Madagascar - What you need to know.
Having just returned from our second visit to this incredible country Madagascar. We were surprised how both trips have turned out to have been widely different experiences.
Some of the factors that contributed to our different experiences;
One of the key things you need to organise before arriving is anti-malarial tablets. On the first trip we went through the traditional method of going via the local doctor’s surgery. This we found to be quite ardours with an having to make an appointment at least 12 weeks before travel and the unexpected fee of £10 per private prescription on top of the cost of the tablets at the local pharmacy. Not cheap! But a must!
This time round we decided to go via Boots chemists. The times available for appointments were not that flexible and only available at certain times if and when the appointed pharmacists were available. In the end we discovered that you can go online and pre-order the amount of anti-malarial tablets required. Going through this process is great if you know which type of Anti-Malaria Tablet is good for the area you are traveling to. Once you have clicked to purchase you need to complete the details of your registered GP. The other bonus is you can collect boots advantage points! Within a few days we got an email confirmation the order was ready to collect and the advantage points were added at the time of collection.
From the UK, most travel via Paris with Air France arriving in the evening and then also departing in the evening. The airport was a scene of organised chaos with baggage handlers ever so eager to get your bags and for a tidy sum not only to take your bag but also assist you with currency exchange and help with taxis. If you are nobbled it will cost you. Departing is not much better!
The most recent visit arriving with Air Mauritius was a much nicer experience. Arriving during the day and departing late afternoon. It was much quieter in the terminal building with not so much chaos. There are drawbacks one being that there was no representatives available from Air Mauritius for example, if you would like to upgrade or change your ticket. Other than that the check- in was quick and the representative was very helpful and pleasant. We would happily fly with Air Mauritius again.
All internal flights are operated by Air Madagascar. They have been known to delay and even cancel flights at the last moment. Please keep this in mind when booking your international flight home.
As with most travel destinations you have to be vigilant. This is ever so apparent in Antananarivo (Tana) the capital of Madagascar. In the crowds, on our last visit, we were kindly stopped and advised to carry our small backpack on our front, as the gentleman’s had been tampered with and items stolen. We were extra vigilant having already heard stories of muggings on our first trip and not carrying anything of value.
Please don’t let these stories put you off. There are some lovely restaurants etc to visit in Tana and outside in the country it is such a different place altogether.
It is highly recommend to travel with an organised tour! The guides are very knowledgeable and will let you know where it is safe to walk and take photographs.
We travelled with Go Travel Madagascar.
An important part of the holiday is food and drink and with some travel destinations such as Madagascar it pays to eat well. Only drink bottled water from bottles that are still securely sealed. As a precaution I would advise against ice in drinks. Salad can be another danger as could have been washed in local water.
There are some lovely restaurants and hotels that cater for tourists. Some that we have visited and thoroughly enjoyed include Café de la Gare and Le Carre.
I would love to read and answer your questions or comments. Happy Travels! x