Roads of Madagascar
A wonderful island near the east coast of Africa attracts a huge number of tourists. Therefore, it is worthwhile to focus on the questions of car travelers’ interest, including the quality of the country’s road network, traffic rules, car rental features and the main tourist routes for those who like to travel behind the wheel.
Transport and Roads in Madagascar
The total length of the Madagascar transport network is about 11,7 thousand km, including asphalted overpasses – 48%. The condition of the main national highways connecting the capital of the country, Antananarivo, with Antsiranana, Mahajanga, Toamasina and Toliara is generally satisfactory. About 35% of the roads, mainly in the central part of the island, are laid in mountainous terrain, which limits the speed on them within 40-60 km/h. The central motorways are in excellent condition. Absolutely the opposite situation is with the roads connecting small settlements.
As the tourism industry is one of the main sources of economic growth, the Government of Madagascar pays special attention to the development of transport, including taxi services and car rental. Currently, there is an active road building. The creation of a modern road network in Madagascar involves large costs of building and maintenance of roads due to the difficult terrain and climatic conditions.
The capital roads
For driving on the major roads, no fee is charged. There is no road tax as an independent type of encumbrance.
The transport situation in the capital is tense, due to heavy traffic, the absence of regulated intersections, rare road signs, the large number of streets with one-way traffic, marked improperly.
Local drivers are pretty accurate and unhurried. There are not many cars in private ownership, so it is noticeable that the owners take care of them and try not to create dangerous incidents on a road. If there are any road problems, the front car turns on the hazard warning lights, and all the others, right up to the last in the lane, repeat this signal. Overtaking on a track is rare, and in the city the driving slows down even more.
Tourists (not only in the capital, but throughout the country) are strongly advised to move during the daytime by taxi or private car, closing the windows and blocking the doors; to stop only at the request of law enforcement officials.
If you need to travel outside Antananarivo, you need:
1) to hire an officially registered Russian-speaking guide, preferably in a large travel company, and strictly follow his recommendations;
2) carefully study the route and the trip schedule, with which, if possible, acquaint the trustee in Antananarivo;
3) for short-term stops, choose the places that best meet the safety requirements (in built-up areas, in sight of police officers, etc.);
4) have means of communication – mobile or satellite phone; while you should bear in mind that cellular service is often absent in rural areas;
5) move only during the day, preferably accompanied by other vehicles;
6) before departure, in particular for long distances, check the technical condition of the car, the presence of a first-aid kit; provide for the possibility of repairing the car on the way.
In the Republic of Madagascar, there is a simplified registration system of road accidents.
If an accident involving two insured vehicles cause damage only to property and extend of the damage doesn’t cause disagreement between both drivers, the documents registration can be made without the participation of state inspectors, by filling out standard forms for informing the insurance company of the accident.
In other cases, it is necessary to call authorized police or gendarmerie officers to draw up the relevant protocol on the basis of which the territorial office of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, responsible for road safety, decides to initiate administrative or criminal proceedings.
Before their arrival, you should take special care, as a crowd of onlookers immediately gather at the incident scene, for understandable reasons sympathetic to the driver-compatriot.
Paid parking is available at the airport “Ivato” (time-based payment from 500 to 10 000 Ariary, the maximum parking duration is 24 hours). Free parking places are usually guarded, equipped for customers of restaurants, hotels and supermarkets.
It is allowed to park at the sidewalks, if the carriageway width allows, but in this case it isn’t recommended to leave the car unattended in the dark.
Subtlety of car rental
Car rental lovers should take care of rent before coming to the country. This type of transport isn’t very popular in the Republic of Madagascar. You can rent a car only in major resort centers or travel agencies.
Rent of motor transport:
Budget – 020-22-611-11, 020-23-254-54.
Europcar – 020-23-336-47, 033-11-321-70.
Hertz – 020-22-660-68.
Madarental – 020-24-144-95, 020-22-247-00.
Toyota Rasseta – 020-22-257-70.
You can rent a car with a chauffeur from one of the local tour operators or official car dealers. Representative office of the international rental car company “Hertz” works in Antananarivo. And sometimes it’s cheaper to rent a car with a driver who is well-oriented on local roads. Owners of such companies also provide the opportunity to rent a motorcycle or a bicycle, on which you can tour all the city attractions.
On the island, there is another unusual type of transport, called pousse-pousse. It moves by the efforts of a single person, who pulls a two-wheeled construction designed for 1-2 passengers. Accordingly, this means a low speed, but also is much cheaper than a traditional taxi.
Inside the cities, it’s easier to go by taxi. However, it is necessary to consider, that here work both licensed and private carriers. Their tariffs are significantly different, so the cost of the trip should be known in advance.
Taking into account the specificity of traffic in the Republic of Madagascar, it is recommended to insure the car against all types of risk, not limited to acquiring a compulsory MTPL policy. The largest malagasy companies, working in this area, are “Ny Havana” and “ARO”. The cost of insurance premium depends, first of all, on commercial value, age, and also car class.
The main fuel types are diesel (about 2,500 Ar/l), AI-92 and AI-95 petrol (the cost is approximately the same – on average, 3000 Ar/l). Petrol, oil and lubricants comply with international quality standards. In rural areas, gas stations are located only in large localities.
Useful Phone Numbers
International code of Madagascar – 8-10-261.
Firefighters-rescuers – 18, 118, 020-22-225-66.
Police – 17, 117 (the duty unit);
020-22-227-36 (central police station);
020-22-205-84, 020-22-230-84, 020-22-214-65 (criminal brigade);
020-22-227-35 (road inspection brigade).
Gendarmerie – 034-17-626-63, 034-14-005-23.
Ambulance – 020-22-357-53.
Tow truck – 032-07-003-03.
In Madagascar, a national Russian driver’s license is recognized de facto, but you may need a license of an international model, in particular, for car rental. It’s quite easy to issue such a driver’s license – it’s done right on our website.