Hi all, I’m thinking of planning a trip to Madagascar. Not sure about what the itinerary is at the moment but wanted to see what the best way to get around is. Is it worth getting my own transport or are there good alternative options with buses/local transport etc?
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Most locals in Madagascar travel by taxi-brousse (shared jeep/car) – they are a really affordable way to get around and to make some Malagasy friends. However… they are also notoriously slow and somewhat uncomfortable. The island is enormous so you may well want to consider hiring a driver or taking domestic flights with Air Madagascar to make the most out of your trip. The rail system is very scant too ie pretty much non-existent. Hiring a car is also a possibility if you’re up for the challenge of fording rivers and negotiating seriously unkempt roads.
Have a fantastic trip – it really is a very special country that rewards the adventurous.
Not sure if you are gone or not yet but what Alison says above is right about the taxi brousse. They go everywhere but are very slow. They are also very cheap but unless you have buckets of time you probably need to use them scantly. There are no long haul bus companies.
Hiring a car is another options but many places wont let you have a car unless you hire a driver. The roads in general are very bad but from Tana to Tolieara the RN7 is very good and it is popular to rent a car and driver and do this route including several national parks (Ranamofana, Isalo, Anja) in 6-8days. It may sound a little fancy but it is the done thing on this route. It is about 1000km one way. One place that I would recommend is Diego Suarez up north. Diego has a huge bay with beaches, islands etc. There are also 3 national parks very close, 2 hrs by taxi brousse that are well worth going to. Amber mountain and Ankarana are brilliant parks and Tsingy rouge is good for a look. Ankarana has the same tsingys as Bemaraha but they are much more accessible and cover a much larger area. Most likely you will need to fly to get to Diego but this shouldn’t be too expensive.
Nearly all National parks in Madagascar have lemurs, chameleons etc, the type may differ but you shouldn’t miss out on them if you visit a few different ones.
I put up what I found good from my experience of Madagascar on my website which may help you. Includes details, costs, maps which may give you some new ideas.
I hope this helps