2 weeks in Madagscar
Replies: 6 - Last Post: Jan 20, 2013 11:22 PM Last Post By: Zoky
Jan 17, 2013 8:08 AM
2 weeks in Madagscarhi all, first of all was trying to send private messages to those i see are in the know about Madagascar but that seems to be disabled at moment so hope you will see my post here. me and girlfriend thinking about a 2 week trip to madagascar in July/August. will be flying in and out of Antanarivo. what would you plan for a 2 week trip. would ideally like to visit 3 or 4 different places......more rural than city. we are in our 30's and very experienced travellers/backpackers, we would like to see wildlife & whale watching, do a bit of hiking visit national parks and beach time (for her). We would want to travel independently rather than take an organised tour for the 2 weeks......what is the transport system like? is there a good bus/train network?ive read a lot about people hiring a car and driver for their trip.....is this a good way to travel....what sort of daily cost would that be? From my initial research travelling in Madagascar seems fairly cheap.....we hope our budget can be kept to maybe 700 euro each (day to day travel, food drink & activties).....our accomdation budget will be seperate...will this be doable or will need to add bit extra.
thanks in advance
Jan 17, 2013 2:47 PM
1Might I suggest you buy a guide book either Bradt or LP as these will give you much basic information.
"what is the transport system like?" - generally primitive
"is there a good bus/train network?" No. There in/was one rail line in the south which went out of action last year and might be up and running again - Anyone know? There are/were some other trains but not regular ones - Anyone got an update?
"hiring a car and driver for their trip.....is this a good way to travel?" - yes for two weeks as it is a big country and you will be able to get around more quickly than using the taxi brousses.
Roughly 40 euro car and 65 4x4 + fuel and I can recommend my driver who I've used over three years.
So total budget for two weeks is 1400 euro for both of you i.e. 100 euro a day is that right? Curious as to why you count accommodation separately. Your biggest expense will be car hire and after that possibly park fees. Food and drink are very cheap.
It is useful if you can speak some French.
Enjoy your trip Madagascar is a very special place.
Jan 18, 2013 12:23 AM
2Thanks for your reply and information Rory. The reason I put my accomadation costs seperate is that generally on our trips I try to pay for accomadation with credit card where possible...,.maybe this won't be possible everywhere in Madagascar. ive read that the Bradt guide is a good one so will get that. Maybe when the private messaging service is back up and running you could send me details of your recommended driver.....does seem its the way to go
Jan 18, 2013 3:47 AM
Jan 20, 2013 2:24 AM
4IMHO the Bradt guide is far more detailed and informative than the LP is for Madagascar so this is a good place to start. Visiting Andasibe and the national parks along RN7 would be good for wildlife viewing and hiking. For whale watching you'd need to get a flight or a boat out to Ile Ste Marie. The boats are cheaper but haven't always had the best safety record so check before you make a decision. Ste Marie and its stunning neighbour Ile aux Nattes tick the beach box too.
As Rory said, don't plan on using credit cards at all as so few places accept them and ATMs are few and far between so plan ahead to stock up on cash when you can. We had a driver through ramartour.com who was very good and reasonably priced. For 2 weeks a huge amount of time would be spent trying to figure out the local transport (even more if you don't speak French) so a driver might be the way to go.
Agree that the NP fees are more expensive than you'd expect and for food, the driver will assume that you want to eat in restaurants where westerners (mostly French tour buses) eat but once ours had cottoned on that we wanted to eat in the same restaurants (in some cases more like roadside shacks) that he ate at we had a much tastier and cheaper culinary experience!
Jan 20, 2013 5:59 AM
5i bought the Bradt guide and it is very detailed and have got lots of great info from it. my early planning is to maybe get from Antanarivo to Sainte Maria and Masaola NP and back to Tana in 2 weeks......without any flights which seem way too expensive......using a hired car and driver and boat trips. Does this seem doable given the distances and the seemingly poor road network? ive read this area is prone to more rainfall, any one been to this area in end of july, what sort of weather can be expected? im not normally one for micro managing our trips but for a 2 week trip it does seem necessary in order to get most out of the holiday. Open to any other suggestions/advice about a trip to Madagascar.
Jan 20, 2013 11:22 PM
It would'nt be possible to drive a 4x4 to maroansetra,which is the departure town for Masoala.You simply dont have enough time and its one of the worst roads in the country.You will have to take a boat instead.The only safe option is a company called Melissa Express.They have two large and powerful boats that can get you to maroansetra and also Saint marie .The boat leaves from a small town called Soanierana-Ivongo and if you are hiring a car in Tana you should be able to get to Soanierana -Ivongo in one day.I believe that Melissa express has a website so check for departure dates and more info.
Masoala and Saint Marie are both amazing places,nice choice .I would suggest going to Masoala first as it is definately more time consuming and harder to reach and if you were to have any delays it would more likely be there.You can then rest up a little in Saint Marie which has a few more comforts. As for the possibility of rain in June/July,be prepared for it.I have seen it rain for days on end during these months in masoala.I have also seen the sun shine for days at a time.It's still an amazing place either way.
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