Updated24/02/2013> New Fare is MGA 14,000.00
There is regular Shuttle Van to and from the Antananarivo Airport at Ivato (TNR) serving the route from Airport to Isoraka/Analakely picking and dropping off from any hotels.
This is the cheapest way to and from airport for single travelers, ample space for luggage and 22 seats. Best Place to get it for going to Airport is at Glacier Hotel Analakely (the van will keep circle around for 30-45 minutes at various hotels in the area and depart when next shuttle arrives and will take further 30-45 minutes to get to the airprot.
The fare is Ar 10,000 and collected by the driver who will issue a ticket for that. Not suitable for 2 or 3 persons as you can get the Taxi for Ar 30,000 from Airport
At the Airport the pickup point is right in front of exit gate International Arrival. Service begin at 5.00 AM till 8.00 PM frequency every 30~45 minutes.
For going to airport, call 034 05 565 49 and they will arrange pick at your given time (plus/minus 10 minutes) and place.
The most affordable way of inter cities travel in Madagascar is The Taxi Brousse.
It comes in many kind of Vehicles, mostly 15 seat Mazada Vans (There are few big buses as well) The Coverage is Nation wide.
I traveled to Toamasina (Tamatave) and it was 8 hours drive with 1 meal stop at Moramanga (a few more to pick and drop passengers on the way) and cost me Ar 15,000 there are frequent departures in the morning, no fixed departure time they go when the vehicle is full (maximum 15 persons and the most comfortable seat is just behind the driver (#3) Luggag storage is on the roof and well covered.
There are Big Buses (called BOEING) Tana Tamatave Tana Route, More Comfortable the the Van, departure in the evening only at 6.00 PM Arriving Early Morning Next Day. Best Companies are Transport VATSI, Kofi Manga and Transport Co, The Price is 15,000 to 16,000 MGA (for Double Decker) the luggage is stored undercarriage for free of charge.
Getting to the Taxi Brousse station at Ambodivona from CBD will cost Ar 4,000 ~ 5,000 (they will ask for 10,000) in normal traffic it is less then 15 minutes drive.
There are Transport Companies which can pick you up from your hotel and drop off at hotel on reaching destination, the price for Toamasina by Madasmiles (Miss. Nani
+261 34 13 51 553 or google the name to find the website and departure schedule) is Ar 35,000 a bit high but convinient to book by e.mail or sms without the hassle being at the station and negotiating / finding earliest departure, their vehicle is newer Mercedez Vans and more comfortable.
Avoid the Taxi booking counter inside the arrival hall they have fixed fares Ar 40,000, walk out to the parking lot and get the taxi from there for Ar 20,000 ~25,000 to anywhere in Central Tana there will be many taxis standing (beige color with TAXI sign on the roof)
These human-powered carts almost seemed inhumane to me. The "drivers" should be entered into the Olympics, as I am sure if you took away the huge cart and my big ass, they would run a 3-minute mile. And, they do it all for an amazingly small sum. You are supposed to bargain with the price, but I didn't hold out very long. Nor should you.
These are more useful in the smaller towns in the other parts of the country. In Tana, getting from the center to the market and around the outskirts can take a long time in one of these, but they are perfectly fine if you are not in hurry.
The taxis in Madagascar are definitely the coolest thing going around. The look like they were lifted straight from London in the 1940's. They also look like they haven't been serviced since then. There are no creature comforts riding in one of these, and the noise they admit means no conversation will happen smoothly, but it is definitely a part of the overall experience. Plus, how else are you going to get up that hill when you are tired?
If you remember my tried trusted rule “All Taxi Drivers are Thieves” you will do ok here. The local taxis at the airport wanted to charge me $20 to go less than a kilometre to my hotel when I first arrived. I walked! Then they wanted $25 to go the 25 kilometres to the airport form the centre of the city. I paid $10 after hard hard negotiations. Just assume that the real price is 50-60% of what they first tell you and you will be paying the correct fair. You can’t miss the taxis here – they are all cream coloured whether they say ‘Taxi’ on them or not. Don’t expect air conditioning.
As in any big city, traffic was often horrendous. No traffic lights but there was reasonably orderly driving. However, when a traffic officer was regulating traffic, that was always cause for more traffic jams!
It is possible to obtain a visa for Madagascar on arrival in Antananarivo. When you enter the building, having disembarked and walked across the tarmac, look for the booth on the right hand side where they will issue you with some stamps in your passport, and charge you about 18 euros. Hand your passport in at the first window and get it back at the second window. Then join the queue for 'without visa'. There are about 6 officials who will then pass your passport between them, stamp it and sign it. Watch your passport's progress then pick it up from the person sat at the end. Don't take your eyes off it!
An exellent way of getting around Antananarivo is by Taxi-be. This is basically a "taxi" van driving pre determined routes. You could almost say it is the same principle a european bus line. You pay a fixed priced (1000 FMG) no matter where you hop on or off. It is also a good way to mix with the locals, it can be literally "packed" though. I have never been with so many people in a mini van that's for sure.
It might be better to grap a normal taxi at some times. Taxi-be's only drive to about 19:30 and in the last hour of it's service everyone tries to get home so it is usually very busy then. Connections are not always very good to some parts in town and it is not very convinient to take a taxi-be with a large pack.
Although I would think of travelling by bus (minivans, coaches) around the island (whenever weather and roads permit, that is), using busses in Tana is unthinkable for me. To be honest, I used it once in my life. Not ready to renew my experience: back in the 80s, i was crammed in the crowd, almost suffocating.
March 2005: I was waiting for my Mum in our car, watching people when I suddenly realized I could not figure out how to catch a bus in Tana. In less than a-30-min wait, I noticed there should have been 7 bus companies passing by. I saw yellow, light blue, dark blue, green, red, white+blue, all white, white+whatever, green-yellow busses, all belonging to different bus companies (not talking about lines, really talking about companies).
Well, those who are used to this Tana bus network know.. but poor me who am used to private cars, if not by foot and, at very less extent, to taxis, it's a no-no.
Now, what about you, I am ashamed to say I cannot even give any tip on where to find bus companies schedules. Though I saw some Europeans waiting for their bus in the morning, they were residents, not tourists :-)
One positive thing though: following past governments' lack of initiative to regulate public transportation, private companies have successfully filled in the gap, serving the population. Once again, it's all the private that could solve problems. And I tell you, those busses are always full... In the past, they were rarer but too packed, overloaded with drivers assistant and sometimes passengers (!) hanging from outside. Nowadays, authorities are regulating conditions (bus drivers and assistants have to wear uniforms, overloading is forbidden... ). It is a reform that locals have welcomed. That's Madagascar, thriving in efforts.
Well, something had to be done given the fact that public transportation makes half the bulk of traffic in Tana. I neatly noticed their importance after the taxi colour has been harmonized and that you could easily distinguish the different bus companies in the traffic jam.
Taxi is a common transportation means in Tana area. The city abunds in taxi of all kinds. They would stop everywhere you want, sometimes, causing confusing situations towards other drivers. A kind of adventure that even locals experience here and there. They are, too often, old cars from the 70s, French brands, most of the time.
Though those brands are no longer released and that they were fashionable some 20-30 years ago, enjoy in Madagascar the ride of those oldies of your youth... Well, what I am talking about is appealing to the only French VTers and those who know those cars...
And don't overlook the longlasting "Deuch"... though the fleet is becoming more and more modern.
[Update on March 31 2004: There are changes coming. Government decided to regulate taxi exploitation in Antananarivo urban area (for safety and tax reasons, I guess). From now on, official and registered taxis are of beige colour. If it's not beige, it is likely to be a clandestine taxi. I would avoid clandestine taxis for them being, sometimes, tools for hijackers to harass and kidnap people. I would say that, so far, ONLY registered taxis, in beige, are reliable. Skip the others !
Also, stopping everywhere has been always forbidden but authorities seem to have enforced the rules. So, watch out !]
Cc taxi: the official ones have to be beige and bear this signal. Some may still have a red plastic plaque on them but they are smoothly harmonizing into a white plaque with black types that say:
Last tip: don't wait for pousse-pousse in Tana, they are only for carrying (pulling) goods and commodities (woodlumbers, iron, coal...)
While preparing your internal trip(s) to see other parts of the island, I find it interesting to have road trips rather than fly.
Enjoy ever changing landscapes (from highlands to plains and coasts, from forest to arid desert areas ). Be informed of the type of road you/ the driver will drive on as sometimes, a 4*4 is needed.
The island offers this possibility for motorbikers to escape from crowded Tana to empty areas. My warning though, don't travel as a sole biker, rather travel with a guide and other bikers. This applies for safety reasons: accident, sickness but local highwaymen as well. Efforts are made by authorities to tackle highwaymen problem but regions are too large to be entirely covered. If I am not wrong, even 4*4 often travel as part of a caravan.
As for taxi-brousse, they are quite secured as many passengers are in the car and they often travel in caravaning (3-4 cars of this type leave Tana together for same destination). I am used to private comfortable cars for both TO and AROUND Tana and other cities.
Still, I had once the chance to travel with taxi-brousse. 8 hours socializing, leaning on the shoulders of a guy I didn't even know. My neighbour saw I was tired so he said "You can lean on my shoulders if you are tired" and I did. Hmm... I was 14 at that time. I am pretty sure I would recognize this nice person if I see him now. I have to admit that trip like this was part of an adventure and I kind of appreciated it.
Getting around Antananarivo is quite difficult by foot... so as by public transportation (overloaded buses). Instead, rent a car with a driver and a guide. Do not even think of driving by yourself otherwise you are getting mad with traffic jam and people (both pedestrians and drivers) who don't usually respect circulation code.
Alongside with International rental services (Hertz, Avis..), local companies, travel agencies provide same services as well (at lower price most of time).
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