Planning Madagascar trip September/October 2013
Replies: 7 - Last Post: Mar 10, 2013 3:28 AM Last Post By: hannyr
Feb 17, 2013 8:39 AM
Planning Madagascar trip September/October 2013Hello
I am planning a Madagascar trip for September/October for around 3 weeks. I already have prepared the itinerary I would like to follow and sent it to a couple of local tour operators for quotes. I am quite surprised with the quotes I am getting as they are varying quite a lot between them for exactly the same things (including accomodation), and I also think they are very expensive considering how cheap the accomodation is and the quick search I have done as regards car rental (50 - 75 euro per day)
So I know the price of the accommodation, the flights and the park fees. the average quote I am then getting is 2 or 3 times this price. Do you think this is reasonable just to cover for the car, driver and guide in parks? What would you think is a fair price to pay per day for a driver + car + the guides/excursions for the parks? Of course I know the tour operator will take some overhead charge too.
Can you recommend a reliable local tour operator who will organise everything for me and not rip me off? Would you recommend using 1 operator for the whole trip or else a different one for each area I will be visiting? I will be taking the RN7 route, then fly to Morondava to do the Tsingy + Kirindy and then Berenty.
Many thanks for your help!
Feb 17, 2013 11:09 AM
1"I also think they are very expensive" You have probably got that right. Welcome to Madagascar. The answer is probably not to get a tour operator to organise everything for you. So get a car not a 4x4 along the RN7 then organise the others locally when you arrive.
Feb 17, 2013 4:18 PM
Feb 17, 2013 5:39 PM
3Did you consider the price of these items?
1) Gas & empty return of the car.
For exemple, it is very likely than on a classic tour like the RN7, you would drive 1000km. Then most travellers give up the car so the car has to return empty , for example from Toliara to Antananarivo, it takes another 2 days of rental + 1000km worth of gas + driver's expenses. Gas is quite expensive here compared to what people pay in other countries.
2) Flights. Air tickets are very cheap in Europe...but in Madagascar we have a monopoly which is driving price up to the roof.
Have you checked with ASISTEN Travel. Some travellers in this forum have used them.
Feb 17, 2013 6:46 PM
4Have the different agents given you prices for the same route, same type of vehicle, same standard of hotel? If so, and they are very different, they might have different costs of their own, such as bigger offices... who knows??? Ask them directly why their prices are so different, you may learn something about how they planned your trip from their reply.
Travel agents are businesses, they have to pay the same costs that you are discovering as you hunt for yourself, plus they pay office rent, staff, very expensive communications costs (phones and internet are expensive in Madagascar), taxes, insurance, and etc, etc, AND, after all of that, they have to also make a profit, so it will of course cost more to use an agent than to go alone, but anyway I don't think you are debating that, I think you seem to be confused by the different prices and I think you will be doing yourself a favour to ask them directly.
There are a lot of things to consider and if you decide to organise your trip without an agent you will need to think about the details carefully. As mentioned in 3 above, return of the car can be a real surprise for some people but it is not like abroad where you hire a car in London and leave it in Manchester. In Madagascar you must pay for the car to go back to where it started. The route RN7 is pretty straightforward and any driver could manage that, your hotel in Morondava could organise all your local tours there, the Hotel Le Dauphin in Fort Dauphin will have to organise Berenty for you anyway...
Really you could organise the whole trip yourself, it is a pretty straight forward itinerary, but, you might find yourself with an expensive headache should things go wrong... and I recommend you choose your car very well and get an agreement in writing (not easy to do with a private driver due to language difficulties so best to go to an agent) because you need to understand with your car hire firm what happens should the driver you choose turn out to not speak your language, or be unhelpful, or if he gets drunk, or the car breaks down, who buys the drivers meals, where does he sleep???
If you use a local agent for just your car or for all your travel, you have a number to call to sort things out. And, you know you are supporting local people trying to improve tourism in their country.
I have heard good things from other travellers about the agent mentioned above in 3, and also Cactus, and also MTTC, amongst others.
Feb 18, 2013 12:26 AM
5Hello and thanks for your responses.
I would normally book everything myself - but I am hesitating since I have some internal flights and could really use some support should I have problems with them and need to rearrange my plans. I am just surprised that it seems some tour operators seem to want 2000 or 3000 euros of pure profit when they haven't even assisted me to build up the itinerary as I had all listed for them. Anyway I am waiting for more replies now - let's see what I get.
I have seen MTTC mentioned a couple of times now ... which company is this? I cannot figure out what it stands for.
Mar 6, 2013 10:22 AM
6I used a great local tour operator during a 3-week trip last November. Only problem is that their very reasonalbe qoutes mean they don't make enough profit (in my view) to reward them for their incredible reliability, flexibility and always sunny dispositon. If you do choose to use them, please bear this in mind as its a family business (2 families in fact depend on it for a living), they go much further than the extra mile and we (3 of us) repeatedly told them that they need to up their prices in order to get a decent living from the business.
It is run by Dyna assisted by his brother-in-law, Tiana and your can contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org
Highly Recommended but please don't bargain them into the ground! We rich boys (relatively) have an obligation to be fair contributors to poor countries such as Madagascar when we visit I think.......
Mar 10, 2013 3:28 AM
I am planning a trip to Madagascar in mid May with my daughter , I am in touch with a few local tour companies Cactus and Dodi's Lamour tours and Assisten.
They all seem to be very expensive about 3-4000$ for one person all included with flights.
Can any one recommend ? also I checked and Assisten is the only company listed in the Madagascar official tour guide site but they are the most expensive , do you think this is an important issue , being listed in the local tour association?
(3 star Hotel)
From US$123.03 per night
(5 star Hotel)
From US$154.45 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$256.97 per night