(Location: Antananarivo, Madagascar)
We usually don’t use travel agents, but it was kind of a must for this trip. In addition to insisting that we have a guide travel with us, they insisted that we have day layovers in Antananarivo (Tana) due to flight…irregularities. We’ve traveled quite a bit, so thought this was overkill, but decided to just go with it. They did, after all, write the book on Madagascar so they probably knew what they were talking about.
Most places in Madagascar don’t accept credit cards, so once we collected our bags we headed straight for the currency exchange. We handed over $700 and were given $1.5 million Ariary – a stack of money so large that it didn’t fit in my money belt (no, I don’t wear it, I either hide it in locked luggage or put it in a hotel safe). Stocked up with cash, we met the driver and guide who would be with us for the next three days, and headed off on the four hour trek to Andasibe.
We stayed in Tana on the way back from Andasibe, between Berenty and Kirindy, and before we boarded our return flight to Johannesburg. Each time, we stayed at the Relais de Plateaux. It is located fairly close to the airport, and despite the dodgy looking approach, the hotel was quite nice. It had a pool, a very lavish lunch buffet, a good restaurant for dinner, and decent wifi.
Given the travel schedule, we didn’t get to see much of Tana. We were supposed to go to a local market on one of the trips through, but flights were delayed so we missed it. We were also supposed to visit the zoo, but our flight was late and it was closed by the time we landed. We were super confused when the guide said we were going to the zoo anyway, and a little frustrated sitting in INSANE traffic to get there. When we arrived at the zoo, it was indeed closed. But then a man appeared and opened the gate… a little weird but whatever. We got to see the Aye Aye, which are very rare and we didn’t see in the wild.