MADAGASCAR

MADAGASCAR

MADAGASCAR

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Name: Rova of Antananarivo
Location: Antananarivo, Madagascar
The Rova of Antananarivo is a royal palace complex (rova) in Madagascar that served as the home of the sovereigns of the Kingdom of Imerina in the 17th and 18th centuries, as well as of the rulers of the Kingdom of Madagascar in the 19th century. Its counterpart is the nearby fortified village of Ambohimanga, which served as the spiritual seat of the kingdom in contrast to the political significance of the Rova in the capital. Located in the central highland city of Antananarivo, the Rova occupies the highest point on Analamanga, formerly the highest of Antananarivo's many hills. Merina king Andrianjaka, who ruled Imerina from around 1610 until 1630, is believed to have captured Analamanga from a Vazimba king around 1610 or 1625 and erected the site's first fortified royal structure. Successive Merina kings continued to rule from the site until the fall of the monarchy in 1896, frequently restoring, modifying or adding royal structures within the compound to suit their needs.

Over time, the number of buildings within the site varied. Andrianjaka founded the Rova with three buildings and a dedicated tomb site in the early 17th century.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rova_of_Antananarivo
Name: Avenue of the Baobabs
Location: Menabe, Madagascar
The Avenue of the Baobabs is a prominent group of Grandidier's baobabs lining the dirt road between Morondava and Belon'i Tsiribihina in the Menabe region of western Madagascar. Its striking landscape draws travelers from around the world, making it one of the most visited locations in the region. It has been a center of local conservation efforts, and was granted temporary protected status in July 2007 by the Ministry of Environment, Water and Forests—a step towards making it Madagascar's first natural monument.

Along a 260m stretch of the road is a grove of 20–25 Adansonia grandidieri baobabs. An additional 25 or so trees of this species are found growing over nearby rice paddies and meadows within 9.9 acres of land. The trees, which are endemic to Madagascar, are about 30m in height.

The baobab trees, known locally as renala (Malagasy for "mother of the forest"), are up to 2,800 years old. Over the years, as the country's population grew, the forests were cleared for agriculture, leaving only the baobab trees, which the locals preserved as much for their own sake as for their value as a food source and building material.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avenue_of_the_Baobabs
Name: Isalo National Park
Location: Ihorombe, Madagascar
Isalo National Park is a National Park in the Ihorombe Region of Madagascar. The park is known for its wide variety of terrain, including sandstone formations, deep canyons, a palm-lined oases, and grassland. The closest town is Ranohira. 

A local guide is required for visitors entering the park, and guides and porters can be hired in Ranohira. Treks in the park can last from several hours to a week or longer. The park includes several natural swimming pools which are popular among tourists, and are excellent sites to see the Benson's Rock Thrush. The main threat to this park comes from illegal wildfires set in the park. The wildfires limit the extent of forest and maximize grasslands used by cattle.

A total of 340 faunal species are known to inhabit the area, including 82 species of birds, 33 species of reptiles, 15 species of frogs and 14 species of mammals. Notable examples include the Madagascar ground boa Acrantophis dumerili, the white-lipped bright-eyed frog and the Malagasy rainbow frog. The many species of bird found here include Benson's rock thrush, the knob-billed duck and the Madagascar ibis. 

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isalo_National_Park
FLIGHT TIMES / MAJOR CITIES
PLEASE SEE BELOW MAJOR CITIES IN MADAGASCAR / CLICK OR TOGGLE BELOW FOR FASTEST AVERAGE FLIGHT TIMES FROM USA.

New York: TBC
Washington DC: TBC

New York: TBC
Washington DC: TBC

COUNTRY INFORMATION GUIDE
PLEASE SEE BELOW FACTS, USEFUL US GOVERNMENT TRAVEL LINKS AND BUSINESS VISITOR ACTIVITIES, FOR TRAVEL TO MADAGASCAR.
FACTS:
Official Languages: Malagasy / French
Currency: Malagasy Ariary (MGA)
Time zone: EAT (UTC+3)
Drives on the right
Calling code: +261
Local / up-to-date weather in Antananarivo (and other regions): BBC global weather – click here
US GOVT TRAVEL LINKS:

For more useful information on safety & security, local laws / customs, health and more, please see the below official US travel.state.gov web link for Madagascar travel advice. NB: Entry requirements herein listed are for US nationals only, unless stated otherwise.

You can also find recommended information on vaccinations, malaria and other more detailed health considerations for travel to Madagascar, at the below official US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) weblink.

BUSINESS VISITOR ACTIVITIES*:
Activities you may undertake on a business visa / as a business visitor:
PERMISSIBLE
ATTENDING MEETINGS / DISCUSSIONS: TBC
ATTENDING A CONFERENCE: TBC
RECEIVING TRAINING (CLASSROOM-BASED): TBC
NON-PERMISSIBLE
AUDIT WORK: TBC
PROVIDING TRAINING: TBC
PROJECT WORK: TBC
*This information does not constitute legal advice and is not an exhaustive list. For a full legal assessment on business visitor activities, please revert to your internal company legal team / counsel.
TRAVEL INFORMATION**
It is highly recommenced that you access the above official US travel.state.gov web link and read all safety & security information prior to making your travel arrangements / planning your trip.
PLEASE CLICK / TOGGLE BELOW FOR USEFUL TRAVEL INFORMATION TO MADAGASCAR.

Local money is the Malagasy ariary, denoted by the symbol “Ar” (ISO code: MGA). Ariary banknotes come in denominations of 100, 200, 500, 1000, 2000, 5000, 10000 and 20000 Ar.

The ariary is subdivided into 5 iraimbilanja, making it one of only two non-decimal currencies, but travellers will never have to deal with this miniscule unit of currency. Occasionally, you will see prices in Malagasy francs, which was the currency used before the introduction of the ariary. Five Malagasy francs are worth one ariary.

There are ATMs in larger cities and bigger towns where you can withdraw ariary cash with Visa, Visa Electron, Mastercard, Maestro, Union Pay. Diners club, American Express, Discover card. The withdrawal limit is (usually 400,000Ar). ATMs are frequently en panne due to connection problems or other technical difficulties. Carry a US dollar or euro emergency reserve with you.

  • BMOI ATMs take only Visa card.
  • BOA-Bank of Africa ATMs take Visa card.
  • BNI ATMs take Mastercard and visa card.
  • BFV Societe Generale ATMs take Mastercard, Visa card, Maestro, Union Pay, Diners Club, American Express and Discover cards. There was no ATM fee with a Mastercard.
  • MBC-Mauritius Commerce Bank ATMs take Mastercard, Visa card, Diners Club and Discover cards.

Credit cards are accepted by many hotels, restaurants and shops in Antananarivo and Nosy Be, You may have too pay an extra charge for the credit card commission, which ranges between free and 8%.

Occasionally, hotels and other services used by travellers are quoted in euros. Generally, payment in the local currency is expected but euros are usually also accepted. If you wish to pay in euros, clarify the conditions at which the euro price is converted to avoid that a very bad exchange rate is applied.

For changing money, as of December 2018, locals will not recommend going to a bank, but rather use the services of a money changer. Money changers are usually ambulant. Ask the receptionist of your accommodation or an expatriate living in Madagascar to recommend you one. Usually, the money changer will come to your hotel for the transaction. You get better rates for large denominations of euros and US dollars and UK pounds and rates are better in Antananarivo than in provincial cities.

Socimad exchange have a Bureau de change (open 24 hours TV) at the Ivato airport, and one in downtown (Lalana Radama 1).

BY PLANE:

Tsaradia Airlines (part of Air Madagascar) and Madagasikara Airways serve many destinations throughout the country, and provide a much faster option than driving given the poor state of many roads. Tsaradia airlines is notorious for changing flight schedules and cancelling flights. While the airline will provide you with a hotel and book you on the next available flight in the case of a cancellation, don’t book tight connections and always confirm your flight time the night before.

  • The good news is airfares have got cheaper. You can now fly from Antananarivo to Nosy-be for 420,000 Ar with a 20-kg bag, or 360,000 Ar with out a bag.
  • Tsaradia Airlines tickets can be booked on its website.
    Passengers who arrive in Madagascar on a long-haul flight with Air Madagascar no longer get a 25% discount on Tsaradia Airlines.

BY TRAIN:

As of 2018 there is no service to Antananarivo. Check Madarail for updates.

There are four rail lines in Madagascar:

  • Antananarivo-Ambatondrazaka via Moramanga, you can get on the train between Moramanga and Ambatondrazaka.
  • Antananarivo-Antsirabe
  • Fianarantsoa-Manakara three times a week each direction.
  • Antananarivo-Toamasina: between Moramanga and Toamasina approximately twice a week.With the Malagasy railway network dating from the colonial period, breakdowns are frequent due to poor maintenance, and a line may be closed for several weeks.

The train is not the fastest and most comfortable means of travel, but it lets you admire the magnificent landscapes (especially on the line connecting Fianarantsoa to Manakara) and discover the Malagasy fruits and dishes offered at every stop. You can taste what is in season at little cost: crayfish, bananas, cinnamon apples, sambos, zebu sausages, oranges.

Travelling by train is cheap (1st class from Fianarantsoa to Manakara for 25,000 Ar. You want to choose a 1st class seat; or get up very early if you want to be sure to get a 2nd class ticket since it is always extremely crowded (the train is the only mean of transport for many villagers) and no booking is possible in 2nd class. The train that runs between Manakara and Fianarantsoa is unreliable because of the poor condition of the tracks.

For short trips, you might be able to board a goods train. Ask the driver but make sure you get off the train before entering the big cities since this way to travel is not totally legal.

BY CAR:

Madagascar’s roads are almost all of very low grade (with the exception of 2 routes leading out of Tana). Many roads are studded with potholes and are quagmires in the rainy season. Travel by road will almost always take much more time than you would normally expect. Hire of a 4WD vehicle can reduce this problem but the cost will be higher but still very cost effective if you are not travelling alone and able to split the rental fee between the members of your group (at least US$70/day/car as of October 2014). In nearly all cases a car rental will include the cost of a driver and his accommodation, but verify when booking your rental; most companies will not rent a car without a driver, and in many cases the driver can act as your guide and translator as well.

BY TAXI-BROUSSE:

Taxi-brousse, or interurban shared taxi, is the way most natives travel around the country. There are three major modern roads in the country: RN7 from Tana to Toliara, RN2 from Tana to Tomasina (via Brickaville) and RN4 from Tana to Mahajanga. Trips between those towns take about a day whereas traveling between Tana and Taolagnaro, a south-eastern coastal town, would take about 3 or 4 days due to the condition of the road. Travel is cramped and don’t expect air conditioning. Expect dust to be a problem in the dry season. Travel by taxi-brousse is guaranteed to test one’s patience and sanity, but there is quite possibly no better way to meet and interact with the locals and experience Madagascar as the Malagasy do.

Taxi-brousse is by far the cheapest way to travel, but do not expect to leave or arrive on time. Indeed, the drivers wait for their 15 seats small buses to get full before leaving, therefore a few hours delay is never excluded. However, during the trip it allows you to admire the breathtaking landscapes Madagascar holds. Destinations to most national parks and towns can be reached from “Antananarivo”, drivers will happily drop you off en route to their final destination.

  • Cotisse Transport is one of the best ways to get around, to/from Mahajanga, Morondava, Fianarantsoa, Toamasina.
  • Besady Plus buses leave on time, whether full or not. The provide free wifi and go between Antananarivo and Nosy Be via Ambanja, and from Antananarivo to Sainte Marie via Toamasina. The tickets include sea transfer.

BY TAXI-BE:

In Tana, the cheapest way to get around is by taxi-be, or big taxi, which is a bit larger than a mini-van. There is one aisle with seats to fold down so they can cram in even more people. During peak season, buses run frequently. Prices are around 600 Ar, as of November 2018, the 183 which is one of the buses going to Cotisse Transport costs 400 Ar.

BY BOAT:

If you are looking for an unusual holiday, a yacht charter to Madagascar might be a good choice.

For those who would like to bareboat, a “guide” is usually included in the price of the yacht charter. Although obligatory, he comes with the price and is essential for the multitude of services he will provide. He will prepare the food, recommend anchorages, know where to fish and refill the water tanks. He will speak the local language and have an established relationship with the local people. He will protect the boat from theft when you leave it to explore on land. The guide lives completely on the exterior of the boat and does not require a cabin. A yacht charter to Madagascar is a bit of a “Robinson Crusoe” adventure. Once you embark, you will not be able to stock up provisions again and must live off the fish and seafood you will catch for yourself (or with your guide). So take great care with your provisioning list.

This problem can be avoided by chartering one of the crewed catamarans. The boats are designed for stability so sea sickness is not really a problem. The crew prepare the boat with linen, food and drinks before your arrival -basically these boats are like a personal floating hotel. Depending on which boat you choose you could receive excellent service and food and suggestions of where to go and what to do. Choose your catamaran carefully as there are some really old ones in service- make sure the crew can speak your language.

BY BICYCLE:

Madagascar is a great place to tour by bike and staying in small towns and villages along the way gives a real sense of what the country is all about. A mountain bike or heavy duty tourer at least is required as the roads can be in poor to terrible condition. In the rainy season on the east coast the main north-south road can become impassable, possibly leading to a two-day walk – over soft sand in one section – this is not an easily rideable route. Generally there is little to no traffic which makes cruising around a great pleasure. The people are amazingly friendly and you’ll be greeted with crowds of children shouting ‘Vazaha’ in every village.

There are few or no facilities for cyclists, so be prepared to camp rough (ask if it is somebody’s land and never too near a family grave) or sleep in very basic guesthouses. Likely you will be invited to stay in people’s houses. Bring a spare tire, puncture kit, chain, brake or gear cable, derailleur and all the tools you need.

EAT:

The cheapest way to get a meal is to eat at a “hotely”. A plate of rice, laoka (malagasy for a side dish accompanying rice) like chicken, beans or pork, and rice water costs about 1300 Ar. For 200 Ar extra you can get a small glass of homemade yoghurt.

Bananas (hundreds of varieties) and rice cakes (Malagasy ‘bread’) are staple ‘street food’ and available everywhere. Coffee is very good, usually hand-made by the cup and served very sweet with condensed milk.

Steak-frites is available in restaurants in the larger towns.

Supermarkets:

There are supermarkets all over Madagascar. The four biggest supermarkets chains are Shoprite, Score, Leader price and Supermaki. All four Western style supermarket chains are well stocked. There are many leader price & Shoprite branded goods but also some more local produce (veg, spices, etc.) Shoprite a (South African-owned chain with stores in 15 African countries) is slightly cheaper and has many stores in Antananarivo, Mahajanga, Toamasina and Antsirabe.

DRINK:

There is no safe tap water so be prepared with bottled water, which is usually easily obtainable. The only other option is ranon’apango (RAN-oo-na-PANG-oo) or rice water (water used to cook rice, which will therefore have been boiled). It’s particularly important to plan ahead if visiting rural areas. It is worth taking with you some chlorine tablets, which can be used to make the local water drinkable.

In towns, roadside drink stands, stores and bars are plentiful. Most sell a range of drinks including bottled water, Fanta, Coca Cola and Madagascar’s beer, Three Horses Beer (THB). You can also try the bubblegum flavoured ‘Bonbon Anglais’, which is to South American Inka Cola, although it may be sold as ‘limonade’ – leading you to think it may be lemonade.

Home brewed rum, and creme de coco, is also available in many flavours.

Lodging quality varies dramatically throughout the country, from dorm-style rooms to luxury five-star resorts. In most places room prices will be quoted per room, although many luxury resorts quote prices per person. Insect nets and private bathrooms are provided in nearly all of the more upscale lodging, although in lower-priced establishments you may need to provide your own bug net. There are backpacker hostels in a few places with prices from $5 usd.

Vanilla and other spices are cheap in Madagascar compared to Europe or elsewhere, and the quality (especially of vanilla) is very good. (Vanilla is about €2 for 10 pods in Mada, compared to €15 in France.)

**All travel information has been sourced from wikivoyage. However like wikipedia, wikivoyage is an open platform editable by any member of the public. Therefore, although very useful, all above information IS INDICATIVE ONLY and must be verified prior to personal use. Moreover, if you wish to see more information please visit: https://en.wikivoyage.org/wiki/Madagascar
TOP ATTRACTIONS
PLEASE CLICK / HOVER ON THE IMAGES BELOW FOR MORE INFORMATION.
Name: Rova of Antananarivo
Location: Antananarivo, Madagascar
The Rova of Antananarivo is a royal palace complex (rova) in Madagascar that served as the home of the sovereigns of the Kingdom of Imerina in the 17th and 18th centuries, as well as of the rulers of the Kingdom of Madagascar in the 19th century. Its counterpart is the nearby fortified village of Ambohimanga, which served as the spiritual seat of the kingdom in contrast to the political significance of the Rova in the capital. Located in the central highland city of Antananarivo, the Rova occupies the highest point on Analamanga, formerly the highest of Antananarivo's many hills. Merina king Andrianjaka, who ruled Imerina from around 1610 until 1630, is believed to have captured Analamanga from a Vazimba king around 1610 or 1625 and erected the site's first fortified royal structure. Successive Merina kings continued to rule from the site until the fall of the monarchy in 1896, frequently restoring, modifying or adding royal structures within the compound to suit their needs.

Over time, the number of buildings within the site varied. Andrianjaka founded the Rova with three buildings and a dedicated tomb site in the early 17th century.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rova_of_Antananarivo
Name: Avenue of the Baobabs
Location: Menabe, Madagascar
The Avenue of the Baobabs is a prominent group of Grandidier's baobabs lining the dirt road between Morondava and Belon'i Tsiribihina in the Menabe region of western Madagascar. Its striking landscape draws travelers from around the world, making it one of the most visited locations in the region. It has been a center of local conservation efforts, and was granted temporary protected status in July 2007 by the Ministry of Environment, Water and Forests—a step towards making it Madagascar's first natural monument.

Along a 260m stretch of the road is a grove of 20–25 Adansonia grandidieri baobabs. An additional 25 or so trees of this species are found growing over nearby rice paddies and meadows within 9.9 acres of land. The trees, which are endemic to Madagascar, are about 30m in height.

The baobab trees, known locally as renala (Malagasy for "mother of the forest"), are up to 2,800 years old. Over the years, as the country's population grew, the forests were cleared for agriculture, leaving only the baobab trees, which the locals preserved as much for their own sake as for their value as a food source and building material.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avenue_of_the_Baobabs
Name: Isalo National Park
Location: Ihorombe, Madagascar
Isalo National Park is a National Park in the Ihorombe Region of Madagascar. The park is known for its wide variety of terrain, including sandstone formations, deep canyons, a palm-lined oases, and grassland. The closest town is Ranohira. 

A local guide is required for visitors entering the park, and guides and porters can be hired in Ranohira. Treks in the park can last from several hours to a week or longer. The park includes several natural swimming pools which are popular among tourists, and are excellent sites to see the Benson's Rock Thrush. The main threat to this park comes from illegal wildfires set in the park. The wildfires limit the extent of forest and maximize grasslands used by cattle.

A total of 340 faunal species are known to inhabit the area, including 82 species of birds, 33 species of reptiles, 15 species of frogs and 14 species of mammals. Notable examples include the Madagascar ground boa Acrantophis dumerili, the white-lipped bright-eyed frog and the Malagasy rainbow frog. The many species of bird found here include Benson's rock thrush, the knob-billed duck and the Madagascar ibis. 

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isalo_National_Park
FLIGHT TIMES / MAJOR CITIES
PLEASE SEE BELOW MAJOR CITIES IN MADAGASCAR / CLICK OR TOGGLE BELOW FOR FASTEST AVERAGE FLIGHT TIMES FROM USA.

New York: TBC
Washington DC: TBC

New York: TBC
Washington DC: TBC

...WHO ARE WE?

...WHO ARE WE?

…WHO ARE WE?
…WHO ARE WE?

My name is Manny and I would like to personally welcome you to Global Visas.

Our team is dedicated to providing a consular service which focuses on attention to detail, delivering a personal approach and with a high focus on compliance. Feedback is very important to us, therefore any comments you provide about our service are invaluable.

Our team is dedicated to providing a consular service which focuses on attention to detail, delivering a personal approach and with a high focus on compliance. Feedback is very important to us, therefore any comments you provide about our service are invaluableI have provided some of my own personal testimonials over my years in immigration below; working and leading on very large projects...

I have provided some of my own personal testimonials over my years in immigration below; working and leading on very large projects.

Please do also view our introductory video at the following web link:

https://usglobalvisas.com/personal/more/about-us

We look forward to working with you and meeting all your expectations.

Global Immigration Leader, Big 4

“Manny. You have really gone the extra mile in supporting the US Business Visitor Service. You have demonstrated real commitment and energy, working a late shift night while we try and find others to fill the position. I know that the other night you stayed until 4am. You are always so positive and your cheerful disposition and attention to detail has resulted in excellent client feedback. On Monday the key client came to London and she was effusive about the service. This is largely due the cover you provide.”

Internal stakeholder, Big 4

“Manny is a big reason why the move from (external provider) to the UK firm’s passport and visa provision has been so smooth. He’s an extremely likeable honest hard working guy who takes his role very seriously. We’re very fortunate to have him leading our dedicated team”

External client, Private practice

“Most of my contact was with Manpreet Singh Johal. He did the best job someone could imagine. Extraordinary service from his side.”

Team member, Big 4

“Working on two priority accounts is naturally pressurised especially where he has also been responsible for billing on both accounts; yet Manny delivers every time and this I believe is an exceptional quality.”

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