Questions in trip planning
Replies: 4 - Last Post: Jun 19, 2013 4:58 AM Last Post By: rorygemwriter
Jun 16, 2013 6:46 PM
Questions in trip planningWe are working with various tour operators to organize a 2-week private tour in Madagascar. Some questions came up and we would be grateful if some one can help us with these questions.
1. We are working with some tour operators from http://www.go2mada.com/membres.html (Groupement des Operateurs Tourisme de Madagascar). I understand no one should promote service from any business. My question is what kind of organization this is? Can anyone just become a member of the group? Are member of this particular group generally reliable? Does anyone have any bad experience with any of them?
2. Some tour operators say they would provide an English speaking driver guide, but some say drivers are not allowed to explain things to tourists and if we need an English speaking tour guide, we have to pay extra to hire a separate guide. How does this normally work in Madagascar? What are the regulations?
3. Some tour operators mentioned fees for Baobab Alley, while some did not mention it at all. Is it true that tourists/tourist vehicles have to pay a fee in order to enter the Baobab Alley, or some tour operators just use that as a way to add expense to the total? What about local tax at Miandrivazo village? Is there actually a tourist tax imposed for tourists to enter the village?
4. We are trying to figure out our expense besides the money paid to the tour operators. How much tip should is normally paid to the tour driver? What about local guides at National Parks or Reserves? What is the average cost for lunch and dinner per person?
Jun 17, 2013 5:34 AM
1Hi brainless,in Madagascar there are many tours who organize, so including independent tour that can help you much and possible all you ask and need to arrange.This one that you put question is not really tour, it is association of the strong group who work this business, sometime promote a business when there are some visitors who need some information, so after contact a driver but nor regular a payment.
This is kind of organization to promote a business and collect some money than someone who word hard but they do not know really the itinerary in the coast that attract fro tourist for fauna and flora.
In this question for anyone who become a member of the group , in my reply not sure because I heard some member of this is stop to work because of not reliable payment , so if you like you can contact indepent tour who can help you so much and they know all you ask to do.
I would like you to suggest if you want to have perfect tour in Mada, do not hesitate to organize with local tour with english speaking driver and some knowleagable some nature.A local tour guide is reliable tour and with driver who speak english not another extra .Normally work is that I said to you and without problem when you discuss about the contract.You asked some tours operators, normally without fees when you visit baobab avenue even go to Tsingy, depend on your contract what is including and what is not mention.
A local tax in Miandrivazo, normally when you make a adventure tour with local boat down the Tsiribihina river , there are a tax who paid in office of mayor and it mean when there is some accident who happen during adventure trip, the office and police keep what is the problem and help to avoid the problem and second like statistic for how many tourist came here in Miandrivazo but other this not reliable, someone promote some money.
Before you have to figure out for the money pay for the tour, think more about it and ask some tour as I told you , can help you much and with service perfect if you want to do this, I have some offer to help you.
For the tip for tour driver, depend on your satisfaction with him, tip is one thing very important in Mada because all people say tourist polite.A local guide is normally tourist without pay because almost when some tour make contract , includ it and just may be tip if you thinking to give him and average coast for lunch and dinner is around 5 or 7 eur but depend on each if you need good and famous restaurant, may be more than I said.
Do not hesitate to contact if you need some help and some information about your tour
Jun 17, 2013 7:27 AM
1. The members of the go2mada group that I know from personal experience are very much up market – if you just take the Hotel Carlton in Tana as an example, this is the hotel that bought out the Hilton !! I don’t doubt at all that the members will provide the services that you pay for. The question you should be asking is whether you want to pay their rates.
As your rather indignant hulmet at #1 is trying to say, you’ll get a much better deal if you go to Madagascar and get in contact with local independent guys on the ground and pay the guy who actually does the work for you.
2. The government of Madagascar is in the process of introducing a system of licensed guides: accompagnateur national / régional / local. The idea is that only people with the corresponding licence will be able to accompany tourists and explain things to them.
In principle, this is a good idea, but the scheme hasn’t yet been fully implemented, so not everybody who is competent to accompany you has a licence yet. It also isn’t clear how it’s going to be possible to stop drivers explaining things to people sitting in their cars.
If an operator demands that you pay for a separate English speaking guide, go with another company that doesn’t demand this. Or find an owner-driver yourself and go with him (ask for contacts at your hotel reception). Or if you decide that you are prepared to pay extra for a separate English speaking guide, demand to see his licence as an accompagnateur national, and if he doesn’t have one, look for another company.
3. The road through the Avenue des Baobabs is a public road, so it would be difficult to charge a fee for just going through it. However, as most tourists want to stop and take photos, and as a photo with lots of parked vehicles doesn’t look as good, a car park has been set up at the southern end whose use is obligatory, and you have to pay a fee for this. The charge is small. I would be suspicious of a company that itemized this separately.
There’s no charge to enter Miandrivazo. It’s a normal town on a public thoroughfare. But I had heard something along the lines of what hulmet is saying, i.e. that the town authority is raising a tax on pirogue trips down the Tsiribihina.
At most hotels in Madagascar, by the way, you’ll have to pay a tourist tax of 1000 or 1500 ariary per person. Some hotels include this in the room rate, others as an extra on the bill.
4. The tips are up to you. If you’re satisfied with the service, tip well, if not, don’t. Keep in mind that the average daily wage is not high. A waitress, for example, may earn as little as 50000 to 60000 a month, so a 2000 ariary tip in a restaurant may be half a day’s wage.
If I’m with an owner driver, I don’t give him a tip at all, on the basis that he’ll have made sure that he’s adequately compensated when we bargained the price. And to be fair, they normally don’t expect a tip either. Employed drivers tend not to be very well paid, so if you’re satisfied with him and his driving hasn’t given you any near-death experiences, be generous.
I give National Park guides 10000 ariary or 5000 if it’s just a short visit. If they’ve been especially good and found more animals than I would have expected, I give them more.
On your travels, if you eat at the kind of small hotelys that taxis brousse stop at, you’ll pay between 2000 and 4000 for a plate of rice with meat or fish, plus the cost of your drinks if you don’t fancy drinking ranompanga.
At a mid-range restaurant, you can pay 20000 to 25000 ariary for a three course meal with a bottle of beer. Above that, the sky’s the limit.
Jun 17, 2013 10:39 PM
Jun 19, 2013 4:58 AM
4My opinion on tipping drivers is that I give some money to non owner drivers on the basis that they will have been paid little. For owner drivers I do not tip but I do pay for extras which include for the driver I usually employ - teaching me French and Malagasy, explaining Malagasy customs, explaining to Malagasy why I am there, getting information for me, organising unusual trips like hiking to the summit of Maromokotra, sorting out medical treatment, translation, and paying for damage to the 4 x 4 when we go to places where damage is possible and he would prefer not to go otherwise.
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