Replies: 5 - Last Post: Feb 28, 2013 1:36 PM Last Post By: Simone82
Jan 28, 2013 12:13 AM
I am planning a trip to Madagascar and would like to get better information about actual prices and so on to calculate my daily budget.
1. Visa at the airport 2013 fro Germans, and how long does it last, do I need an outbound ticket:
2. Budget accommodation in general - with bathroom:
3. Food and beer in general in cheap restaurants:
4. Which are must go places for a first-timer:
5. Flights seem to be very expensive from mainland Africa, a ticket from Joburg cost around 350 € one way. Mozambique seems even more expensive. Are there any cheaper options to get there?
Jan 28, 2013 2:08 AM
I'm heading out to Madagascar this June, so have already done a bit of research on the information you're after - hope this helps....
1. The visa fee is currently suspended, so providing it stays that way, you won't have to pay and can obtain it at the airport. You do need an outbound ticket though.
2. I'm staying with an organisation, so can't help there I'm afraid - however, my aunt, who is Malagasy said that you can stay relatively well for not very much in Madagascar.
3. Expect to pay around 10,000 MGA (€3.40 approx) for Western-style food, and around 2500 MGA for local food (€0.85 approx.)
4. Check out the online Lonely Planet guide - they have loads of suggestions. Also, there have been some problems around the Andohahela National Park area, so maybe be careful if you choose to go there. Here's the British Foreign Office advice: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad/travel-advice-by-country/sub-saharan-africa/madagascar
5. I'm flying from Nairobi there and back (then onto to the UK, via Dubai and Paris) - I think the flight cost around £300 return...but I booked it as a package from a travel agent - might be an option??
Enjoy your stay - I'm certainly looking forward to mine!
Jan 28, 2013 4:59 AM
Just to complete #1’s information on the visa:
At the airport, visas are issued for 30, 60 and 90 days (this is the maximum).
They are issued free of charge only for stays of up to 30 days. If you intend to stay longer, you will have to pay. In April 2012, I paid €45 euro at the airport for a 60 day visa. The visa for 61 to 90 days (this is the maximum) will be more expensive if you need it. You can pay in euro or US dollars. The exact fee varies from time to time depending on fluctuations in the exchange rate between the ariary and the dollar. Try and have small notes and/or coins to pay, as the payment counter is mysteriously seldom able to give change.
If you do intend to stay longer than 30 days, be sure to go to the cash desk before joining the visa queue – if you don’t, the officials will just stamp a 30 day visa in your pass without asking, and it’s something of a hassle to get that then changed.
If you decide to get your visa in advance at the embassy in Berlin-Falkensee, you’ll pay €68 for a 60 day visa and €96 for 90 days.
You will, as already said, need to show a print-out of an onward e-ticket (they don’t always ask to see it, but if they do and you haven’t got one, you’ll have problems). You won’t need a passport photo.
By the way, official sources no longer talk of the visa fee for 30 day visas being “suspended”. They’re simply listed as free of charge, so that’s unlikely to change now.
If you change your plans, you can extend a 30 or 60 day visa in Tana up to the maximum stay (for tourists) of 90 days.
2 Depends what you mean by “budget”. You can generally get comfortable accommodation for between 30 000 and 50 000 ariary, but you can also get perfectly reasonable accommodation in most places for under 10 000 ariary, if you’re prepared to accept shared “facilities” of local standard. Currently, one euro is worth around 2900 ariary.
3 I more or less agree with #1 on the price of food. A 65 cl bottle of beer costs around 2000 ariary at the bottom end of the range, but can cost as much as 6000 ariary at the top end (paradoxically, it’s not always the higher class hotels that charge this maximum).
4 As far as guide books are concerned, the Bradt guide has been consistently better than anything LP has produced on Madagascar for some years now. I’d advise you to get hold of a copy.
As far as the British foreign office advice is concerned, I’d take most of what their travel advice website says on Madagascar with a hefty pinch of salt. The Brits closed their embassy in Tana some years ago and moved it to Mauritius, and very few of the sometimes alarming warnings they’ve published since then have been anything more than fiction or exaggeration. Almost all the recent incidents they list relate to attacks in which tourists are not targeted, and where Europeans have been involved, they omit to mention that these were long-term residents engaging in potentially dubious activities. The FCO don’t take the trouble to update even the most basic of information – for example, the website still says you’re only allowed to take 100 grammes of vanilla out of the country, whereas it’s now a good few years since the limit was raised to half a kilogram. Maybe things will get better now they’re re-opening the embassy, but I’m not holding my breath.
The travel advice of the Auswärtiges Amt, which you can take a look at here at any rate doesn’t advise you to avoid Andohahela and is much less alarmist.
The one warning which you do need to pay attention too, is to avoid night-time travel, especially in the south.
5 Unless they have been very recently introduced, there are no direct flights between Mozambique and Madagascar, which is why that would be very expensive. Nairobi and Johannesburg are the two points of departure on the African mainland. The best offers are frequently posted at short notice on the Air Madagascar website, which is unfortunately under reconstruction at present and not accessible. You can book by phone through Paris on +33 892 70 18 19 or Tana on +261 20 22 510 00
Jan 28, 2013 10:13 AM
Thanks very much for that information (even though I wasn't the one who originally asked for it!) - I am always interested to hear about the accuracy of FCO advice, as I have heard similar things about other parts of the world - the USA travel advice is even more cautious!
I personally, however, am being careful, as I am a young, white female, travelling on my own - but it's good to have another source of information. I'm a German speaker, so will check out the Auswaertiges Amt as well.
Feb 1, 2013 1:56 PM
4Just back from Madagascar 4 weeks in december 2012, great experience and great landscape !
You'll find some travel information such as hotels, gps-coordinates, road conditions (german language) and a lot of pictures here:
Report still "under construction" - will take some weeks to complete ;-)
Feb 28, 2013 1:36 PM
Thank you all for the info so far, very helpful.
Me and my Brother are flying into Antananarivo before independence day and flying out the beginning of September. (2013)
We are hoping to see as much as we can in 10 weeks travelling anticlockwise around the island.
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