How to get to Madagascar

By | May 4, 2022


Madagascar is a country in Africa according to programingplease. One of the most stunning and interesting places on earth, Madagascar is home to numerous odd, rare animal species that are strictly protected. In Madagascar alone, for example, there are more than 70 different species of lemurs. Until a few hundred years ago, the elephant bird also lived here, the largest flightless bird that ever existed at 3 m in height and weighing up to 450 kg. Golden sandy beaches and huge palm trees line the coast. The inland is diverse and ranges from savanna plateaus to volcanoes to dense forests and impressive waterfalls. The Hauts Plateaux divide the island, whose east coast consists of forested mountains. The western part of the island is defined by gently rolling plains. Polynesian, Arabic, Bantu and European influences have given Madagascar a unique and fascinating culture.

Getting there

Arriving by plane

Madagascar’s national airline, Air Madagascar (MD), flies to destinations in the region (including Réunion, Mauritius and the Comoros) and to Europe (Paris and Marseille). Air Madagascar (MD) and Air France (AF) fly non-stop from Paris to Antananarivo. Feeder flights to Paris are offered by Air France (AF) from Munich, Stuttgart, Frankfurt am Main, Düsseldorf, Hamburg and Berlin, as well as from Vienna, Geneva and Zurich, among others. In cooperation with other airlines, Lufthansa (LH) from Germany, Swiss (LX) from Switzerland and Austrian Airlines (OS) from Austria offer flight connections to Madagascar with stopovers. Neos (NO) flies non-stop to Nosy Be island from Rome and Milan.

Flight times

Frankfurt/M. – Antananarivo: 13 hrs 50; Zurich – Antananarivo: 13 hrs 30; Vienna – Antananarivo: 14 hrs 10; Milan – Nosy Be: 9 hrs 30 mins

Arrival by car

Tolls: There are no toll roads in Madagascar. Documents: The international driver’s license is required in addition to the national driver’s license.

Arrival by ship

Cruise ships from all over the world dock in the ports of Antsiranana, Toamasina, Tolagnaro and Nosy Be.

Cruise ships

AIDA and Phoenix call at various ports in Madagascar on their world cruises starting in Hamburg. Costa cruise ships start from other European ports with an intermediate destination of Madagascar.


Traveling by plane

Most of Madagascar, with the exception of a few mid-highland cities, is accessible by air; there are a variety of airstrips. The airlines Tsaradia (TZ) and Madagasikara Airways (7D) serve domestic air traffic and connect the cities of Madagascar.

Traveling by car/bus

The road network in Madagascar covers around 60,000 km and is not extensively developed. The three main connecting roads lead from Antananarivo to Mahajanga (RN4), Toamasina (RN2) and Fianarantsoa and Toliara (RN7). In other parts of the country, the road network mostly consists of unpaved paths. There are also regions that can only be reached on foot or by helicopter. Night journeys between cities are to be avoided at all costs because of the risk of muggings. Tolls: There are no toll roads in Madagascar. Gas stations: There are enough gas stations in cities and on major national roads; otherwise the gas station network is rather thin.

Right-hand traffic/left-hand traffic


Condition of the roads

The connecting roads between Antananarivo and the main coastal towns are paved, except for the road to Fort Dauphin, but are often not adequately maintained. Inland, four-wheel drive vehicles are the best choice. From December to April (rainy season) all roads are difficult or impossible to drive on; it is therefore advisable to inquire about the road conditions of the planned route before setting off.

Car rental

Car hire is available in Antananarivo and in major tourist towns. The minimum age for drivers is usually 25 years, the maximum age is often 70 years; Exact information is given by the individual rental car companies.


So-called taxi-be drive in Antananarivo on certain routes, whereby there are no fixed schedules. Taxi-brousses, minibuses for up to 9 people, operate both in cities and overland, and rickshaws (pousse-pousses) can be hired from almost anywhere. The fare should always be agreed in advance for both taxis and rickshaws.


Bicycles can be rented in Antananarivo or bought cheaply as new bikes. Motorbikes can also be rented.


Minibuses, so-called taxi-brousses (bush taxis), serve most places in Madagascar and also run, for example, between Antananarivo and the cities of Mahajunga and Morondava. The bus company Visit Mada Tours offers bus tours throughout the country, including tours to Masoala National Park.


Traffic regulations: – Alcohol limit: 0.8 ‰. – Helmets are compulsory for motorcyclists. Speed ​​limits: – in built-up areas: 50 km/h (around schools 30 km/h); – extra-urban: no general restriction; pay attention to signs.

Roadside Assistance

In the event of accidents and breakdowns, the rental car company must be informed.


The international driver’s license is required in addition to the national driver’s license.

Note on travel by road

When driving in urban areas such as Antananarivo, it is strongly recommended to lock the car doors from the inside and keep the windows closed at all times of the day and night while driving. Bags and valuables should never be left visible in the car. Caution should also be exercised when traveling individually over land; there are always attacks on tourists.

Traveling in the city

In Antananarivo you have the choice between taxi, bus or exploring the city on foot. Taxis are the most popular among tourists, and buses are the cheapest, but often overcrowded. Pickpocketing is commonplace in Antananarivo, and armed robberies are also becoming more common. Increased caution is required, especially in the city center and around hotels, restaurants and intercity bus stops (taxis-brousses).

Locally on the way by train

The railway company Madarail serves the route Toamasina – Moramanga in the northern part of the island. Trains run three times a week in both directions, connecting 12 communities on their journey (journey time: 13-18 hours). The Fianarantsoa-Côte Est (FCE) company operates the only southern route between the towns of Fianarantsoa and Manakara.

Traveling by ship

The ports of Antsiranana, Toamasina, Tolagnaro and Nosy Be are served by cruise ships from all over the world.

How to get to Madagascar