Ten Things to Pack for the Best World Schooling Trip to Madagascar

View over old port in Taolagnaro

We’ve compiled this post to help you determine what to pack for the best World Schooling trip to Madagascar. After many trips around Madagascar, living here for over five years, and hosting families at Voky Be Lodging here in Fort Dauphin (Taolagnaro), we have seen what makes folks feel at home and safe and maximize their experience.

With over 90% of the plants and animals in Madagascar uniquely found in the country, Madagascar can be a magical addition to your World Schooling Journey.

People often think of lemurs and rainforests, which are considered Madagascar, but you can find almost all climates and types of geography except for snow and ice.

The eastern part of the country has mountains. The central part plateaus, the west and south, deserts. The entire coastline is relatively unblemished, with gorgeous beaches, sometimes with perfect white sand, other times with mangroves or cliffs.

Most tourists to Madagascar hire guides, not because the country is dangerous (it’s not), but because each region has different traditions and customs, infrastructure is weak, and most people don’t, in fact, speak English or French. Without a guide, you may find yourself lost, stuck, or stopping to pee someplace where it’s taboo!

Arriving at the airport in Tana for your World Schooling Trip to Madagascar
Arriving at the airport in Tana for your World Schooling Trip to Madagascar

What to Pack for the Best World Schooling Trip to Madagascar:

  1. Picnic Blanket and Hammock: Pack a lightweight, portable picnic blanket that can be a comfortable outdoor learning space. Additionally, bring a portable hammock that can be easily set up between trees, providing a cozy spot for reading, studying, or simply relaxing amidst Madagascar’s natural beauty. Picnic tables are uncommon; sand is everywhere, so these are essentials!

Our Favorite Hammock with a mosquito net built-in…

We have had a picnic blanket like this since 2016 and use it all the time! They do get stained, but otherwise are durable.

2. Reliable Laptop or Tablet: A sturdy and reliable device is essential for educational purposes, research, online resources, and communication with other homeschoolers or tutors. Make sure to pack a laptop or tablet that meets your needs and is suitable for educational activities.

3. Power Adapter, Outlets Adaptors, and Surge Protector: While most things in Madagascar follow French or European norms, sometimes folks will use different plug types in Madagascar. I’ve encountered German and British options, so bring a power adapter and compatible plugs to ensure you can use local outlets. Additionally, bring a surge protector to safeguard your electronics from power fluctuations, on-offs, and surges to ensure longevity. Madagascar generally operates on French 220-240 volt electricity with dual prongs (not always grounded three prongs), so pack the appropriate power adapters and voltage converters for your electronic devices. I have also seen German 3-prong outlets in some hotels.

4. Bug and Fish Catching Kit: Foster curiosity and hands-on learning by including a bug-catching kit with containers, nets, magnifying glasses, and field guides. Similarly, consider packing a small fishing net for catch-and-release activities, allowing you to observe and learn about the local insects and aquatic life.

5. Snorkeling Gear: Explore Madagascar’s stunning marine life by packing snorkeling gear, including a mask, snorkel, and fins. This will enable you to discover the underwater world and gain insights into the diverse marine ecosystem.

6. Outdoor Science Kit & Travel-Friendly Microscope: Pack an outdoor science kit with a magnifying glass, compass, thermometer, and microscope. These tools allow you to conduct scientific observations and experiments in Madagascar’s natural environments. Bring a compact and travel-friendly microscope that allows for a close-up examination of specimens. This will provide hands-on learning opportunities for exploring biology, botany, and other scientific subjects in Madagascar’s diverse ecosystems.

7. Wraps and or compact towels. Hidden beaches, swimming opportunities, or simply getting wet, are typical in Madagascar. A small and compact towel or wrap that you can use as a cover-up, to dry up or sit on is essential!

8. Field Journal and Art Supplies: Encourage creativity and documentation by including a field journal and art supplies in your pack. Use the journal to record observations, sketches, and reflections during outdoor learning. Pack art supplies like colored pencils, markers, and watercolors to express your creativity and capture the beauty of Madagascar’s landscapes.

Walking on the beach in Mangily north of Toliara.
Walking on the beach in Mangily north of Toliara.

9. Portable Bluetooth Speaker: Bring a portable Bluetooth speaker to enhance your outdoor learning experiences during your World Schooling trip to Madagascar. You can use it to listen to educational podcasts and audio lessons or connect to YouTube to listen to local Malagasy music to create an immersive learning environment.

10. Outdoor Safety Gear: Prioritize your safety during outdoor activities by packing essential safety gear, including items such as sunscreen, insect repellent, a hat, sturdy shoes, a reusable water bottle, and a comprehensive outdoor first aid kit designed for backpackers. What to Pack for the Best World Schooling Trip to Madagascar that also ensures you can relax in remote regions is to ensure that you or your guide have a first aid kit on hand and know how to contact emergency services.

One reason that folks love to travel with Voky Be Tours for their World Schooling trip to Madagascar is the peace of mind provided by having a local guide who is also retired special forces.

This backpacker’s first aid kit should include adhesive bandages, gauze pads, antiseptic wipes, pain relievers, blister treatments, tweezers, a tourniquet, a syringe (for administering medication or cleaning wounds), and any necessary prescription medications. Additionally, consider including items like a CPR mask, emergency blanket, emergency whistle, and a multi-tool for added preparedness. With a well-equipped backpacker’s first aid kit, you’ll be ready to handle minor injuries and potential emergencies while enjoying the adventurous beauty of Madagascar’s outdoor environments.

Minimum First Aid



What not to pack
What not to pack and or what you must declare when arriving in or leaving Madagascar

Emergency Medical Insurance

Last but not least, Madagascar has decent but limited medical services. Travel Insurance with Medical Evacuation is crucial to prioritize your well-being and peace of mind while traveling to Madagascar. Ensure you have comprehensive travel insurance that includes medical evacuation coverage. In the event of a severe illness or injury that requires emergency medical evacuation, this coverage provides assistance in arranging and covering the cost of transportation to the nearest suitable medical facility or even repatriation to your home country if necessary. Travel insurance with medical evacuation ensures you can receive the most timely and appropriate medical care, regardless of location, including air evacuation. It relieves the financial burden of emergency medical transportation. It’s vital to have in your travel preparations to ensure a safe and worry-free journey in Madagascar.

You may also wish to add insurance for trip cancellation when planning your World Schooling trip to Madagascar. Trips to Madagascar can be an investment, and many parts of your trip may require a deposit or pre-payment. For this reason, insurance for trip cancellation or interruption can be helpful.

Here are a few common ones (we do not endorse these or have any relationship, I have bought but never had to use Allianz Global and IMG Global):

Allianz Global:

Allianz Global Assistance provides travel insurance plans that include medical evacuation coverage. They offer various options to suit different travel needs, including single-trip and annual plans.

World Nomads:

World Nomads is a well-known travel insurance provider offering comprehensive medical emergency and evacuation coverage. They have policies specifically tailored for adventure travelers and backpackers.

AXA Assistance:

AXA Assistance offers travel insurance policies that cover medical evacuation and emergency medical expenses. They provide 24/7 assistance services to support travelers in need of medical assistance.

IMG Global:

IMG Global offers a range of travel medical insurance plans that include emergency medical evacuation coverage. They have extensive networks of medical providers and assistance services to ensure you receive the necessary care in case of an emergency.

What (not) to Pack for the Best World Schooling Trip to Madagascar

Here’s a list of 10 things not to pack for your World Schooling trip to Madagascar:

  1. Sunscreen (unless it’s reef-safe): When selecting a sunscreen, make sure it’s reef-safe to minimize harm to the delicate marine ecosystems in Madagascar. Avoid bringing sunscreen containing harmful chemicals like oxybenzone and octinoxate, which can damage coral reefs.
  2. Battery-powered Devices: Instead of packing items that require disposable batteries, opt for solar-powered or rechargeable alternatives. This reduces waste and eliminates the need for battery replacements. Additionally, it’s important to note that battery recycling options may be limited or unavailable in Madagascar.
  3. Paper Books: Due to the high humidity in Madagascar, it’s best to avoid packing paper books. They can easily get damaged by moisture and add unnecessary weight to your luggage. Consider using e-books or digital reading devices as a lightweight and humidity-resistant alternative.
  4. Carry-ons that exceed 5 kg: Remember that Tsaradia, the local airline in Madagascar, has a strict carry-on weight limit of 5 kg. Ensure your carry-on bag does not exceed this weight limit to avoid any inconvenience or additional travel charges.
  5. Hair Dryer: Although accommodations in Madagascar may not provide hair dryers, there may also not be outlets available in bathrooms, and your hair dryer can flip the fuse, which is embarrassing. So, packing a hair dryer here is generally unnecessary and adds extra weight to your luggage. Consider air-drying your hair or using alternative hair styling methods during your trip.
  6. Travel Iron: It’s recommended not to pack a travel iron as laundry services are readily available in Madagascar, and most accommodations offer ironing facilities. Having your laundry done and ironed locally is a convenient and hassle-free option. And many places you won’t have anywhere to plug it in or use it.
  7. Non-Essential Valuables: Avoid bringing expensive jewelry, unnecessary electronics, or valuable items you don’t need during your trip. It’s always wise to travel light and minimize the risk of loss or theft. Only high-end hotels will have safes; you probably won’t want to leave these items behind. Gold bars. You might think this is a joke, but I recently saw a World Schooling post where someone claimed they traveled with gold bars. As you will note in the photo above, if you travel with gold, you must declare it.
  8. Excessive Clothing: It’s easy to overpack clothing items for a trip, but in Madagascar’s tropical climate, you can keep your clothing selection light and breathable. Pack versatile pieces that can be layered and mix-and-matched for different outfits to address various weather. Sandals and closed-toed walking shoes are a must. If you plan to stay for more than a month, pack a pair of walkable dress shoes; the likelihood of getting invited to a wedding or out to a fancy dinner is high!
  9. Bulky Towels: Most accommodations in Madagascar do provide towels for their guests, so there’s no need to bring bulky towels from home. That said, you should pack a towel; just opt for lightweight, quick-drying travel towels that take up less space in your luggage and can take to the beach or camping.
  10. Bulky Rolling Luggage: Avoid packing large, heavy rolling suitcases that can be difficult to maneuver on uneven surfaces and stairs. Many places in Madagascar have limited or no elevators, and sidewalks may be in poor condition. Instead, opt for a backpack or luggage with backpack straps and wheels, offering versatility and ease of movement in various terrains. This will make navigating through stairs, unpaved paths, and rugged landscapes much more convenient and comfortable during your trip.

By following these guidelines, you can pack efficiently and ensure a more enjoyable and hassle-free World Schooling trip to Madagascar.

Questions about packing for your World Schooling trip to Madagascar?

Remember that embracing imperfection is the best part of a big trip like this- you will forget, lose, and realize you should have packed something. And you will have a fantastic trip because one of the things traveling in Madagasar teaches you is that you don’t need much to be happy!

Food, family, a dry bed. Those are the basics. Everything else is a bonus!

Madagascar Weather: from Hot & Dry to Lush & Rainy

One thing to know about Madagascar weather is that it is rarely the same from day-to-day. If you were in Taolaganaro, Madagascar, last year (2022) for May and June, you would have experienced cold and rainy weather. This year (2023), however, we’ve had heat and drought. In fact, we’ve had pretty much perfect weather for a desert girl from Colorado like myself, cool nights, perfect for sleeping with a duvet, and warm sunny days.

Yesterday was particularly hot and dry. The social enterprise Tatirano where we buy purified rating water for the Cafe Bar Colorado and our drinking water, almost ran out. And then BOOM, out of the blue, around midnight, the monsoon started, and it hasn’t stopped.

School outing to a park yesterday. Hot and dry!
School outing to a park yesterday. Hot and dry!

Madagascar has a diverse range of landscapes, from lush rainforests to hot deserts, and Madagascar weather conditions can vary greatly depending on the region. When traveling in Madagascar, whether you are staying in a hotel, rental, or camping, you will be happier if prepared for the diverse weather conditions you may encounter.

In the rainforests, the weather is typically hot and humid during the day, with temperatures ranging from 20-30°C (68-86°F); occasionally, it gets hotter and sometimes much colder, in July in the highlands, we can get hail, and even near freezing temperatures!

In general, the nights can be cooler, with temperatures dropping to around 10-15°C (50-59°F); however, in the southern summer, you may encounter nights sticky humid nights without wind. Here in Fort Dauphin/Taolagnaro, that is rare, but in inland, be prepared. Packing lightweight, breathable clothing for the daytime and warm layers for the evenings is important, although you also probably want some light cotton sleepwear for warmer nights!

In the desert regions of Madagascar, the weather can be extremely hot during the day, with temperatures reaching as high as 40°C (104°F). However, temperatures can drop significantly at night, with lows around 5-10°C (41-50°F). Packing sun protection, such as hats and sunscreen, and warm layers for the chilly desert nights is important.

No matter where you are visiting, sleeping in a hotel, private lodging or camping in Madagascar, being prepared for rain is important. Madagascar has a tropical climate, and rain showers can occur at any time of year. Packing waterproof gear, such as raincoats and (if camping) tarps, is important to stay dry during wet weather.

You can ensure a comfortable and enjoyable camping trip by being prepared for the weather conditions you may encounter when camping in Madagascar.

How to Pack

When packing for a trip to Madagascar, it’s important to approach it as if you were going on a camping trip. With diverse landscapes and varying weather conditions, you’ll want to make sure you have the appropriate gear to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience.

As with any camping trip, it’s important to consider the climate and pack clothing that is both breathable and appropriate for the temperature. Lightweight, breathable clothing is essential in the hot and humid rainforest regions, while warm layers are necessary for cooler evenings. In the desert regions, sun protection and warm layers are necessary for chilly desert nights.

Additionally, you’ll want to consider other camping essentials such as a good quality tent or hammock, sleeping bag, and camping stove. It’s also important to bring along any necessary camping gear, such as a headlamp, portable water filter, and first-aid kit.

By approaching *any trip* to Madagascar as if it were a camping trip, you’ll be prepared for any Madagascar weather or environmental conditions that come your way, allowing you to fully enjoy the natural beauty and cultural experiences this unique destination has to offer.

Fort Dauphin: four (yes 4) climates in one!

Mangroves, mountains, beach, forest, city....
Madagascar Weather: a minute ago, the sun was shining, and now the clouds are rolling in over the mangroves and mountains!

The Taolagnaro District, Fort Dauphin region of Madagascar, is a unique destination that borders on four distinct climates: desert, beach, mountain, and rainforest. This means that when planning a trip to this region, it’s important to be prepared for various weather conditions.

In desert areas, temperatures can soar during the day and drop significantly at night, so it’s important to pack sun protection and warm layers. A sun hat is a must, as is a water bottle. The beach areas can be hot and humid, so lightweight, breathable clothing is a must. The mountainous regions can be cooler, so warm layers are necessary for comfort. And in rainforest areas, it’s important to pack waterproof gear to stay dry during rain showers.

By being prepared for all of these climates, you’ll be able to fully enjoy all that the Fort Dauphin region has to offer. Whether hiking through mountainous terrain, lounging on the beach, or exploring the lush rainforests, you’ll be ready for anything. So, pack smart and get ready for an unforgettable adventure in this unique and diverse corner of Madagascar.

Best Season to Visit based on Madagascar Weather?

Many sites will tell you that Madagascar experiences two distinct seasons: a rainy season from November to April and a dry season from May to October; however, that is not always true. It is important to note that during the rainy season, you can still experience hot and dry weather, especially in the country’s northern, western, and coastal regions, including Fort Dauphin. Conversely, during the dry season, you may experience unexpected rain showers or several days of constant rain.

It’s important to be prepared for the potential for heavy rain during the rainy season and the occasional rain showers during the dry season. This means packing appropriate rain gear such as waterproof jackets, rain pants, and waterproof hiking boots. Packing lightweight, breathable clothing to stay cool in hot and humid weather and warm layers for cooler evenings is also important.

In Fort Dauphin, the ocean water is generally warm from November through March or April, but you will also get higher humidity at this time. And even though it is shorts and flip-flop weather most of the year, ensure you have a warm sweater, and long pants, in your bag!

By being prepared for the varying weather conditions during both the rainy and dry seasons, you can fully enjoy all that Madagascar has to offer. Whether you’re exploring the lush rainforests or lounging on a tropical beach, you’ll be ready for whatever weather comes your way.


King bed with a mosquito net at Voky Be
King bed with a mosquito net at Voky Be

The mosquito factor is another reason to ensure you have both warm and light weight pants and long-sleeved shirts. These little boogers love to eat your ankles and the backs of your arms and legs at dusk and dawn. Indeed, more recent research indicates that the risk of getting bit by mosquitos that transmit malaria is in the early evening (not at night while you are sleeping).

Day Time Protection

During the daytime, when malaria transmission is low, you will primarily want protection for hikes or outings in nature or if you will be sitting in a room or restaurant near the water. A natural repellent like Badger (Deet Free) offers is probably sufficient.

Early Evening Protection

During the early evening, say 30 minutes or so before the sun sets, and then for the next few hours, likely when you are sitting outside enjoying dinner, you should have stronger protection. This means long pants and sleeves and or effective mosquito protection. You will notice that many restaurants put out mosquito coils at this time of day, if you don’t see any, feel free to ask. Our lived experience is that candles and citronella are *not* effective despite what some folks claim at this time of day!

I’ve found that OFF Mosquito repellent sticks, wipes, or sprays such as this one with “Picardin” are the most effective. Use them on your ankles or exposed body parts. I prefer the sticks because you don’t get it on your hands or in the air. Avoid aerosols if you will be flying…

Sleeping Protection

Napping in our favorite hammock with mosquito netting, bought on Amazon.
Napping in our favorite hammock with mosquito netting, bought on Amazon.

At night, you may not need a mosquito net or protection. If you are staying in an apartment or hotel without a net and it is the higher end (more expensive), you may find that lighting a mosquito coil somewhere in the room is sufficient. For example, in our lodgings at Voky Be, we offer mosquito nets in our ground-floor units but not our upper-floor units, as they rarely get mosquitos.

When camping, be diligent about keeping your tent shut or use a hammock with a built-in net. My absolute favorite camping item is my camping hammock with a built-in mosquito net that folds up small and fits in a day bag! Not only does it let me watch the stars (you do want a fly in case of rain), it also keeps all the bugs away!

You will also find mosquito nets such as the one below sold in most towns; however, if you will be taking a road trip or staying in Airbnbs and you don’t see mosquito nets in the pictures, you may want to bring your own, as while you may not catch malaria while sleeping, even one annoying mosquito can ruin your night’s sleep!

Sunny Days

In addition to packing for diverse weather conditions and mosquito protection, it’s crucial to prioritize sun protection during your trip to Madagascar. The country’s stunning landscapes and outdoor activities often expose travelers to prolonged sun exposure, making sun gear, hats, and sunglasses essential items to include in your packing list.

The intense tropical sun can be harsh, especially in the desert and beach areas of Madagascar. To shield yourself from harmful UV rays, pack wide-brimmed hats that provide shade for your face, neck, and ears. A sun hat not only protects you from sunburn but also helps keep you cool in hot weather. Sunglasses with UV protection are equally important to safeguard your eyes from the bright sunlight.

Alongside hats and sunglasses, consider packing lightweight, breathable clothing that covers your skin to minimize sun exposure. Opt for long-sleeved shirts and pants made from light fabrics that provide both sun protection and comfort. Alison’s preferred sun protection after 5 years in Madagascar is a hat and UV sun clothing, such as this swim shirt, which I have in both short and long-sleeved versions.

When possible, it is highly recommended to avoid using conventional sunscreen or opt for reef-safe sunscreen while visiting Madagascar. Traditional sunscreens often contain chemicals that can harm coral reefs and marine ecosystems when they wash off in the water. All waterways in the south drain into reef systems, so to minimize your impact on the environment, consider using reef-safe sunscreen brands that use mineral-based ingredients like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide or, better yet, sun clothes. These alternatives provide effective sun protection while less harmful to coral reefs and marine life. By making this conscious choice, you can help preserve the pristine beauty of Madagascar’s coastal areas and contribute to conserving its delicate ecosystems.

By prioritizing sun protection and including a sun gear, hats, and sunglasses in your packing, you’ll take crucial steps to safeguard your skin and eyes from the sun’s harmful rays and still be able to enjoy the beauty of Madagascar in comfort (no lobster skin)!


Remember, being prepared for weather fluctuations and mosquito protection is essential no matter the season or region you visit. Don’t forget to pack a variety of clothing options suitable for different climates, including lightweight and breathable clothes for the heat, warm layers for cooler evenings, and waterproof gear for rain showers. Additionally, take precautions against sun and mosquito bites by wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants during the heat of the day and or early evenings, using effective repellents, and considering mosquito nets for sleeping arrangements. With these preparations in place, you can embark on your journey with peace of mind and immerse yourself fully in the enchanting landscapes, unique wildlife, and rich culture of Madagascar.

Read our blog post on What to Pack for the best bet given Madagascar Weather!

Culture: Love Coffee? Get it local.

You’ve probably heard of Madagascar vanilla, but not coffee, as it is not (yet) widely exported. However, coffee is wildly consumed locally and has a long and rich tradition in Madagascar. Indeed, it we could say that it has an important part of daily life for many Malagasy people. Coffee is grown in various regions of Madagascar, and the island’s highlands all along the eastern coast, are particularly known for their exceptional coffee beans.

One of the unique aspects of coffee in Madagascar is how it is often consumed. Malagasy coffee is typically served with sugar. A lot of sugar. In fact, the sugar often becomes just as much a part of the coffee experience as the coffee itself. The sugar is used to balance the bitterness of the coffee, and it is not uncommon to see people add several spoonfuls, and if milk is used, it is usually sweetened condensed milk.

Kids Drink Coffee!

Another interesting aspect of the coffee tradition in Madagascar is that it is often given to children. While coffee is reserved for adults in many other countries, in Madagascar, it is common for children to enjoy coffee with a heavy dose of sugar. It is common to see children as young as five or six years old drinking coffee with their parents or grandparents. It is seen as a way of passing on tradition and simply a way of starting the day for families working in rice paddies or herding zebu.

Ceremonies and Welcomes

In addition to being a popular beverage, coffee also plays an important role in social customs in Madagascar. It is often served to guests as a sign of hospitality, and it is customary to offer coffee to visitors as a way of showing respect and making them feel welcome. In some parts of Madagascar, coffee is used in traditional ceremonies and rituals. For example, visit a the body of someone recently deceased. There will be coffee served in small cups to the guests throughout the day, and especially at night, when the family stays with the body (in the Antanosy traditions of the South this is done fro three days).

Overall, the coffee tradition in Madagascar is a unique and important part of the country’s cultural heritage. From how it is served with sugar to how it is given to children, coffee plays an important role in daily life and social customs. By understanding and appreciating the coffee tradition in Madagascar, we can better understand the country’s rich and diverse culture.

Ordering Coffee

In many restaurants patronized by foreigners, you will be served imported espresso from a coffee pod. Unless you ask for “cafe allonge” or the “cafe Maison.” When ordering coffee in a local spot or along the road, it most likely already be loaded with sugar, and it may be served in a communal cup, which may not be sanitary. If you can, ask for a fresh brew and rinse your cup with hot coffee before drinking. We generally drink black coffee at home, but after a long drive in the car, a stop along the road to drink the sweet, fresh coffee can be oddly refreshing.


Your best bet, if you are a coffee addict and or not fond of sugar or questionable water, is to buy and have roasted your grounds and travel with a thermos when venturing out for the day or a road trip. We always travel with an insulated thermos and sometimes a small percolator.

Buy Me a Coffee

enamel cup on cardboard -- street coffee!

In some areas of Madagascar, this phrase is used as a traditional and respected form of begging. The idea behind this practice is that the person asking for coffee is not simply asking for money but rather for a small act of kindness and hospitality. It is seen as a way for individuals to help each other out and/or make a request after someone has offered assistance, such as helping a stuck vehicle, answering a question, or giving directions. While it is ultimately up to the individual to decide whether or not to give money or buy a coffee for someone who asks, it is important to respond to this tradition with respect. In my own experience, it is generally older folks who make this request.

House Roasted Coffee

cowboy coffee
coffee over an open flame while camping

While coffee is an important part of the culture in Madagascar, it’s important to note that not all coffee is created equal. If you’re looking for an authentic experience, it’s best to avoid instant coffee or imported espresso and instead ask for Grandma’s house-roasted coffee.

At places like Voky Be, our coffee is roasted weekly in a large wok over an open flame, resulting in a rich and flavorful brew that’s best enjoyed black, without sugar. When we take clients camping, we always heat our fresh grounds with Tatirano over an open flame. Cowboy coffee is what we call this in Colorado, pouring off the top and leaving the grains in the bottom of the pot!

So, if you want to truly experience the coffee culture in Madagascar, seek out the local spots and try our traditional methods.

Off-Roading in Madagascar: A Thrilling Adventure

two guys on quads

If you’re an adventure seeker looking for a unique and exciting way to experience Madagascar, then off-roading with a guide is the way to go. Madagascar is known for its rugged terrain, wild landscapes, and challenging roads, making it a perfect destination for off-roading enthusiasts.

Renting a 4×4 in Madagascar costs about $75 per day, to which you need to add food, lodging, a driver, and a professional guide. This is a great option for families or groups who want to explore the country on their own terms, with the help of a knowledgeable driver who knows the terrain and can guide you to the best off-road destinations.

For those who want to up the ante, there are also options for off-roading on motorcycles, buggies, and quads. These vehicles offer a more exhilarating way to explore the rugged landscape of Madagascar, with the added benefit of accessing narrow side roads and trails that a 4×4 might not be able to navigate.

The roads in Madagascar are notoriously insane, with potholes and mud puddles the size of a bus, rocks, and rough terrain that will test even the most experienced drivers. However, the good news is that many of the roads are currently being built out, meaning that now is the time to experience the thrill of off-roading in Madagascar before the roads become more accessible.

If you’re up for a challenge and want to experience the natural beauty of Madagascar in a unique and exciting way, then off-roading with a guide is the way to go. With the help of a knowledgeable guide, you can explore hidden gems, and natural wonders and get a taste of the wild side of this amazing country.

Yves, the owner of Voky Be, is a retired special forces member with extensive experience in technical driving. He has a passion for adventure and loves nothing more than taking experienced drivers and riders on off-road expeditions in Madagascar. With his knowledge of the terrain and his expertise in the local culture, he can create a custom trip that will leave you breathless and exhilarated. Whether you want to explore the rugged countryside in a 4×4, navigate the winding roads on a motorcycle, or tackle the challenging terrain on a buggy or quad, Yves can create an unforgettable adventure that is tailored to your interests and skill level. Contact Voky Be to book your custom off-roading adventure with Yves today.

5 Considerations for Remote Work in Madagascar: A Digital Nomad’s Guide

View from Ankoba Beach Hotel
View from Ankoba Beach Hotel

Working in Paradise

Working remotely in the captivating landscapes of Madagascar presents a unique opportunity for digital nomads seeking a blend of work and adventure. To ensure a successful and fulfilling remote work experience, it’s crucial to consider various factors beyond connectivity and logistics. 

This blog post will explore seven essential considerations for digital nomads in Madagascar, covering everything from reliable telecom providers and internet access to lodging options, safety, and vibrant nightlife.

Alison is at work coaching for Bravely.

Alison is at work coaching for Bravely.

#1 Connectivity

If you will be hopping on calls, sending emails, uploading pictures, or anything else, you will need a reliable connection. The good news is that these can be found, but it’s not always easy. 

Malagasy Telecom Providers

Airtel, Telma, and Orange are the top telecom providers in Madagascar, offering reliable mobile data and internet services. Research their coverage and data plans to choose the most suitable option for your remote work needs.

In rural areas, Airtel sometimes gets the best coverage, as they have the widest coverage; however, they don’t have the best single strength. 

A speed test from my office at Voky Be on Jan 23rd, 2023.

Orange has a hub in Tana. Telma has lines coming in through Majunga and Taolagnaro. We moved back to Madagascar in 2018 because we got reliable data through Telma. We consistently get 20 to 40 MBP for up and download — I run 20 or more coaching calls over Zoom, GoogleMeet, and a proprietary Coaching platform every week! 

WiFi Strength

While mobile data coverage is generally good, the strength of WiFi connections can vary, although this is more the fault of the user (lodging) than the network. Prioritize accommodations with reliable WiFi, and don’t hesitate to inquire with hosts about the quality of their internet connection, ask for speed tests. If they cannot prove it, don’t believe it! 

Power Outages and Backup Solutions: 

Be prepared for occasional power outages in Madagascar, which may impact your ability to work remotely. Keep your devices fully charged, and consider carrying portable chargers or power banks as backup solutions. The capital city of Tana has the most outages, higher-end hotels will have generators, but many residences do not. 

Surge Protection: 

Use surge protectors to protect your electronic devices from unexpected power surges (or power drops) before and after outages. These devices will safeguard your equipment and prevent potential damage. I’ve known several people who didn’t hede this advice and ended up with fried PCs. 

#2 How long and where can you stay?

Visa Requirements and Long-Term Stays

Familiarize yourself with Madagascar’s visa requirements if you plan to stay long-term. The country offers 10-day and 60-day visas, with the possibility of a 30-day extension. Long-stay visas must be obtained from your home embassy before arriving. Read more about this in our FAQ post. 

The pre-covid proposal was accepted to create a 9-month Digital nomad visa, but I’ve not heard a peep about this since the borders have re-opened.

Where should you stay?  

Definitely book lodging for your first few nights and any transit nights. Tana, the Fly-inn Hotel, San Cristobal Boutique Hotel, and Relais de Plateaux (also has an amazing pool and spa) have shuttles, restaurants, and wifi. I’ve stayed in all these hotels, some rooms were better than others for wifi, but all were enough to complete my work. Platforms like Airbnb and Booking.com can help you find suitable accommodations, especially during high season.

If you fly into Fort Dauphin (Taolagnaro), where we are, we recommend that you stay with us (Alison & Yves of Voky Be).  The Ankoba Beach hotel has the best wifi connection of the nicer hotels in town, the others; it can be hit or miss.

You can find super cheap lodging in Madagascar; however, you must provide your own internet access, sometimes your own bedding, the WC and shower may be bucket based and so on. With this in mind, the best bet is to find lodging with all “modern” services in place. The investment is worth it and still likely a deal compared to other tropical beach towns!

Safety and Security

While Madagascar is a relatively safe destination, it sometimes has a negative reputation. I think this comes from the fact that most of the population does not speak English or French, and they don’t always notify foreigners of what is or isn’t acceptable. It’s very much a “live and let live” society until you break a rule! 

In this, you cannot count on the police or other services to respond in an emergency, so it’s recommended to travel with a guide outside of the cities and find out where you shouldn’t go. Like most countries, some neighborhoods and regions aren’t safe.

In this, it’s important to exercise general safety precautions. Be mindful of your surroundings, avoid displaying valuable items, and use secure transportation options, especially at night. In fact, most Malagasy do not travel at night (except to clubs). And if you don’t go out in the dark, it’s best to do so in pairs or a small group. 

For this same reason, prioritize accommodations in safe and well-regarded areas that have reliable power and internet!

Cafe Bar Colorado

#3 Nightlife and Social Scene

Malagasy universally love to dance and listen to music. In this, every city pretty much has a night a vibrant social scene with at least a few, if not many, nightlife options. You may also hear music and parties late into the night for special occasions such as weddings and circumcisions! 

In Taolagnaro, Las Vegas (slightly more high-end) and Florida (lots of girls, some working) provide the nightclub scene. La Kabane offers Friday night dancing and the Cafe Bar Colorado a chill vibe for playing billiards or enjoying a cocktail.  

Most towns also have an Expatriate and or English-speaking community. Just look for the white people. Joking. They are not always white; it’s just that some of us stand out more! People of all races, colors, and ethnicities are welcome in Madagascar. If you are lonely or want a better scene, check out Facebook to find local groups.

#4 Adventures & Culture Experiences 

Embrace the local culture by learning about local events, live music performances, and cultural festivals. Engaging with the local community can provide memorable experiences during your time in Madagascar. Depending on the time of the year, you may catch parades, such as for Women’s Day on March 8th or around the carnival and another Catholic holiday. In Taolagnaro, you can visit the Museum at the Fort and or find various workshops where local artisans are doing their work, you can visit the open markets and enjoy walking around town. 

View of Ankoba Beach from the Ankoba Beach Hotel

Ecotourism and Conservation: 

Madagascar is renowned for its unique biodiversity and stunning landscapes. Take advantage of your remote work setup to explore national parks, pristine beaches, and lush rainforests, allowing you to balance work and adventure. The best experiences are usually had when visitors plan for day trips, half-day trips or overnights on the weekend that take you to see wonders while staying in town during the day/week to get work done. 

Participate in responsible ecotourism activities that prioritize the well-being of lemurs and their habitats. Take the opportunity to visit Lemur sanctuaries or national parks that offer guided tours to observe these charismatic creatures up close. Learn about their behavior, conservation efforts, and their critical role in the island’s ecosystem. Choose reputable tour operators (such as Voky Be Tours, which is licensed) and sanctuaries such as Ranomafana, Nahampoana, and Berenty that contribute to the conservation and protection of lemurs and their natural environment. Avoid Zoos. 

In Taolagnaro, consider taking a boat ride through the tranquil mangroves to immerse yourself in the serenity of nature and beautiful views, ending up in Evahatra or Lokaro. Witness the intricate root systems, spot diverse bird species, and marvel at the mangroves’ ecological importance. See the rest of the Vokybe.com website for more!

Capture memorable moments during your encounters with lemurs and other creatures, like chameleons and a huge variety of geckos and butterflies, alongside vast and picturesque landscapes. Madagascar’s diverse wildlife and stunning scenery provide excellent opportunities for nature photography. 

While enjoying boat rides in mangroves and observing lemurs, be mindful of your environmental impact. Respect fragile ecosystems by avoiding littering, refraining from touching wildlife, and following sustainable tourism practices. Promote conservation efforts by spreading awareness about the importance of preserving Madagascar’s unique biodiversity.

#5 Daily Necessities: 

Access to groceries and cooking facilities is essential for longer stays. Major towns in Madagascar have supermarkets, while local markets offer fresh produce. In the Capital of Antananarivo, you can find just about anything; in the smaller towns, some items, such as vegetarian options, can be harder to find. Many people travel with their favorite snacks to supplement what they can buy.

Rice, fresh tomatoes, onions, garlic, leafy greens, seasonal fruit, fresh meats, beans, and pasta are pretty much staples anywhere. Fresh and local foods are very cheap, whereas imported goods, say soy milk or French cheese and wine, might cost *more* than you’d pay at home. Keep this in mind when budgeting.

Consider accommodations with kitchen facilities to maintain a flexible routine.


Most pharmacies are open during the day only; however, it is pretty standard that each town has a “pharmacy de guard” that is open 24 hours per day, in rotation with other pharmacies. The Local Police and doctors usually know who this is, and or it will be posted on the pharmacy door.

Many of your standard prescriptions can be picked up directly; they may or may not ask to see your prescription. That said, not all things are available in Madagascar, so if you are coming for a 2- or 3-month stay, you should bring everything.


Remote work in Madagascar offers an exciting blend of work and exploration. By considering essential factors such as reliable connectivity, accommodation, power outages, visas, safety, what you like to do for fun, and daily necessities, you can optimize your remote work or digital nomad experience in this remarkable country. Embrace the local culture, engage with the community, and make the most of your time in Madagascar, all while maintaining a productivity!