I've been meaning to post this message since I returned home from Madagascar
last November. Oh well, better late than never.
This trip was led by Guy Eldridge (Turaco Tours / Ornifolks) who was an
excellent organiser, guide and birder.
But what I want to highlight are a few miscellaneous points that may be
helpful to someone visiting Madagascar from Australia in the future.
- There was no change facility in Antananarivo aitport that would change
Australian dollars. I tried three banks without success. This is contrary
to what I was led to believe from a previous report.
- When changing US dollars, the banks would only accept US$100 and US$50
notes, and then only the newer versions of these notes. Apparently last
year the situation was the opposite, when they would only accept smaller
notes and not the larger ones. The whole situation was an absolute
- Don't expect anyone to accept credit cards. I did actually find a bank in
Tulear that would have sorted out some cash for me, but they wanted me to
leave my credit card with them (at 10am) and return later that afternoon.
Not much good if you have a flight to catch.
- US$ traveller's cheques appear to attract a 10% surcharge.
- On the way out, local youths hassle you to change all your remaining
Madagascan money into US$ at a lousy rate. Accept, as there is nowhere else
to spend it once you're through customs. All shops and bars beyond passport
control accept foreign currency only (US$ FF, etc.)
A quick note on the birding - brilliant! Of about 138 endemic species still
extant, 9 were either out of the range of our itinerary or extreme rarities
(or both). Of the remaining 129 we encountered all of them, albeit only
hearing two. This included prolonged and close views of all 5 Ground
Rollers, absolutely stunning. And the mammals, reptiles and amphibians were
pretty good, too.
Cheers - Trevor.
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