Getting there & around
Getting to Madagascar entails nothing more complex than a bit of queuing. Immigration officials generally just check or issue your visa before letting you go on your way. Landing cards are all printed in English as well as French. If you’ve come from a country where yellow fever is present you may be asked for a yellow-fever certificate.
Arriving in Mayotte and the Union des Comores is also relatively hassle-free. There’s a simple form to fill in (printed in English and French) and you’re on your way.
If you need a visa on arrival in the Union des Comores, these are not issued at the airport but at the immigration offices in each island’s capital.
It's possible to travel to and from Madagascar and the Comoros by boat, but for most destinations you will need plenty of time and determination. Travel is likely to be on cargo ships – unless you find a ride on a yacht as a crew member – so sleeping and eating conditions, combined with sometimes turbulent seas, can make for a rough trip. Bring sea-sickness tablets with you.
Mombasa (Kenya) and the island of Zanzibar (Tanzania) are the main places to look for cargo boats to Madagascar or the Comoros. It’s also sometimes possible to find passage on a yacht heading from South Africa, Réunion or Mauritius – or maybe even from France to Nosy Be or Mayotte.
Since there is so little competition, there are few specials for travel to Madagascar and the Comoros. Booking online for either destination is rarely possible or cheaper – your best bet is to approach a local tour operator. Even in this case, many tour operators don’t deal with either destination and you may have to approach the airline office (if there is one) in your country directly.
Air Madagascar, Corsair and Air France occasionally offer some good deals to Madagascar, especially during the low season. The high season for air travel to Madagascar and the Comoros is June to August, December to January and around Easter.
Air Austral offers an Indian Ocean pass, which allows passengers who have bought long-distance tickets on Air Austral, Air Mauritius and Air Seychelles to receive discounts of up to 10% on routes within the Indian Ocean region on all three airlines.