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Madagascar: lush forests and pristine beaches

Ranking among the most fascinating holiday destinations in the world, Madagascar will enchant you with the richness of colours, natural jewels, and pristine areas. Interestingly, the lion’s share of Madagascar’s fauna and flora is unique to this particular place on Earth.

Its unparalleled natural beauty manifests itself in emerald lush jungle, limestone outcroppings, and never-ending beaches. Give yourself some time as Madagascar cannot be explored in one day. There is a plethora of outdoor activities waiting for the most adventurous of travellers and a myriad of tranquil hideaways that will live up to the expectations of holidaymakers seeking a calmer stay.

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Madagascar Road Trip

Africa - Madagascar
6,520 km 37 km/h 28 days roadtrip

Madagascar: Road Trip highlights

Madagascar’s top-rated highlight is Antananarivo, the island’s capital. It is like no other place in the world. The city is honeycombed with canals, small hills, and emerald lakes and creates a beautiful small refuge surrounded by the lush island’s flora. The capital offers a brilliant cultural insight with highlights like the Royal Palace and Analakely Market.

One of the most beautiful regions on the island is Central Madagascar. Its characteristic highlights will become a treasure trove of outdoor activities. Visit Antsirabe, the agricultural centre of Madagascar, see the historical landmarks in Fianarantsoa, and lose yourself in the lush forest of Parc National de Ranomafana. The fans of natural sights should also visit a lemur reserve located in Anja.

Southern part of the island is equally beautiful. It is studded with natural reserves, such as Parc National d’Isalo or Parc National d’Andringitra. The most intriguing examples of Madagascar’s flora can be found in the region around Fort Dauphin.

Northern Madagascar won’t fall short of holidaymakers’ expectations. Here, you can explore the privately owned Aye-Aye Island, located at a stone’s throw away from the beautiful Mananara Avaratra, and find your small paradise in Maroantsetra. The town will be an ideal starting point for many trekking trips around this part of Madagascar.

For beautiful beaches travel to the mesmerising island of Nosy Be located on the Mozambique Channel. It is a popular spot among the fans of water sports, especially snorkelling, diving, and surfing. While on Nosy Be, don’t forget to visit Andoany with a small market and charming local housing.

Madagascar: public transport, car rental, traffic regulations

Due to the fact that Madagascar offers little opportunities in terms of public transport, except for charter taxis, it’s best to opt for a rental car if you want to avoid using domestic flights. There’s also a possibility to opt for special rickshaws; however, these won’t take you to the most remote recesses of Madagascar.

The greatest asset of the island for the visiting motorists is the fact that Madagascar follows right-hand traffic. Due to the varied terrain that it offers, it’s best to choose a 4x4 off-road vehicle to make your trip as comfortable as possible.

It’s important to remember about properly secured seatbelts which can be checked by the police officers. What’s more, they will surely perform a breathalyser test to see whether you’ve been drinking before hitting the road. The blood alcohol level that you mustn’t exceed is 80 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood. 

The minimum driving age is 18, but the minimum driving age if you want to rent a vehicle is 23. Unfortunately, you will be asked to pay an additional fee for being under 25 at any of the car rental spots on Madagascar.

Interestingly, you are allowed to use speed camera detection devices and no fees or penalties will be applied if police officers spot such a device in your car.

Be extra careful whenever police officers ask you to stop. Madagascar is infamous for problems with local corruption. Always ask for tickets that you are supposed to pay within a period of 14 days at a police precinct, post office, or bank. Never accept strange on-the-spot fines. 

While driving around Madagascar, you should always give way to traffic approaching intersections from the left. Also, stay extra cautious whenever you are driving at night. Some of Madagascar roads are unlit and you may encounter animals, livestock, and pedestrians casually crossing the street.

Madagascar: required documents

The documents that you should carry while travelling around Madagascar are: driver’s licence, vehicle registration document, and your passport.

Madagascar: speed limits

It’s important to follow speed limits while travelling around Madagascar. You can drive as fast as 80-100 km/h outside built-up areas. In towns, the speed limit is 50km/h. Remember to always smoothly adjust your driving and speed to the prevailing weather conditions. Madagascar has no fixed speed cameras. However, you’ll come across regular police checkpoints where police officers use hand held equipment. 

Madagascar: parking regulations

When it comes to parking, it is done in an ad hoc way outside the main cities. The only reasonable rule to follow is leaving your car in places where it won’t become an obstacle for other drivers. More parking regulations can be found in larger cities. Drivers will have a number of parking options – both paid and free so there’s plenty to choose from. In Antananarivo, you’ll find a number of parking garages with security officers guarding the area.

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