
time consuming (half a day) and sometimes limited to 200 euros
per person. Always bring a receipt with the numbers of your
cheques, without it NO money! The best option by far is bringing
Madagascar is still cheap; decent mid-range hotels are between
10 - 30 euros per room. Food and drinks too are very cheap.
Hiring a private car with driver costs somewhere between 30
- 100 euros per day. This makes Madagascar one of the more popular destinations of tourists looking to travel without extracting too much money from their savings accounts.
Near the coast there's an abundance of fish, shrimps, crab
and lobster, all at an absolute bargain. In the inlands it's
mainly rice with chicken or zebu meat. The latter can be
very tasty. Bottled
water is available everywhere, there's no need to bring purification
When To Go & Climate
Madagascar is best to be avoided from February till April when
it suffers from cyclones, floods and droughts. Any other month
should be fine. The east coast sees quite some rain throughout
the year, but mainly consisting of short tropical showers.
Northeast : best time to visit is November till December,
the drier months, when roads are more accessible. (this
does not include Perinet / Andasibe / Tamatave which can
be reached by paved road the whole year round)
West: Tsingy de Bemaraha is accessible from June till January
North & Nosy Be : Sunny the whole year round
Ile ste Marie : Can be rainy. Best months are September
till December. A useful climate chart can be found here.
Whale watching is possible when they pass by from September
Take Malaria precautions (Lariam or Malarone) and vaccinations.
Madagascar has the european outlet plug. Electronic equipment
like camera's can be charged at most places without problems.
Visa are required for a visit to Madagascar. Issued visa are
valid for 90 days. They can be purchased upon arrival at Ivato
Airport, or at your local embassy or consulate. (In Holland
at the Madagascar Consulate in Rotterdam, price: 50 euros)
Getting To Madagascar
Direct international flights from Europe to Tana depart from Paris. When you're flying with Air Madagascar from Paris you are entitled to a 50% discount on all flights within Madagascar. This might save you a considerable amount of money if you plan to make multiple domestic flights.
Another option is flying to Mauritius with Air Mauritius from London and then fly to Tana. When flying with Air Mauritius long haul you are entitled to a 25% discount to all Indian Ocean destinations, including Madagascar.
Keep in mind that when using multiple air lines to get to Madagascar, you'll get multiple tickets, which sometimes means your luggage can't be labeled through - you have to collect it in Paris and check it in again for your connecting next flight. You need at least 4 hours of time in between for this.
With Air France it's possible to buy a all-in-one ticket (for example Amsterdam - Tana) which prevents you from having to check in again.
Check the Air Madagascar website for the latest domestic flight schedules. Also keep an eye out for offers, like occasional discounts on the ticket price.