How to travel around Madagascar

Located off the eastern coast of Africa This island, which is about as big France and the third largest of its kind in the entire world has a total population of more than 27 million, but receives less than 300,000 tourists per year. I spent two weeks in the country in conjunction with Intrepid Travel. I was awestruck by how low the number of tourists were and how difficult the country was to get across. It is so difficult to travel on roads that that it can take as long as eight hours to travel 250 kilometres. However, it soon became apparent the reason there was a lack of visitors: travelling to Madagascar is costly.

There’s a lack of information on it online as well as a few organised events, and there are only a handful of hotels, tourist information centres with helpful signage or anything that could be considered to be a “tourist infrastructure” (and sadly there isn’t much infrastructure whatsoever). The tourist industry in Madagascar is geared towards older Europeans who go to costly resorts on beaches or take guided tours and travel across Madagascar in a tiny bubble. There was not a single backpacker I encounter during my visit.

Breathtaking landscapes of Madagascar

Furthermore, it’s a nation that is ravaged by corruption, poverty as well as natural disasters. Travelers who don’t want to go off the main roads generally don’t make it in this country.

But Madagascar is a wild and stunning destination that has blown me in a variety of ways. It’s affordable once you’re there, and your money spent on tourism will have a positive effect and there aren’t many crowds , and plenty of cute creatures and breathtaking landscapes which you’ll be able to see for yourself!

Majority of young tourists

The organised tours are the most frequent option to travel around the country. A tour guide I spoke to said that around the majority of visitors go on guided tours, and the remaining 20% employ private drivers to take them around.

I’m convinced that the majority of young tourists stay away due to the fact that travelling to Madagascar or booking a trip is expensive. Additionally, there’s very little information for free on Madagascar.

Challenging destinations of Madagascar

Madagascar is a challenging destination to travel by yourself. There’s no tourist infrastructure, or hostels (which isn’t surprising considering how cheap guesthouses and hotels are) also, public busses aren’t going to the majority of cities or national parks. It is necessary to learn French also, since English isn’t widely spoken (even although English is the one of the official languages).

Its difficult to travel around with no assistance.

You could, however, travel by yourself? Sure! However, I believe you’ll require a seasoned traveller who is comfortable being pushed outside from your comfortable zone and absolutely not in a rush to get around within a budget takes the time.

Because the roads are terrible moving from point A to B can be difficult. If you’re in a taxi bus (small van that is packed to the gills of people) You’ll be moving slowly. Buses depart when they’re full. There is no timetable set. Sometimes they do show up, but most of the time, they do not.

But, considering the state of the buses and the number of people they can fit in them as well as the sheer number of road accidents I’m not certain I’d be able to get into one. I would not want to spend all day like a chicken inside an unconditioned van cooling (and often, no windows).

Flying around Madagascar

A car rental with a driver will cost you $75 USD per day (or just a little more when you choose four-wheel drive) It is the most sought-after choice for those looking to travel by themselves (and not looking to wait around for buses). Although you can drive yourself however, the majority of rental companies require a driver to accompany you.

There is also the option of flying around Madagascar, but the only airline available is Air Madagascar (Air Madagascar) and the majority of tickets are priced between $250 and $300 USD. If you’re on a tight budget it’s not feasible to fly. Additionally, flights are cancelled frequently without prior notice.