Top 10 tips for the intrepid motorcycle traveller in Madagascar

  1. Rental bikes here are well used, bring your own tools, tubes, tyre irons etc
  2. The tax-brosse are driven by maniacs – as long as you understand that, you’ll live
  3. The sealed roads have heaps of bike-sized potholes. Understand that trucks, 4wd & taxis will all dodge them and take you out while doing so if needs be
  4. The Malagasy people are fantastic, extremely friendly and stopping in small towns you’ll get fully immersed – this is the experience other tourists don’t get so relish it
  5. Food is adequate and generally safe – some might go straight through you but that’s the exception. It always pays to filter your water, we carry a water filter always and have a dose of Dukeral before we travel. Seems to keep you together well enough
  6. The money is crazy, 2,000 ARs to the US dollar. So a room for the night might cost 20,000 but remember it’s only $US10.
  7. Petrol is standard global price – Total and Shell stations are dearest as the State-owned ones are subsidised by a government trying to curry favour with the locals
  8. Power cuts are extremely common so carry a headtorch with you always
  9. The numerous Army and Police road checkpoints are targeting the local traffic not tourists. We almost always were waved on and when not they just checked the bike rego papers and your international drivers licence
  10. French is the common language. We have very little. But as always you get by with a smile, a few nouns and a preparedness to engage and not be the colonial overlord.
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