Travelling with young children in Madagascar is hard work. Journeys are long and unpredictable, it can be very hot and uncomfortable and there’s often a lot of waiting around. Persuading little ones to take malaria pills can be very hard: be sure to cover them carefully with a DEET-based mosquito repellent early each evening and ensure they sleep under secure nets. Every morning, smother them in factor 40 sunscreen, insist they wear hats, and make sure they get plenty of fluids.

Despite the difficulties, French and Italian families flock to the Nosy Be resorts using charter flights (admittedly, few of them are doing much real travelling on the island) and expatriate families manage perfectly well in Tana and other towns. Almost anything that you might need is obtainable, if not always widely available, but you’d still do best to take all your own essentials. You’ll need to take car seats, too (which should go free on the plane, and can also serve as dining thrones when high chairs are unavailable).

The rewards are great, with safe, engaging and approachable wildlife, wonderful beaches and an instinctively child-friendly host population. While taxi brousse travel isn’t really practical with children (you don’t have sufficient control to ensure they’ll be happy or safe), it is possible to work out an itinerary that isn’t too ambitious using either a tour operator or independently booking a vehicle and driver. If you spend some time touring, on the RN7 for example, you might also consider staying in one of the top-end beach-and-rainforest lodges as a relaxing special treat at the end – such as Anjajavy (great for little ones) or Manafiafy (wonderful for teens).

Essentials

Everything you need to know before you set off.

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