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Air-Madagascar or Air Mad (!) is our national air company. Just released a new website.
- Departures from and arrivals in Paris (CDG)
Reunion, Mauritius, Kenya, South Africa, Comores... Schedules in below website (you'll have to key in departure and arrival days, destinations and Schedule Search Engine) :
- As for prices, contact your local Air Mad rep.:
Though I prefer roadtrips to discover amazing landscapes (see my albums on Big South journey for instance), I give tips on internal flights as well
If you travel TO Madagascar with Air Madagascar, it may be interesting to include internal flights in your package rather than buy them separately in Madagascar. In fact, 50% off for internal flights for those who travel TO the country with our national company. Check with agencies for that.
From 29 March 2004: re-opening of Madagascar - Comoros Islands flights. From 2 April 2004: opening of direct liaison between Tolagnaro (: Fort-Dauphin) and Saint-Denis (La Réunion).
June 2004: Direct flights Antananarivo - Milan & Antananrivo - Bangkok would be launched (as of April 2004).
We booked air France to get to Antananarivo , the capital city- from Paris. Now the price is something that bothers a lot of people. It IS expensive. But I like to give you some tips how we booked our ticket much cheaper. The airplane was full , so I wouldn't count on last minute options. I booked well in advance - with travelocity and had the ticket send out to us.
-we got a good insurance already , so no need to take one extra from the site.
-make sure if you do that , you got a good annulation insurance too - you can take that separate , if you travel frequently , take if for the whole year? If you got a gold card - credit card - that annulation insurence might be in it.
There are some disadvantages on booking NOT on the air France site.
We had to leave from Brussels , and the flight was just after ten in the morning.
You can make it to the plane , if you take the fast train Thalyss , but only with the special help of the Air France memers. You pay hard cash for that , and they don't want to deliver the service if you booked train and flight seperately. (I think that is a shame , we are all custumors right). So we booked ouselves a night near the airport. ( a more relaxing way to leave)
Air France has modern aircrafts. The staf is friendly and professional. They got individual screens for computergames , movies , news , video , radio...that was good. When we left from France , it was the best aircraft food we've had so far. Coming from Madagascar...that was something different. Yakkes. It is a night flight , and they serve breakfast (awful) just before landing. (I didn't liked that).
Oh , and the flight wasn't on time when we left. But in Madagascar we flew 4 times and none of them was on time.
Taxi Brusse prices are writen on a blackboard in the small wood counters. don't let them grabb your stuff and pull you into the taxi . always pay after you've seen the real price!
put in mind that usually for a 1 hours drive you pay 5,000FMG=1000Ar but that price changes in the south.
Forget your manners if you are pushed or your bags are put on the car before you pay yell and say what ever you like. tourists shouldn't be treated like that.
General Tipsfor comfort
The seats in the taxi be are usually 18 except from moronadava to antsirabe-14 .you can come one day early and buy the ticket(recommended for taxis that don't go each day or several times a day) .
Another NICE idea is to request the seats up front i.o.w. the seats near the driver it's possible to get them but sometimes you'll have to wait for an hour/hour an a half it's a very good idea for bad road or long trips and it's nice for your camera photos too!
you can buy another seat ,BUT it will be weird for the locals that sits all crowded around you and also you might not get what you payed!
a french family bought 4 tickets for them and thier children that is one bench and they got 2 little children on the bench infront of them so they didn't get the 4 places for themselves.
The highest price you should pay inside cities
is 20000FMG (they will say 25 but don't give up this is the local price) in the street nobodys talks ARiary so don't do it either!
This is the price for a taxi inside the biger cities(i.e. antsirabe finarantsoa antanarivo) and for a large distance .in smaller cities 12000FMG should usually be more than enough and you really shouldn't get to the big city limit 20000FMG.
I find the small cities taxi drivers fair . maybe the big cities just see you as a wallet and knows you have a lot of 10000Ar bills so why not say this is the price?!
As always in MG keep alot of small change cause they don't and they wont do a BIG effort to give you the change.
The highest price I ever payed was from the Airport of morondava(7000 Ariary=35000 FMG) to the city I shared it offcourse so payed only 10000FMG they say this is the standart price ... imo this is a bit to high.
The usuall price of the Taxi from the Ivato national airport to the city is 100,000FMG which is too high for 17KM it should be 75000
anyhow if you decide not to go to the nearest Ivato,Taxi Be "station" to Tana and then a taxi/Taxi Be to your destination ,do your self a favor and find someone and share this is to high a price to pay alone!
By Taxi Brousse you can come pretty much everywhere in Madagascar. Taxi brousse go from Tana to all other big towns around Madagascar. It is a cheap way of going from one place to another.For example, a Taxi Brousse ride from Tana to Tulear cost you around 140.000 fmg. ( around 12 euros). You cqn hire private vehicles for such trips but they are very expensive.
The main means of transportation in madagascar is the taxi-brousse. Pretty comfortable, if you are lucky and get a good seat in a not too cramped car, hell if you have bad luck.
Do not attempt to drive yourself in madagascar. Traffic is kind of relaxed, in the sense that you will not catch any drivers speeding, but remember, that is for a reason. Roads are in a very bad shape most of the time, with potholes several metres wide and deep not being exceptional.....
The train trip from fianantsaroa to manakara was something special. The only remaining train in use at the time, we were warned about the state of the train. Not enough though. Normally, a good rule of thumb whenever you see something worrying is that as long as the locals do not worry, neither should you.
When the locals do start to worry, though, it is time for genuine concerns. Such was the case when our train carriage, soon after taking off, began to show cracks in the floor. Soon cracks became ravines....Visiting the toilet now entailed jumping over a metre wide hole in the floor of the train. Things started to get even worse when we encountered a stranded goods-train. The driver of our train decided to pull the other train as well. Definitely too much for our carriage....We did make it eventually (with only a 12 hour delay)...I am not sure whether this was the last trip the train ever made or not though....
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.
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!
Now you're probably thinking what is a pack of Tuc doing here. I hope you are familiar with these renowned salty biscuits. If not, fly with Air Mad and you'll know because you get a whole pack on each internal flight, together with a big bottle of soda pop.
At first it was strange, then it became hilarious as we discovered you do get them on every flight. And then we were actually looking forward to it. I'll never eat Tuc again without thinking about those scary little Air Mad planes which turned out to be flown and landed in the most secure and stable way!
Rather hire a chauffeur to move around cities, especially in Tana... as traffic jam and ignorance of circulation code would turn you mad :-)
As for traffic jams, an exemple: In the 80es, it took me 45 minutes to join urban area from our place in North Tana. Nowadays, it takes my Dad 1.30 min - 2 hours to do so...
Alternative: Rather hire a chauffeur to move around cities.. and choose a hotel located in urban area.
For long trips, you can experience driving by yourself (with the help of maybe a chauffeur to alternate). One thing however: if you intend to only visit nature reserves and national parks, hire a driver to lead you there.. and hire ANGAP guide while entering parks and reserves. It would cost you less and money would go to those guys who know about animals, plants, hidden places and best moments to find them
One thing interesting in long trips is that they enable you to drive while escaping from crowded urban cities like Tana and, why not, drive in empty roads. Thus, a chauffeur is not always needed for your long trips, guiding is mandatory. First, without a guide, you would miss hidden gems. Second, he would serve as translator if needed. Third, he would know about how to preserve safety....
Beware of fake guides though!! => See my tourist traps tip
One thing however: if you intend to only visit nature reserves and national parks, hire a driver to lead you there.. and hire ANGAP guide while entering parks and reserves. It would cost you less and money would go to those guys who know about animals, plants, hidden places and best moments to find them
Tip also applies to motorcycle and other outdoor activities.
Bear in mind that in winter, (June- September), sun sets at 5.30 pm. That means that you'd better calculate your timing for visiting specific isolated and remote areas. In addition, as directions in Madagascar roads are always missing and in case you travel without a guide, better head to a hotel in the nearby and make an early leaving the day after.
Off course, the tip also applies for picture taking. No light at 5.30 pm
- from May to October, sun rises at 5.00 am and sets at 7.00 pm,
- from June to September, rises at 7.30 am and sets at 5.00pm.
Try the charm of ricksaw transportation in cities such as Antsirabe, Toamasina and Mahajanga and Toliara. Though tourists may feel not at their ease on those ricksaws, think of Tana ricksaw pullers have even harder work. Indeed, Tana ricksaws don't carry humans, they cary heavy lumbers, iron rods...
"Pousse pousse" means "Push push", though it rather means "Pull pull" :-)
Above all, they are part of lucky ones who have a job... So, do not hesitate, use this tip, especially in hot areas such as Mahajanga. It would save you energy as walking is sometimes harsh there, esp. at noons and early afternoons.
Bargaining is a rule in Madagascar BUT since pousse-pousse tariffs are really low, there is no point in bargaining. Those guys only have this as a job.
A plus for pousse-pousse pullers, they know their cities by heart and may show you hidden jewels as well. Isn'it nice? A win-win deal, indeed.
But this is a more local way of getting around: taxi brousse... twelve of us (10 in the back) + 2 in front + driver and all our luggage on top. If you're travelling with taxi brousse, just count on it that a 25 km. drive will take you about 3 hours due to the bad roads (sand and dirt roads).
But it is an adventure in itself!
Sainte Marie (Nosy Boraha) is only a small island but it took us 2 hrs to get from the airport to the hotel.
We drove 23 km. north from Tuléar (in the south) and that took us 3 1/2 hrs. Because the taxi broke down about 5 times during the trip!
Résidence Lapasoa Isoraka BP 3650 Antananarivo Tél :22 611 40. 180.000 FMG Beautiful colonial...more
Le Royal Pallisandre is a very good quality hotel in the heart of the city. The rooms and public...more
Lot 66 B Antanetibe Ivato, Antananarivo, 105, Madagascar
Good for: Solo
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