Madagascar is the perfect destination for the adventurous traveller and those who want to get away from mass tourism – but travelling around the 4th biggest island in the world will require a lot of time, and will push your patience to breaking point.
But if you’ve got time and patience, you will be rewarded with one of the most biodiverse destinations in the world.Madagascar is home to thousands of species of flora and fauna of which almost 90% cannot be found anywhere else in the world, including the famous lemurs which are only found in Madagascar.Madagascar is also home to some of the best and most underrated beaches in the world together with some breathtaking nature and scenery, making Madagascar a perfect travel destination.
For those seeking an off-the-beaten-track destination like no other, Madagascar is the perfect place to go. It is the fourth largest island in the world, and was torn away from the African and Indian landmasses millions of years ago after an earthquake that set it adrift. The result is a truly unique island, considered by some to be the most bio-diverse place on earth.
Safe transport in Madagascar
Be cautious when traveling in bush taxis (taxi-brousse), and try to only use reputable companies, as some drivers are reckless on the roads. There is also a risk of the drivers robbing passengers.
Driving in Madagascar
If you are driving a rented vehicle, be aware reports of carjackings have increased. Most carjacking crimes occur at night, so do your best to drive during daytime.
The road conditions in Madagascar vary, from good to extremely poor depending on where you are. Many of the roads that lead out of Antananarivo, although not necessarily in bad shape, are very crowded and are steep with a lot of sharp bends. If you are unfamiliar with the area, this can be hazardous. During the rainy season (typically December to April), many of the secondary roads throughout the country become impassable, and bridges often wash away. Use extreme caution if you are driving during this season.
River ferries are available although service may be somewhat irregular due to frequent changes in routes. Be particularly cautious when operating or riding on sailing vessels as the Gulf of Aden, the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean all carry significant risk of piracy. You are advised to avoid any sea travel further than 12 nautical miles from shore. Always check with the local authorities prior to setting off to determine whether your chosen route is safe and passable.
In April 2011 the European Commission imposed flight restrictions on two of Air Madagascar’s aircraft due to safety concerns – despite Air Madagascar having no fatal accidents since 1981. The same can’t be said of larger European airlines such as Air France, which, despite crashes are not placed on the EU blacklist.
The Mozambique government has criticised the move, it says its own national airline and Air Madagascar are among 14 African airlines on an EU blacklist, which they claim gives major European airlines a competitive advantage. In 2016 Air Madagascar was taken off the blacklist, and flies to 14 cities around Madagascar and 13 foreign destinations.
Madagascar is home to some 70 different types of lemurs, so you’ll certainly see a few during your stay.
If you spend time at the Berenty Reserve, know that the Ring Tailed Lemurs of that area have grown quite accustomed to tourists and the goodies they often bring with them. These smart little buggers have figured out that every day around 3:30pm many people take siestas, which provides the perfect opportunity to sneak into rooms and steal whatever they can get their little mitts on.
Make sure to always keep the windows to your room closed or you may find a bunch of your things missing at the hands of these cute but cunning little bandits