Sunday, August 7, 2022

How To Travel Around Madagascar

AfricaMadagascarHow To Travel Around Madagascar

Read next

By plane

Given the terrible condition of many roads, Air Madagascar services a number of locations across the country, making it a considerably quicker alternative than driving. Air Madagascar is known for abruptly altering flight schedules and canceling flights. In the event of a cancellation, the airline will supply you with a hotel and put you on the next available flight; however, avoid scheduling tight connections and confirm your departure schedule the night before.

Passengers arriving in Madagascar on a long-haul trip with Air Madagascar may receive a 25% discount on the company’s internal flights if they phone and ask for it while booking their domestic flights.

By train

As of 2014, it seems that there is no service linking Antananarivo with the rest of Madagascar. For more precise information, go to madarail.

In Madagascar, there are four rail lines:

  • Antananarivo-Ambatondrazaka – You may take the train from Moramanga to Ambatondrazaka via Moramanga.
  • Antananarivo-Antsirabe
  • Fianarantsoa-Manakara three times a week for both directions.
  • Antananarivo-Toamasina: usually twice a week, individuals may travel between Moramanga and Tomasina.

Breakdowns are common owing to inadequate maintenance on the Malagasy railway network, which dates from the colonial period, and a line may be stopped for many weeks.

The train is neither the quickest or most pleasant mode of transportation, but it allows you to take in the breathtaking scenery (particularly on the route between Fianarantsoa and Manakara) and sample the Malagasy fruits and cuisines available at each stop. Crayfish, bananas, cinnamon apples, sambos, zebu sausages, oranges… are all available in season at a low price.

Train travel is inexpensive (first class from Fianarantsoa to Manakara is MGA25,000, or less than €10). You want to pick a 1st class seat; or you want to wake up very early if you want to be sure of getting a 2nd class ticket since it is usually very busy (the train is the sole mode of transportation for many villages) and no reservations are available in 2nd class. Unfortunately, owing to poor track conditions, the train that travels between Manakara and Fianarantsoa has been less dependable recently (early 2007).

You may be able to board a freight train for short journeys. Simply ask the driver, but make sure you exit the train before entering any major cities, since this mode of transportation is not entirely allowed.

By car

The roads in Madagascar are nearly all of a very low slope (with the exception of 2 routes leading out of Tana). During the rainy season, many roads are clogged with potholes and become quagmires. Be aware that traveling by car will almost always take considerably longer than you anticipate. The cost of renting a 4WD vehicle will be greater, but it will still be extremely cost efficient if you are not traveling alone and can divide the rental price among your party members (at least USD70/day/car, revised October 2014). A vehicle rental almost always includes the cost of a driver and his lodging, but double-check before making your reservation; most businesses will not rent a car without a driver, and in many instances, the driver may also serve as your guide and interpreter.

By taxi-brousse

The majority of locals move throughout the nation in this manner. The RN7 from Tana to Toliara, the RN2 from Tana to Tomasina (via Brickaville), and the RN4 from Tana to Mahajanga are the three main modern highways in the nation. Going between those cities takes approximately a day, while traveling between Tana and Taolagnaro, a south-eastern coastal town, takes 3 or 4 days owing to road conditions. Expect a tight journey with no air conditioning. During the dry season, expect dust to be an issue. Traveling by Taxi-Brousse will challenge your patience and sanity, but there is probably no better way to meet and connect with the people and see Madagascar as the Malagasy do.

The cheapest mode of transportation is a taxi-brousse, but don’t expect to depart or arrive on time. Indeed, the drivers wait until their 15-seat tiny buses are completely filled before departing, so a delay of a few hours is never ruled out. However, it enables you to enjoy Madagascar’s beautiful scenery while on the journey. Most national parks and villages are accessible from “Antananarivo,” and vehicles will gladly drop you off on their way to their ultimate destination.

By bicycle

Madagascar is a fantastic location to cycle through, and stopping in tiny towns and villages along the route allows you to get a true feel of the country. Because the roads may be in bad to catastrophic condition, a mountain bike or heavy duty tourer is needed at the very least. The major North-South road on the East coast may become inaccessible during the wet season, perhaps resulting in a two-day trek – through soft sand in one stretch – this is not an easily rideable path. There is usually little to no traffic, which makes driving about a lot of fun. The locals are very welcoming, and you’ll be welcomed in every hamlet by groups of youngsters screaming ‘Vazaha.’

There are little or no amenities for bicycles, so be prepared to sleep in extremely modest guesthouses or camp rough (ask if it is someone’s property and never camp too close to a family cemetery). You will almost certainly be asked to stay at people’s homes. Bring a spare tire, a puncture kit, a chain, a brake/gear cable, a derailleur, and any necessary equipment.

How To Travel To Madagascar

Vaccination Prior to your travel, make sure you have all of your regular immunizations, including polio, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, MMR, and typhoid (check with your doctor). If you are traveling via a country where yellow fever is prevalent, you will be asked to provide evidence of yellow fever vaccine...

Visa & Passport Requirements for Madagascar

Upon arriving in Madagascar, visitors from a variety of countries may acquire a tourist visa. The cost of a visa on arrival for a stay of up to 60 days is 45 euros. It costs 60 euros for 90 days. You must provide a return ticket together with the...

Accommodation & Hotels in Madagascar

The quality of lodging varies significantly throughout the nation, from bug-infested beds in dorm rooms to five-star luxury resorts. The majority of establishments will offer hotel rates per room, but several premium resorts may quote pricing per person. Nearly all of the more expensive lodgings offer insect nets and...

Destinations in Madagascar

Regions in Madagascar Province of Antananarivo (Antananarivo, Antsirabe)Many tourists arrive at the capital, which serves as a hub for both domestic airline and land transportation routes. Tiny villages renowned for their artisan workshops, as well as small reserves with lemurs, may be found outside of the city. Province of Antsiranana (Antsiranana,...

Things To See in Madagascar

Tsingy de Bemaraha is Madagascar's biggest reserve and a UNESCO World Heritage Site (152,000 hectares). The intriguing elevated limestone plateau is adorned with the "Tsingy," also known as the Labyrinth of Stone, a fragile, chaotic, razor-sharp assemblage of pinnacles. Brown lemurs, a diversity of bird life, and the uncommon...

Things To Do in Madagascar

Most people visiting Madagascar do so for the wildlife, and there are a number of national parks and private reserves scattered throughout the country. Some are easier to reach than others - the dual Andasibe-Mantadia National Park area is just a few hours from the capital via a paved...

Food & Drinks in Madagascar

Food in Madagascar Eating in a "hotely" is the cheapest method to acquire a meal. A plate of rice, laoka (a side dish served with rice in Madagascar) such as chicken, beans, or pig, and rice water costs approximately MGA1300. A small glass of handmade yoghurt is available for an...

Money & Shopping in Madagascar

Currency The Malagasy ariary (MGA) is the local currency, which is split into 5 iraimbilanja and is one of only two non-decimal currencies in the world (the other is the Mauritanian ouguiya). €1 Equaled MGA3,327 in September 2014, and the exchange rate has been quite steady for a few years. Outside...

Language & Phrasebook in Madagascar

Malagasy, an Austronesian language, is spoken by everyone on the island. The term "Malagasy" also refers to the island's language and inhabitants. Because of the island's size, there are many dialects. The Merina dialect is the island's "Official Malagasy" and is spoken in the Antananarivo highlands. The majority of...

Traditions & Customs in Madagascar

Everyday life in Madagascar is governed by a variety of fady (taboos) that differ by area. They may prohibit certain foods (pork, lemurs, turtles, etc. ), the wearing of certain colors, and swimming in a river or lake. The practice of "Fady" is mainly confined to rural regions, since...

Culture Of Madagascar

Each of Madagascar's numerous ethnic sub-groups has its own set of beliefs, customs, and lifestyles that have historically contributed to their distinct identities. However, there are a number of cultural characteristics that are shared throughout the island, resulting in a strong Malagasy cultural identity. Traditional Malagasy values emphasize fihavanana...

History Of Madagascar

Early period Madagascar's settlement is a topic of continuing study and discussion. Cut markings on bones discovered in the northwest and stone tools discovered in the northeast suggest that foragers visited Madagascar about 2000 BC. Archaeologists have often assumed that the first inhabitants came in consecutive waves between 350 BC...

Stay Safe & Healthy in Madagascar

Stay Safe in Madagascar Madagascar is a relatively safe destination. You must, however, adhere to a few basic guidelines: In Antananarivo, don't go out late at night (other cities are pretty safe).Don't show off your riches (cameras, jewels, …).Similarly, have a modest amount of cash with you at all times. Paying...



South America


North America

Most Popular