Travelling to Madagascar was a wonderful experience. We got to see the famous Baobab trees, lemurs, and interact with the friendly locals.
However, it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows while travelling in this far off destination. Along the way, we experienced many painful situations that definitely needs to be addressed in order to make the countries’ tourism be a better experience
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly in Madagascar
The lemur is one of the most popular reason to visit Madagascar with currently 105 recognized species living in the national parks and nature reserves. I personally saw five species of lemurs when I went to do the lemur safari’s.
Other unique animals I saw includes two specifies of mongoose and the fossa.
I was blown away by the landscape of Madagascar. From beaches to jungles to mountains, they have it all. And with only one week in the country, we barely scratched the surface.
Because I love landscape photography, this place was definitely heaven for me. I personally enjoyed taking pictures of the mountains and the Avenue of the Baobabs.
We found the people in Madagascar to be warm and laid back. They were especially ecstatic when they hear you attempt to say some words in Malagasy.
There’s also nothing more heart warming than to see friendly Malagasy kids come out of their homes with a big smile while waving cheerfully at you as your vehicle passes through their village.
If you like French cuisine, Madagascar has affordable fine dining available for a very affordable price. You can get a really nice meal for $10-$15 CAD that would normally cost $30-$50 CAD in Canada.
Their local Malagasy food is also quite good – we especially liked their duck, beef, and pork chops.
Corruption. The moment I entered the Antananarivo airport, many airport officials including some of the immigration officers and bag handlers were asking me for a bribe. Not all of them were corrupt, of course, and some were quite friendly and followed the rules. But the ones that try and extort a bribe from you definitely make the good ones look bad.
This is sad because Madagascar is a beautiful country with friendly people; but, when people are underpaid, some people will take measures into their own hands to earn more money the crooked way. And of course, there will always be people out there that enjoy abusing their position of power to extort people.
My recommended solution is not to give any corrupt officials any bribe and a firm “no” will often be enough.
There is a massive amount of food poisoning and diarrhea that can occur from eating food in Madagascar. While the food in the country is very delicious; cleanliness and proper food preparation is not practiced.
I was travelling with my girlfriend and my sisters and we all had stomach aches and bouts of diarrhea at some point during our trip. However, I personally had it worst as before we left, I had a really bad food poisoning. As I was fighting food poisoning on the way to the airport, I felt extremely nauseous from the smell of pollution and massive traffic.
While dying from food poisoning, some corrupt bag handlers were asking me for a bribe as I went through the security check points in the airport.
My food poisoning didn’t heal for another 48 hours after the bout occured.
I was talking to the local Malagasy people and they told me they know all the problems their country is facing. But, they also think it’s too hard to fix because the corruption runs too deep that it’s become cultural.
Despite the bad and the ugly, I think the country is an amazing place to visit and definitely worth the time to see. There’s something in Madagascar for everyone and your experience there will be an adventure you will never forget.