Madagascar has always fascinated me. It’s a mix of African, French and Indian Ocean cultures located in the Indian Ocean off the eastern coast of Africa. It is the fourth largest island in the world.
Madagascar is one of the remaining places in the world that are seemingly untouched from development and change. The island culture has resisted many of the (positive and negative) changes that you see on the African mainland.
Madagascar shares many roots with Asia and the Malagasy language is in fact related with Malay and Tagalog!
The island is on my to-go list – here’s what I know about Madagascar – readers if you have been to Madagascar please share your knowledge with us!
Visas are easy to get – apparently any tourist will get on on arrival for a low fee of EUR 25 (you can pay in dollars).
Flights to Madagascar
Madagascar Ivato International airport (TNR) does not have a lot of flying action going on. For award tickets your options include:
– Kenya Airways for a Skyteam redemption (i.e. 17,500 Flying Blue plus fuel surcharges anywhere from the continent)
– Air Mauritius via Flying Blue (i.e. 17,500 Flying Blue plus fuel surcharges Air Mauritius or Kenya Airways flies)
– Turkish Airlines flies from Istanbul and you can use 80,000 United MileagePlus miles from anywhere in the US to the island in Business Class or 55,000 Aegean Miles for the same thing (but you have to pay fuel surcharges)
– Now that Air France (almost) has a new Business Class it’s a good redemption with Delta Skymiles from anywhere in the US using Virgin and Air France for 80,000 miles and no fuel surcharges
Domestic flights are operated by Air Madagascar and tickets are expensive. Expect to pay ~$500 for the quick flight to Morondava (see below).
Hotels in Antananarivo
The capital of Madagascar is Antananarivo and that’s where the international airport is located. Ibis seems the be the only international hotel chain in town – this is not (nearby) Mauritius!
Things to See in Antananarivo
Antananarivo has a few surprisingly European installations like the ‘Palais de le Reine’, which is pictured above.
Another European heritage highlight is Eglise de Faravohitra.
Things to do in Madagascar
The west coast of Madagascar is about 12 hours by car and one hour by flight away from Antananarivo. It has some of the most stunning sites of natural wonders.
The best access is from the city of Morondava – about 45 minutes north of Morondava on Madagascar’s west coast is the Avenue of the Baobabs. These magnificent trees are more than 100 feet high and up to 800 years old.
About 120 miles north (on slow roads!) is the Tsingy de Bemaraha Reserve – an UNESCO World Heritage site that is known for its sharp limestone formations.