When to go
Madagascar can be a year-round destination, but different places are at their best at different times of year. Travel from the end of March until the first half of December is generally considered to be the best time. The rainy season is usually from mid-December to mid-March, with heavy downpours interrupting blazing sunshine. However, the southwest is usually fairly dry year round.
Getting to Madagascar
Currently there are no direct flights from the UK to Madagascar.
Air France flies to Antananarivo up to four times per week via Paris CDG.
Turkish Airlines flies four times per week from London Heathrow (and selected other UK airports) to Antananarivo via Istanbul. (In the 2016 high season, Turkish Airlines received substantially better feedback than the other international carriers servicing the Antananarivo route).
Air Mauritius operates flights between Antananarivo via Mauritius twice weekly.
If planning on visiting northern Madagascar only, Air Austral is an attractive choice, as it operates flights via Reunion to Nosy Be.
There are daily flights on SA Airlink between Madagascar and Johannesburg.
Prices for international flights vary enormously depending on travel dates and routing. For this reason, certain suggested itineraries exclude the cost of international flights.
Madagascar is two and a half times the size of Britain, with often difficult terrain and few good roads, so getting around can be challenging and time-consuming: the country is thus best suited to reasonably 'hardy' travellers. It makes sense - and is sometimes essential - to fly internally. Air Madagascar has a wide domestic flight network. There is now a second domestic carrier servicing some airports. (Madagasikara Airways). Charter flights are well worth considering wherever possible.
On overland trips, you travel in a four-wheel drive vehicles with a qualified driver and a professional guide.
Note that Air Madagascar's domestic flight schedules are changed quite frequently but our team constantly monitors these and we do our best to work around them to ensure that trips are hassle free.
Malagasy is the first language. French, the second language, is also the business language. English is not widely spoken.
Visitors to Madagascar require visas which can be obtained on arrival.
Currently a 1 month visa is issued on arrival for €27.
Please note that currently (January 2017) the arrivals process is for the most part, time consuming as visitors need to queue three times.
There are no compulsory requirements unless you are arriving from a yellow fever area. Madagascar is a malarial area and precautions should be taken. Always consult your doctor at least six weeks before travel and see the useful NHS websitefor details of recommended vaccinations for your destination.
Accommodation in Madagascar
Madagascar has – and Rainbow Tours can book – some exceptional lodges near nature reserves, along with a wide range of appealing places to stay by the beach ranging from upmarket air-conditioned hotels to simple bungalows. (That said, please note that standards of accommodation do not equal that which may be found in Southern or East Africa's better-developed destinations). We also offer a selection of comfy hotels in the capital, Antananarivo, and can arrange both no-frills and luxurious camping. Be aware that accommodation is in short supply, and should be booked well in advance. See our Where to Stay web page.