Madagascar has few facilities for travellers with disabilities. This, combined with a weak infrastructure in many areas of the country, may make travel here difficult.
Wheelchair users will struggle with the lack of surfaced paths; visually impaired travellers should be especially careful of open drains and irregular pavements.
Public transport is very crowded and unable to accommodate a wheelchair unless it is folded up. Private vehicle rental with a driver is commonplace, however, and would offer a good alternative. Make sure you talk through any special requirements with the agency at the time of booking.
In Antananarivo and most of the provincial capitals there are hotels with either elevators or accommodation on the ground floor. While most bungalow accommodation – a common type of lodging in Madagascar – is generally on the ground floor, there are often steps up to the entrance, and inner doorways can be too narrow for a wheelchair. Few bathrooms are large enough to manoeuvre a wheelchair in, and almost none have any sort of handles or holds.
The good news, however, is that one organisation in France has been working to develop accessible tourism in Madagascar and plans to offer a fully accessible circuit along the RN7 from 2016. All the hotels on the circuit have built dedicated accessible bungalows or rooms, travel will be in a specially equipped vehicle and circuits in national parks will be offered in Joëlette (a one-wheeled, all-terrain chair held by two people). Contact Dominique Dumas (+33 6 63 76 57 91 or +33 4 73 90 88 69, firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.
Organisations that provide information on world travel for the mobility impaired include the following:
- Independent Traveler (www.independenttraveler.com)
- Mobility International USA (www.miusa.org)
- Society for Accessible Travel & Hospitality (www.sath.org)