Road trip by 4*4, taxi-brousse
Thay are my favourite transportation means to go to a city to another since they allow you to see landscapes. Besides, travelling by taxi-brousse with other passengers is a good way to know about Malagasy people since this transportation means is used by Malagasy of all kinds.
Book seats within taxi-brousse companies or associations in Tana city. Be careful to book in advance since this is a really sought-after means (cheaper, adventure). Taxi-brousses are often cars like a sedan with 8-9 seats or vans.
OR, rent a sedan car with a chauffeur-guide who will show you around cities. This was our choice to travel from Center to South of Madagascar.
In Tana, book your seats at taxi-brousses station in Ampasapito. This station is dealing with roadtrips to Centre cities such as Mantasoa, Manjakandriana... I think departures would be there as well.
For trips to the South, book your seats at taxi-brousses station in Anosibe. This station is dealing with roadtrips to Southern parts (Antsirabe, Fianarantsoa, Toliara, Taolagnaro, Morondava..). I think departures would be there as well.
Antananarivo-Antsirabe: 170 km.
Fare (on Feb 2006): 5000 Ariary for a leg of Tana-Antsirabe (2.5 euro or a bit less, quite the same amount in USD). Know however that this fare uses to treble during Xmas-NY season... to the detriment of passengers !! This has reportedly been so for 20 years !!Related to:
- Road Trip
Ghost cars, ox carts while taking a bend...
Pay attention to phantom cars, ox carts while taking a bend...
I know, landscape is fascinating, national roads in Highlands are often superb & wll-kept but curvy. Even in daylights, other "drivers" may surprise you. Be it ghost cars or ox carts.
Don't drive so fast, especially when taking bends since truck drivers are sometimes sleeping (yes!). Since, for many years, national railway company couldn't cope with the demand of transportation, truck drivers used to deal with high activity to convey goods, raw materials from many ports to industrial areas of Tana and Antsirabe (& vice-versa). The business is highly competitve so each truck driver has to be better than the others, to be quick in delivering. Hence, you may find some asleep in their trucks, tackling upslopes... They don't sound their horns. And while driving at night, some just forget to put on lights. That may create problems since Tana-Toamasina, for instance, is so curvy. OK, now, don't put words in my mouth: I did NOT mean that ALL truck drivers sleep while driving... but one just has to be aware of something. Btw, the railway company is just being reshuffled and re-opened bit by bit some liaisons.
Well, as for carts, you just have to know that they are driven in same roads as yours. Also, whenever you pass an oncoming ox cart, check whether there is not another one or some few ones following. Esp. on National roads, they use to caravaning.Related to:
- Road Trip
For road trips, extra fuel and bottles of water
While touring in Madagascar, bring extra fuel supply (in jerry cans) as you would sometimes travel in desert areas with noone around (neither oil station).
While having a stop over villages, fill up as you can... or be sure your chauffeur thinks of it... Sounds weird but you would see, sometimes, cars (esp. taxi-brousse and taxi-be) that are hanging around on roadsides, waiting for fuel to come from another convoy of taxi-brousses. Well, it would be nice to rest or walk a bit, take pictures but what if it's dark and isolated? Scarry, he...
So as for bottled (and sealed) water, only one you can afford to drink BTW. Same tip applies for extra tyres.
++Update Jan 2004: Notwithstand with all of that, taxi-brousses and railtripping are nice and cheaper alternatives to internal flights. I had some reserve regarding trains in Madagascar but recent developments made me optimisitc. The rail company has nearly collapsed in the 90s. Now, lines are being rebuilt and some are functionning again. Click here to read my insight of taxi-brousses and train rides. For sure, you will have to plan internal trips when visting this big country.
Plus, there are some nice railtrips to be done in Madagascar. Fianarantsoa-Cote Est (FCE) is one of them. The low speed (20-35km/hour) allows you to appreciate the landscape, from thick forests to bamboo forests and ricefields. A real turning off!++Related to:
- Road Trip
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