having just returned, i thought it might be helpful to pass on a few tips.  Re the drive to the Tsingy.  trip notes advise 8hr on unmade roads - assume 10-12hrs.  Take a head torch for use on the grand tsingy walk as it more practical to have your hands free.  We started the grand tsingy walk really early in the morning (left the hotel around 4.45am!) but it was worth it.  You do the walk in the cool of the morning and it increases your chance to see lemurs as they are more active and visible and it does get very hot by lunchtime.  Back in Tana, it is well worth visiting the Lemur Park, about 45 minute drive out of town.  Really nice place : great guides, lovely park and really good viewing of lemurs.  Ignore guidebooks which say that the lemur park and the world heritage palace are closed on Mondays - they are not -  but the representative from the local tour company was unaware of whether they were open or closed so it is best to call the places direct and check.  Most of the hotels had mosquito nets so no need to take one.  Re vegetarian meals : it was surprisingly difficult to get more than a tablespoon of veggies at lunch or dinner (frustrating sometimes as there are masses for sale in the streets) but meal choice is general limited to veggies with chips, or rice or pasta...

Hi, thanks for the info. I was wondering whether to buy a mosquito headnet to wear over a hat since I hate things buzzing round my face - was there a big problem with mosquitos? Did you buy any souvenirs? I was just thinking vanilla pods though I'm aware you are only allowed to export 100g.  


Yes, thanks indeed for the tips. Was it easy enough to change money at the airport - did you take sterling, dollars or euros to change?


Many thanks for all the info. Getting excited now!

What was the weather like? 


taking them in turn :

I would not bother with  mosi head gear, they really were not that much of a problem

changing money at the airport is easy.  you can use £, euros or $.  Our guide (Sol) also took us to a bank/ATMs in Fiana....(can't remember spelling for the rest of the name) as some people needed a top up of local currency.  Most useful note in local currency is 10,000 - don't go for anything smaller or you will end up with a large brick of money to carry around

It was hot (especially in the middle of the day) which is why the early morning starts were such a good idea.  Evenings were lovely as they were cool enough for people to wear T-shirts or short sleeved shirts.  Only place is was a little cool was the rain forest and it did rain so good waterproof is essential - waterproof trousers would also be handy if you have them and have room to put them in the bag.

Our guide recommended our buying Vanilla in the local market on our return and he took us to the right place.  bargaining essential but we paid 20,000 for 2 bags (4 packs per bag).  I think we worked out that 10,000 in local currency was = to about £3.50ish so a good deal.


Many thanks for all those useful tips. Good to know you enjoyed the holiday. 


Hi cabyrne, yes thank you for those tips, really useful! I am trying to work out how much money to take.. any advice? Thanks!

Is there alot of begging? Reading the guide books and info leads me to believe there is, is this right?


I don't think there was an excessive amount. Outside the cities, it was mostly children asking for money etc - similar to many other countries you visit in South Asia and Africa. In the towns/cities, there was some but not aggressive. the most persistent and sometimes aggrevating were the people trying to sell you things!


great tips, tank you. Do you happen to remember the names of the accomadation you stayed in? i like to look at the sort of places we might stay in.

The only one that springs to mind is Vakona Forest Lodge in Andisabe. We went to visit Lemurs on a small island there which was great fun.

Just got back from the latest Madagascan Discoverer tour. Another hotel for you to look up is the Chalet des Roses, in the capital city. We spent 2 nights there. In Andasibe, we stayed at Grace Lodge (which was very nice) rather than the Vakona Lodge mentioned above. I think it can vary a bit from trip to trip.

Also the Renala hotel which is right on the beach in Morondava.

Most of the hotels were pretty good, there was only 1 which was disappointing and we were there 1 night. Several hotels switch the electricity off at night but we weren't too bothered by that.


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