Antananarivo

Old Dec 7, 18, 12:03 pm
  #1  
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Antananarivo

Hi!

Planning a journey as pax to Madagascar. Wondering if anyone has any sneaky hints or things to look out for? Planning to fly to Ivato (TNR) from MAN with AF or Turkish.

Thanks!
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Old Dec 11, 18, 4:17 am
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Don't let any of the hanger-on-er's so much as lay a finger on your luggage. They all want to assist, and then claim some cash for doing so. Chances are you will not land with any local money (Ariary) so, after "helping" you with your luggage, they will follow you to the money-changer as you get local money, but you won't have small change, and you surely don't want to give each of them $2 for "touching" your luggage (as they won't split the money between themselves). Just make it clear that you don't want their help.

Other than that, Antananarivo may disappoint you at first. Once you get into the countryside you will enjoy it, and you may enjoy Antananarivo eventually, but bear in mind safety/security issues in Antananarivo particularly (but also in Tamatave/Toamasina if you happen to go there), and in any city at night.

Also, remember, this is Africa (though not as extreme as other African countries). Punctuality is optional. Likewise with reliability. You will find out if you want to take the train anywhere. The train from Tamatave to Moramanga is a better experience than the Fianarantsoa-Manakara train (despite the latter having "first class" - what a first class it was, after the 2nd stop it was chockers, the lady opposite us had some live animal in her bag/basket, and after the 3rd station we had a derailment, necessitating a 9km walk toward the Lac Hotel at Sahambavy before being picked up in a 4WD which couldn't possibly fit any more people in it.

The roads are slow, have potholes, don't even think of doing more than 300km in a day, preferably no more than 200.

Other than that - enjoy.
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Old Dec 11, 18, 4:18 am
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Also, when departing, all the shops in the terminal, after immigration, only accept Euro/hard currency. So, most travellers exchange all their Ariary back to hard currency before immigration. That sounds fine...until you decide you want to go to the toilet, and there's an attendant sitting there collecting payment. Sorry, I'm not going to pay 1 Euro to use the toilet.....I waited until I was on the plane.
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Old Dec 11, 18, 7:37 pm
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I spent over a month in Madagascar. Still probably my favorite place I've been to. So many otherworldly landscapes and you just feel like you've gone back in time. Definitely recommend renting a car with a driver (this is teh standard practice). Defiintely visit the Western parks where Tsingy and the Baobabs are and for beaches, you can't go wrong with Ile Sainte Marie or the NOsy Be area. The food is also deceptively good so make sure to try the local food. Here's a good write up on it!
https://johnnyafrica.com/madagascar-travel-guide/
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Old Dec 12, 18, 6:22 pm
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I agree about getting a car with driver.
Re the food, yes, food can be very good and cheap. Make sure you tip the staff as it really is cheap and they don't earn much, yet the service is often very good. However, meat tends to be under cooked, so if you don't like it that way, make sure you ask for it to be well done.
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Old Dec 16, 18, 2:46 am
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Bring face masks if in the capital

the air pollution was extreme and on the way in we had asked our driver to stop at a mall for something else but I went to get a package of face masks. They were a godsend to navigate through the city traffic for the subsequent days we were there - the mix of dust, gas from poorly maintained vehicles and burning of stuff for fertilizer for the crops was just not something I felt comfortable breathing in during slow crawling traffic jams.
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Old Dec 17, 18, 3:38 am
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Air pollution extreme? In Madagascar?
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Old Dec 17, 18, 11:14 am
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Originally Posted by pagophilus View Post
Air pollution extreme? In Madagascar?
No. Just the capital, Antananarivo. You can literally smell it soon as you're on the roads. Very noticeable.
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