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Madagascar

 

Just call it "Tana"

The Capital of Madagascar is nearly impossible to avoid during a trip to the island since it has the primary (could say only) truly international airport. ​Expect to return to the bustling capital a few times during your trip, as it seems to operate as an unavoidable base for most trips. 

Accommodation in Tana is simple, to mingle with other backpackers you must head to Madagascar Underground Hostel. Otherwise there are a range of cheap private hotel rooms in town. Reservations are needed at the hostel in advance as it seemed to fill up quickly. 

Antananarivo is chaotic, the streets are a crazy mix of cars, buses and people walking. If you head out to explore the city, most of the stuff is within a walking distance of the main hotel area. I recommend taxing home anytime after sunset, as the city is known to be somewhat dangerous at night.

"The West Coast" of Mada

Morondava is impossibly far away from Tana. The ~400 mile journey is known to take anywhere from 14 to 20 hours which is why its common to split the drive in two. There is one advantage of the long drive, it deters many of the crowds you might otherwise expect. 

 

Morondava is the home base for what is often considered the West of Madagascar. Personally, this is what drew me to Mada in the first place since its home to the famous Avenue of Baobabs. After a visit to the avenue, plan for Tsingy National Park and Kirindy National Forest. The town itself is a sleepy beach town with enough infrastructure to support most tourist.