It is a 13 hours of flight from Paris. We often stop at Reunion Island or Kenya. The international airport of Antananarivo-Ivato is located in Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar, in the center of the island.
The distances are quite large between the cities, but the time spent to drive depends mainly on the state of the road. Just over 10% are paved. The secondary roads are difficult or unfeasible in rainy season (November to April). The “Good” roads allow rarely exceeding an average of 60 km/h; on the slopes, as from 20 km/h, sometimes less. Of the entire island’s transport mode, the bush taxi is the most typical, the cheapest and therefore the most popular. It is the only real way to travel for the majority of the Malagasies who cannot afford a car or a plane trip. They crisscross the country, until the end in the bush villages. The rickshaws can carry 1 or 2 person. The Malagasy capital of the rickshaw is Antsirabe.
In French summer schedule, count 1 h more at Madagascar: when it is 12 pm in Paris, it is 13 pm in Antananarivo. In winter time, count 2 hours more: when it is 12 pm in Paris, it is 14 pm in Antananarivo. With a baffling speed, the sun rises at 6 am and sets around 6 pm during the southern winter, but it significantly grows in amplitude the rest of the year. This is truer down south.
Officially, we can change the ariary into euro at Antananarivo. Go with the maximum cash in order to get the best exchange rate and keep some Euros in case of emergency. You must always have patty cash change with yourself as traders and taxi drivers have rarely.
In Madagascar, the MasterCard does not allow you to withdraw money from distributors. The Bank of Africa (BOA) only accepts the counter (the operation is not done automatically during the day) as well as some agencies of the MCB bank. However, most retailers take the Visa card. In the small localities, go directly to the counters, or the delays can be quite variable.
From France to Madagascar: 00 + 261 + 20 + subscriber number including the area code. To reach on mobile phone, 00 + 261 + the mobile number without the 0 in front.
From Madagascar to France: 00 + 33 + 9-digit subscriber number (Without the 0). The telephone links are expanding, thanks to mobile telephony. It is still difficult to reach some areas, but it can be managed. Several solutions are possible: the cellular and fixed line (including public telephones).
Each operator works with a prepaid system (communication refills as cards or as sending credit directly on your SIM card). These refills can be purchased at retailers and across the street. Communications remain cheap as long as you call someone who has the same operator. If you need to call in all directions, Telma is a good choice. Finally, it is always possible to use of one of the sellers of telephone communications in the street.
Today, most cities have internet cafes offering Internet connections, more or less rapid. A large project of wiring has started in Madagascar. The island should have an Internet connection five times faster than before thanks to the installation of a submarine optic cable by Orange.
The mail is generally very slow and quite unreliable between Madagascar and Europe. It takes usually ten days from Antananarivo and a little more for letters mailed from Province. Avoid post offices of all the small localities. The Rate: Ar 2100 (€ 0.80) for a letter and Ar 1600 (€ 0.60) for a postcard.
The remaining post offices in Antananarivo:warning, there are two post offices in Tana. Don’t be mistaken, write legibly: full name, general delivery, one of two post offices: Analakely (Lower Town) or Antaninarenina (Upper City), 101 Antananarivo, Madagascar. It is same principle for large provincial cities. Never send yourself valuables, even less money.
The current used is 220 V. The large cities experience regular failures in the electricity supply, the latter being supplied by the generators of the State. Do not forget flash lights.
In the capital, six private television channels broadcast programs. In the province, a dozen issues in cities or regions. The National television, TVM, covers the entire island. The press is normally free in Madagascar but it is not unusual that a journalist is facing local authorities and is subjected to high pressure or threats. Daily newspapers are either in French or in Malagasy or bilingual. More than a hundred of private radios are almost in all the regions of the country.
HAVE A NICE TRIP !