Our FAQ sections are intended to help you decide if a particular destination is right for you. Here Derek Schuurman and Rachel Dobb answer questions about Madagascar. They are both passionate about this incredible island and are always pleased to talk one-to-one. You can ring them directly on 020 7666 1252.
My partner is really keen to go to Madagascar - tell me what’s so special?
Madagascar has truly unique wildlife that you won't find anywhere else in the world, incomparably diverse flora and some landscapes unlike anything you would have seen before. With its fascinating culture, Indian Ocean beaches and pristine coral reefs, we both feel this complex island really is in a class of its own. To give you an idea of places that work well together, browse through our selection of hand-picked Madagascar holiday & tours, or ring us to talk through what'd like to see.
How do we get there?
There are no direct flights to Madagascar from the UK yet. However do not let this put you off. It is possible to take an Air France flight via Paris, Air Mauritius via Mauritius, Kenya Airways via Nairobi or SA Airlink from Johannesburg. Contact our travel specialists for more information as it may be possible to arrange some nights in your stop-over destination if you wish.
How do we travel around the country?
Four-wheel drive vehicles are essential. Air Madagascar offers an extensive network of flights so it is possible to reach the most remote parts of the island in comfort.
If there was one thing I shouldn’t miss, what would you recommend?
That's a hard question to answer for both of us as we each have our personal favourites. Maybe Andasibe-Mantadia National Park as it is the one place visited more than any other in the country for its beautiful rainforests, iconic wildlife and because it is only 3 ½ hours drive to the east of the capital.
Is Madagascar safe?
Yes, it’s a very friendly destination although we have been keeping clients out of the central part of the capital for about a decade due to petty theft. Both of us have spent a lot of time in Madagascar and felt very safe and welcomed.
Can I drink the tap water?
Tap water is not safe to drink. Make sure all water has been boiled before you drink it or treated with iodine or a water purification tablet before hand. Add vitamin C tablets to hide the taste. When buying bottled water, make sure the bottles are sealed when handed to you.
Is English widely spoken?
No. Malagasy is the first language and French is the official business language. English is spoken by guides and by some people in the hospitality industry. It’s handy if you have some basic French.
Should I expect very basic facilities in all Madagascar hotels and lodges?
Not at all - in the last decade a number of excellent boutique hotels and lodges of a high standard, have opened and these receive very favourable reviews from the most discerning of travellers. See our selection of hand-picked Madagascar hotels & lodges, and call us if you would like more information on any of the hotels & lodges that we feature.
What is the local food like?
It is one of the highlights of any Madagascar trip, according to guide book guru Hilary Bradt. It has elements of Indonesian and European culinary styles and is heavily rice based.
How much of a culture shock is travelling to Madagascar?
It is one of the world’s 12 poorest countries and many westerners are taken aback by the poverty. While vast wilderness areas remain, it is also one of the world’s most environmentally degraded countries and the continued destruction of its forests by fire in particular, is a shock to those who witness it.
How can I contribute to the local economy and conservation programmes?
You can ask either of us for information about inspiring local initiatives which you can contribute to during or after your visit. Money for Madagascar is a reputable UK-based charity through which people can give much needed funds to many projects in Madagascar, including reforestation schemes, conservation programmes, orphanages and implementation of water sanitation works in villages. It's a wonderful country and all our clients come back raving about their time there and often want to feel that their trip has made a difference.
Do I need to get any vaccinations ahead of travel and/or malaria tablets?
There are no compulsory health precautions for travel to Madagascar. Malaria is present year round so taking prophylactics is essential.
I'm pregnant, can I travel to Madagascar?
As Madagascar is a malarial country, travel is not recommended during pregnancy. Always consult your doctor before travel.
Call us if you'd like to start planning a trip.
Email Rachel and Derek to start planning or ring them on 020 76661252