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Madagascar

Venture in the “Red Island”

Far and mysterious, the island of Madagascar evokes African traditions, baobabs and lemurs but also a mosaic of peoples making the cultural wealth of Malagasy society. Still little developed tourist, the island is among the poorest countries on the planet and really gains to be known, both for its exceptional natural wealth and for the kindness of its inhabitants of which about 20% still speak French.

The essentials

Find an overview of the whole year’s climate and weather data for your next holiday destination Madagascar USA.

The local currency is the Malagasy ariary

Time zone: Jet lag with Paris, Is + 1 hour in the summer and also in winter

Documents

– Passeport + Visa short stay non transformable (31 €)

When to go?

Best time to leave: From April to November

Mean temperature: Between 15ºC and 27ºC

Average water temperature : Between 26ºC and 30ºC

The unavoidable events

Here is a small selection of events not to be missed during your stay in Madagascar:

  • Alahamady Be (Malagasy New Year) 3-5 February 2017
  • Independence Day on the Island June 26, 2017
  • The Whale Festival on Sainte-Marie Island July 2 to 10, 2017
  • The Famadihana (funeral rite) October 1- 2016

What to do in Madagascar?

Madagascar is known for its diverse fauna and flora that will delight all types of travelers! For this we have compiled a list of activities not to be missed if you decide to choose this destination for your next vacation:

Sunset at the alley of the Baobabs:

An hour’s drive from Morondava, there is a place you must not miss during your stay in Madagascar: an alley of baobabs which, at sunset, will offer you a breathtaking show!

Do not miss to visit the capital of Madagascar: Antanararivo will surprise you with its architecture, its palaces, its craft markets and its colonial past …

Have you ever seen a forest filled with stones? In Madagascar, there are! Indeed, the Tsingy of Bemaraha are worth the detour although they are a little difficult to access. They are a unique attraction that you must add to your activities to do on the island.

During the whale season, from June to September, go out to sea in Sainte-Marie and meet the whales “Malagasy”: it is during this period that you will be able to contemplate their parade and listen to their songs.

If you like scuba diving, Madagascar will surprise you: the island is rich in fauna and flora unique in the world that it is on the North coasts, in the East but also in the South of the island.

Transport and Tips

Getting around Madagascar is an adventure in itself.

The taxi-bush is probably the most popular and economical means of transport (the tariffs are fixed by the government and take into account the distance, travel time and road conditions) in Madagascar even if Comfort is not always guaranteed.

Vehicles wait to be full to leave and stop frequently to refuel or drop passengers.

Avoid in any case take a taxi-bush at night as drivers tend to be tired and roads are lit or unlit, making traffic very dangerous.

If you want to go to Mahajanga, Tamatave or Soanierana-Ivongo, know that it is also possible to travel aboard fast connections, more expensive but also more comfortable and especially, punctual.

In town you will have the choice between city taxis, taxis-be and special taxis, individual or collective. They generally do not have meters and you will have to set the tariff by boarding.

Maldives

A threatened Eden

Maldives-travel

Seen from the sky, the coral atolls forming the Maldives resemble small confetti floating on the Indian Ocean. Formerly difficult to access except for luxurious resorts, the archipelago is now open to tourism, allowing travelers from all over the world to visit this paradise threatened by rising waters. You can also discover the beautiful colored houses of Male and dive into one of the most beautiful seabed in the world.

The essentials

All the information you need to plan your trip to Maldives

The local currency is the Maldivian rupee

Documents: ID card or passport + Tourist visa 30 days on arrival (free of charge)

When to go?

Best time to leave: From December to April

Mean temperature: Between 26ºC and 32ºC

Average water temperature: Between 28ºC and 30ºC

The unavoidable events

Here is a small selection of events not to be missed during your stay in Martinique.

  • The Day of the Republic November 11
  • The Day of Fishing December 10, 2016
  • Achoura (Muslim Feast) January-February 2017
  • Huravee Day (Independence Day) July 26, 2017

What to do in Maldives?

food

Follow the advice of Benjamin of the blog Benjamin of the blog “Ben cheap travel” and discover the atoll under his other face!

Adaaran club Rhannalhi:

The perfect resort to enjoy the luxury of the Maldives for a reasonable price. The lagoon that surrounds the resort offers incredible aquatic life.

Jupiter Sunrise Lodge Reviews,

A perfect B & B to discover real Maldivian life. As the island of Keyodhoo is not an island reserved for tourists but a real Maldivian village, here, covered arms and legs are preferable. No alcohol available but a glass of Raa, a juice extracted from palm, and the smile of the locals will make you spend unforgettable evenings.

Discover the uninhabited islands and deserted beaches aboard a Dhoni:

For a day, explore the Indian Ocean and the wonders of a traditional boat and admire what will remain the most beautiful sunset of your life.

Citron by Lemongrass:

THE place to be in Male to enjoy a fantastic grilled fish while admiring the ballet of the planes on the island opposite.

Going to sea to discover the seabed:

Whether it’s snorkeling or diving, the Indian Ocean is full of fish, corals and other marine life. Stripes, turtles, multicolored fish, dolphins and if you’re lucky whale sharks that have chosen Maldives home!

Transport and Tips

The boat and plane are the best means of transportation to travel to the Maldives.

To get from one island to another, you can easily book a plane ticket from the capital, Male. The Maldives archipelago has 6 airports served by the Maldivian. Two companies also operate seaplanes from a jetty near Malé International Airport. If you are interested in this option, take a closer look at the Maldivian Air Taxi or Trans Maldivian Airways.

If you are not a fan of the plane, you can also travel between the islands by boat. Three options are available to you: the speedboat crossings between the islands-hotels of the North and South Male Atolls, as well as some of Ari Atoll, quite expensive but practical; The ferry, slow and not always reliable; Dhonis, typical boats whose price depends on the destination and duration of the trip.

In Malé, we advise you to use taxis, whose price of the race is fixed at 15 Mrf. Some hotels also offer a bike rental service if you want to explore the island with a little more freedom.

Which island are you most likely to visit? Leave us your comments below!

Many plan for holidays with family and friends thus the possibility of holidaying alone may seem rather daunting. Often when travelling alone, budgets and time are top priorities. Solo travel is often on the bucket list of many people and it’s never too early to strike off an item! Certain things are absolute necessities when traveling, especially safety.

mauritius reunion seychelles

When going to an unknown country, it’s better to be safe than sorry- picking out countries without political instability, affordable health care and low crime rate is a must. The islands in the Indian Ocean make perfect destinations for the lonely traveler. Mauritius, Reunion Island and the Seychelles are beatific places in that respect.

1.     Always have a Plan!

While some of the beauty of traveling alone is the unpredictability of exploration, it is important to have at least a rudimentary plan. Assuming you are visiting the islands, the beaches are wonderful for the solitary wanderer. The Northern coasts especially are very striking and moderately populated on the average weekday. It may as well be desolate outside of holiday season summer. Given the tropical climate, it is far from a hardship to swim during the day if you are used to lower temperatures. If you like a peaceful environment, it would be best to make alternate plans for the weekend, especially Sundays. The beaches tend to be packed with families having a good time. It does have a beauty of its own though!

mauritius travels

2.     Know where you are…

Modern technology has made all of us lazy when it comes to get by on our own. Google Map is the new Holy Book for the traveler and unfortunately… Mauritius and many of the Seychelles are inaccurately or incompletely mapped. It is strongly recommended to invest in a real map despite the lack of nifty features such as zooming in!

In Mauritius, getting lost somewhere is not that much of a worry. Muggings are quasi inexistent and there are buses practically everywhere to take you back. Nearly all the locals can speak and understand French and most have acceptable oratory English skills, they will not hesitate to help.

map mauritius travels

However, in Seychelles, this implies a huge taxi/cab fare as the inflation rate is much higher over there. So, keep to the tracks if you wish to keep your wallet!

3.     Precautions reduce the risk of bankruptcy

In prime place of importance is Medical Expenses.

In Mauritius, medical care is free for everyone, irrespective of nationality or any other status. Still, it is advised to get medical insurance in case of any mishap which will require further treatment.

mauritius hospital apollo
In the Seychelles, there are many requirements to qualify for free health care and going there without previous arrangements is advised against.

4.     Reach out to fellow travelers

Like you, there are definitely other travelers who are alone but would not mind a companion for a few hours or maybe more. The internet is full of forums with tourists reaching out when their visit to a country coincides with the other. During the holidays like Christmas, this is an unquestionable plus for both. Making new friends in a strange country creates great bonds which last a long time for certain people. Or you may roam the beaches, talk with the fisherman- the local guys always have the best stories to tell. Even the concierge at the hotel wouldn’t refuse a chat. This is all a lesson in however much solitude is lovely, one shouldn’t forget that the outside world exists and it is full of great individuals.

solo travel islands

5.     Food!

Mauritius, Reunion Island and the Seychelles all have a diverse cuisine. They have had, throughout the years, African, Asian, Indian and European influences creating at the end assorted menus. They satisfy the palates of everyone, whether you are a street food junkie or a gourmet food addict, there is a place for you on the Vanilla Islands!

mauritian seafood restaurant

 

Mauritius in particular offers quite the treat for the rum aficionado. The is an entire tour dedicated to rum tasting in Chamarel’s distillery- undeniably worth checking out if you are a fan of rum or even liquor.

rum tasting mauritius

 

 

** If you are looking to rent accommodations for your holidays, check out these exclusive villas in Mauritius!

A lonesome island lost in the Indian Ocean offers beauty, relaxation and adventure beyond measure. Its breathtaking blue seas and white sandy beaches ever warmed by the tropical sun, earned Mauritius its reputation as the Paradise Island. A tempting image, perfect for the holidays this year, I should say…

While there are luxury hotels in Mauritius and grandiose holiday packages, it is possible for the average guy to enjoy his holidays fully on a low budget. The best things the island has to offer are not limited to the wealthy only. A little tweaking here and there- will leave you with the perfect vacation without much hassle.

Mauritius holidays

Sunny beaches, turquoise waters!

The turquoise, jewel-like sea, bordered by endless beautiful beaches are what usually tempts most visitors. There are alternatives to simply renting a parasol (beach umbrella) and laying there the whole day, enjoying the bronzing process.

The beach in Mauritius is one endless stretch of sand and sea. The best way to enjoy this to the fullest is to get up, arm yourself with a cap, water and a pair of sandals for the rocky parts. Else, it is a pleasure to enjoy a barefoot walk on the beach, buy some ice cream (ice cream sellers are present at nearly every corner) or even lunch in a seaside restaurant. You will enjoy the salty air and a fantastic view along with your food.

mauritius sea

Drive Yourself Around and Explore!

Renting a car in Mauritius is fairly easy, even from before landing. The roads are well-marked, making it effortless to drive around the island. The island is rather small and the roads are developed enough to provide a moderately swift travel. This will be less costly than hiring a driver along with the car. Mauritians inherited much from the time it had been colonized by the British, for instance, driving on the left side of the road!

mauritius sugarcane

Be Adventurous with your Food!

Acquired from the various cultures grouped as one, the food has evolved throughout the years to take on a uniquely Mauritian taste. You may need to be somewhat wary of the spice levels given the deep love the locals have for chilies. Thai peppers are commonplace in most recipes, especially Indian ones.

There is no need to stick to luxury restaurants for the duration of your stay on the island- a few glamorous dinners would suffice if the budget is tight.

It is here that the car comes to great use. You may of course rely on the public transport system but travelling after sunset would be quite difficult. There is little to no late night activity among the inhabitants themselves.

Take the car to the capital city, in the evening and early night, Port Louis becomes a hub for the street foodies. The streets smell like shawarma and briani at every turn. They are rather cheap and very filling if you do not mind the extra calories!

During the day, dholl puri makes for a good alternative- it costs way less than a Big Mac!

shawarma kebab mauritius

Shopping, Shopping and… More Shopping.

Clothes back home are a hard on the purse, especially in the US and while the Europeans do fare a little better- the big surprise is that much of the clothes are actually made in Mauritius, especially the cotton and wool products. Having an extra suitcase to bring home some bargains might make your family members eternally grateful!

It is important to shop wisely. Avoiding places without clearly marked prices around Caudan and Grand Bay is a good start. Store keepers may not hesitate to demand exorbitant prices from the obvious tourist, hoping to make a big buck.

Walking around Port Louis or even Rose Hill can be eventful, the shops are numerous and the variety available is surprising. Everything from trinkets to sportswear are waiting to be discovered.

shoes shop mauritius

Unique Wonders of Mauritius- Colored Earths sound intriguing?

Inexplicable yet behold a miraculous view… The layers of different colored earths, formed naturally and never seeming to sustain any damage from cyclonic weather or torrential rainfall is located in Chamarel. It is a small village housing this little sensation. The visit offers a short hike as well as shops selling souvenirs. Definitely a must-do during your holidays in Mauritius. Treating your eyes and taking some pictures for the family back home sounds like a great idea, doesn’t it?

chamarel mauritius

For The Lucky Nature Enthusiast:

Being an island of volcanic origin, Mauritius offers multiple mountain ranges, ideal for hiking. Pieter Both is particularly attractive, climbing a mountain to visit the little man at the top is charming. The climb is not a difficult one, a guide is necessary to prevent any mishaps.

The mountain giving you a perpetual thumbs up, where on earth could you find better motivation? Climbing Le Pouce Mountain can be a titillating experience if one views it that way. The map for the path to be taken can easily be downloaded online and a parking area is available at the start of trail.

Mountain climbing in Mauritius is a scenic affair, with the view becoming even more breathtaking the higher you go. From Pieter Both, you will see the harbor on one side and sugarcane plantation on the other while Le Pouce offers the view of Petit Verger. It is an adventure away from the grimy city life without the constant supply of pollution. You may find yourself surprised at how extremely refreshing such an experience can be.

mauritius hiking mountain

If you are not a fan of physical activity, you do have other options on the table. Don’t give up just yet- Mauritius has more to offer.

A little walk down a pathway and you find yourself surrounded by trees older than centuries with endemic plants all around flourishing. Is that of interest to you? Then a visit to the SSR Botanical Garden is long overdue!

The entrance fee is less than a dollar and it is open throughout the week- convenience and affordability in one go.

botanical garden mauritius

History Mystery

Mauritius is hardly an old country but it makes up in quality for what it may lack in quantity. This beautiful island has a rich history of people from all around the world settling here, bringing with them a plethora of cultures to create what we have today. The island is one of the few countries in the world which has no violent past among the races and religions. Every little thing possible to preserve has been kept intact for the viewing pleasure of both Mauritians and tourists. You will enjoy a glimpse into the past of the society that exists today in near perfect harmony.

Museums in Mauritius

The museums are scattered all around the island and visiting them is not at all expensive. The Postal Museum is a relic of times gone by yet still sturdy. Don’t miss it! The Natural History Museum has no entrance fee and it is conveniently located in the capital city. A visit to the museum and lunch at the bazaar (market place) along with a bit of shopping appears to be the impeccable educational family outing when in the country.

museum mauritius

 

** If you are looking to rent accommodations for your holidays, check out these exclusive villas in Mauritius!