I don’t know if things have changed since my last visit, but I wouldn’t drive. Madagascar is a very poor country and although this is part of its charm, I would carefully plan what I will do during these 8 days and be prepared for the fact that things just might take longer to do than you anticipated. Tana is great but wasn’t my favorite thing about Madagascar. If you can get out of the big city, the best thing about Madagascar is its beauty. One great place I loved was Ranomafana, though I am not sure you have enough time to get there. I would get a good guidebook and do some research before going.
We were there about a year ago for about 8 days and we hired a driver and a car (very affordable) to take us to Andasibe and it was awesome. It’s about a 3 hour drive from Tana and they have lots of lemurs, if that’s what you are looking for. The lodge at which we stayed (Vakona) has a lemur santuary where you can feed them and they will climb onto your head and shoulders (as you can see in my photo). There is also a national park there that has indris, the biggest of the lemurs. You can track them in the mornings and listen to them call each other-which should like a person shrieking. I would definitely recommend Andasibe! We also went to Diego Suarez in the north. It’s a sleepy little town. The resorts and beaches of Nosy Be are supposed to be great, but we didn’t have time to get there. I hope this helps!
Madagascar was a super place to visit. I agree with the comments of angel and holy. Ranomafana was lots of fun (nautural hotsprings pool and great wildlife reserve). Getting there was a bit of trouble because the road was in aweful shape – HUGE holes. Antsirabe was special with all the handcrafted works and we saw the old Volcanes and volcano lakes near Betafu (up in the mountains). Mahajanga (up north on the sea coast ) was very hot and had beauuuutiful beaches. We stayed two weeks in all. Some roads are good, others are not. Rersearch is a must. I found that there wasn’t much to see in Tana (besides the Saint’s grave and the queen’s castle, and the president’s palace). You really need to get out in the countryside and experience the landscape and the people.
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