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Australia to Madagascar

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My son has to do an assignment on Madagascar and has found plenty of info on the internet. But believe it or not we are having trouble finding how far it is to fly from Australia, where the stopovers would be, where you land (the capital?)and which airlines would go there from Australia. Can anyone help? (We are from a country town in Victoria, Aus)

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    I can give you some info, Pee-Wee. I was in Madagascar last year and I lived there for 10 years back in the 70s. My wife is Malagasy and she returns there from Canada every year to visit her family.
    There is a good website which tells you the distance between places, it's called How far is it? You can find it at indo.com/cgi-bin/dist
    I quickly discovered that the distance between Adelaide and Antananarivo ( called Tana for short), the Malagasy capital, is 5,547 miles (8,926 km).
    We used to work in Papua New Guinea and the most direct route from that spot to Madagascar is to go with the shared Qantas/South African Airways flights between Sydney and Joburg.
    Perhaps the author named 'Think' did not think before his/her sarcastic and useless reply to your asking for help.
    There are two stopovers on these flights. One is Perth WA the other is the island of Mauritius. Mauritius is between Madagascar and Australia! Check it on an atlas. SAA and Qantas fly this route about three times a week. From Mauritius your son can pick up an Air Madagascar 737 which will take him to Tana in 1 hour 45mins. AirMAd operate this route with twice daily flights three days a week.
    The main airport for Mscar is called Ivato. It is about 20 odd km out of the city, but the road is in bad condition and the traffic heavy. Taxis are quite cheap but you have to haggle, as you do for most things in Madagascar. Pickpockets are a great danger in Tana. It is a great little city, but traffic congestion makes it almost unbearable at times(But so too is the gridlock in Dublin, which I revisited this spring). Where in Madagascar is your son going? Tana is up on the high plateau and the climate is great; elsewhere it can be very,very hot in the south and west, it can be very hot and humid all along the east and in the north.
    Altho they say Tana is malaria-free, don't believe it. On the coasts there is malaria, anyone coming up to Tana from the coast can pass on malaria if the same mosquito which bites that person then has a sip from you! Tell your son to start take nivaquine antimalarial two weeks before travelling to Madagascar. Also, tell him to make sure his anti-tetanus is up to date, also his polio renewal. Rabies is very common in Madagascar.
    Hardly anyone outside of tourism understands English in Madagascar, French is the language you need for talking to people. Of course, everyone speaks Malagasy, which is quite an easy language to pronounce and learn some common words and expressions. It really helps to have some Malagasy words because outside towns the people don't understand French.
    Madagascar is metric. The euro is accepted at banks and in large shops, hotels, etc. as is the US dollar, but that's about it: I had many banks refuse Canadian dollar travellers cheques. The Malagasy currency has just been changed, they have reverted to a system they had before colonization by the French.
    BTW. If your son has the opportunity of a few days stopover in Mauritius, tell him to do so: it is a beautiful small island with great scenery, wonderful beaches.
    AirMad also flies to and from La Reunion ('think,' that too is between Oz and Mscar!! It has connecting flights to South Africa, Nairobi, Comoros as well as code sharing with Air France to Paris. At one time they flew to Singapore, but I believe they gave that route up as it was uneconomical.
    If your son has his accommodation paid, then he is OK because the decent hotels catering for westerners are quite expensive. If he needs something downmarket then I can recommend Saka Manga (Blue Cat), we stayed there last year and found it clean, central and affordable. All the taxi drivers will know it. They take US dollars. You can find them on the Internet and e-mail them for quotes and bookings.
    Hope that this info is helpful. Let me know if there is anything more you want.
    I'm sure your son will really enjoy Madagascar.

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