Fly To Toamasina, Madagascar
Toamasina (also known as Tamatave in French) means ‘salty’, and its location on the east coast of Madagascar makes its name very suitable. Largely a fishing community, it has a bustling city centre filled with vibrant markets and quirky shops. The beaches are inviting too, while its laidback residents are just as warm and welcoming as the Indian Ocean sunshine that permeates the country.
Visa Requirements & SA Embassy Details
- South African Passport holders travelling to Toamasina do need a Visa to enter Madagascar. Be sure to leave plenty of time to get yours arranged – your passport will also need to be valid for 6 months or more after your return, with 2 blank pages available for stamps.
- The South African Embassy to Madagascar is situated in the capital city of Antananarivo. Address: Lot IVO 68 Bis, Rue Ravoninahitriniarivo, Ankorondrano, 101 Antananarivo. Phone: + 261 20 224 3350.
See and do
From tropical reserves and beaches to ancient palace ruins, there is much to see and do in Toamasina. Historical sites include Place de la Colonne, Belasety Tomb and Palais des Enfants, while museums include Musée du Port and Musée de l'Université. Also nearby, there are scenic attractions such as Ivoloina Zoological Park (a great place to get close to Madagascar’s famous lemurs and other wildlife), Ivondro Falls, Prune Island and Nosy Ilaintsambo (a small island that was once a port).
Guided tours given by locals are without a doubt highly recommended. Unlike the commercial operators, these give a truly unique perspective of what it is like to live in Toamasina. Some local companies offering tours (also self-guided tours and car hire) include Mad Aventure and Association des Guides Tsimisaraka.
As for what to buy in this part of the world, chocolate lovers will be happy to hear that Madagascar is one of the world’s major producers of the finest cocoa beans. You can purchase locally made, single source chocolate from shops such as La Chocolatier on Boulevard Joffre. On the same road, there are also interesting shops like Nulle Part Ailleurs that sell curios. Then the markets are also well worth visiting too - Bazary Be (Big Market) is where the biggest range of items can be found.
You will soon notice many ‘pousse-pousse’ carriages in the city – these are much like the rickshaws seen in Durban. They are a fun, cheap way to get around, and also help local drivers make a living. Other ways to get about include buses, taxis, minibuses and car hire. Walking around is quite safe too, but if you are out after dark or on your own, it’s often better to use a private taxi (rates are not too bad).
Toamasina Airport (Tamatave) – TMM
Food and beverage: There is a small food and drinks shop at Toamasina Airport.
Currency Exchange: Enquire at the airport information desk or do your exchange when you arrive in town – banks include BFV-Société Générale and BTM-BOA.
Lost Luggage: File a report through your airline at the Lost & Found desk in the baggage claims area.
Airport Hotels: Concordia, Bouffe Rapide, Le Ravinala, Le Miramar, Royal Hôtel and Villa Vohitsoa.
Car Hire: Hertz, Avis, Budget and Sixt.
Airport Hub: Toamasina Airport (code TMM) is a hub for Air Austral and Air Madagascar.