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You can have it all, and more. Madagascar is an almost forgotten tourist destination. One that will challenge you, and charm you at the same time.
Madagascar’s capital city and home to its main airport, Ivato Airport, is like so many other African cities. You are greeted by over-eager chaps to provide transport and show you the way, but don’t let that put you off. I recommend you pre-book your airport transfer either through the hotel, or a reputable service provider.
I’ll give some links at the end of the article to service providers that will make your trip smooth-sailing.
There is not much to do in the city which is crowded with stray dogs, child, and adult beggars, and people trying to scam something. Don’t fall for any of the scams and don’t exchange money on the street. Again, make use of reputable service providers recommended by your hotel.
The hotel is about 33 min (18.6 km) via Rue Ravoninahitriniarivo from Ivato Airport. It has a nice view of the lake and is by far great value for your money. Which reminds me, hotel accommodation can be pretty expensive. Conversely, if you go for something cheaper you may not be as comfortable, safe, and secure.
Two to three nights should be enough time to see the city’s highlights.
That brings me to personal safety and security. It is not a good idea to walk around in the streets without a professional French-speaking tour guide. You don’t want to be the target of gangsters and so on. Madagascar’s crime level is not the highest in Africa, but it sure is still a concerning factor for tourists.
Public transport is a challenge in terms of being squashed with other passengers and the reliability thereof.
If you are into wildlife and nature, I recommend a 14-day tour which is more inland based. Some of the sights that are worth seeing are Andasibe-Mantadia National Park, Antsirabe, Ranomafana National Park, Ambalavao, Ranohira, Isalo National Park, Ifaty, and Toliara.
The animal life is unique to the area and an unforgettable experience.
If you can cope with:
…then this is for you!
This is by far my favorite because there are not so many stops and it’s the ultimate in relaxation. It is a very popular destination for Christmas and New Year seasons, so best you book well in advance.