Where to Stay
I never found where to stay in Madagascar a problem, particularly in areas more frequented by tourists. I did have to rough it a few times in more out of the way places but that was all part of the adventure.
Options for where to stay in Antananarivo are abundant. I stayed in an Airbnb apartment for my week in the city and it is possible to get one for about 25 euro per night or less within walking distance of the city centre. With an apartment it will be necessary to take a taxi if you are going out or coming back after dark as they generally are not right on the main streets. Taxis at night for a local trip back from a restaurant to an apartment near the centre are about 8000 Ariary (2 euro) or less depending on your negotiating skills.
Hotels in Antananarivo vary in price but sometimes deals do pop up if you are booking last minute and I managed to book a night at the Maison des Cotonnier for about 30 euro before flying home. Hotels right in the centre like this are more expensive but they are within walking distance of many of the popular restaurants and bars. Some hotels provide security to walk you to and from nearby eateries. I was told by the staff at the Maison De Cotonnier I could walk on my own to the very popular Buffet du Jardin bar/restaurant as there is security along the long street in other establishments so it is safe, provided I was back by 11pm when some of the restaurants close.
A really good budget option on where to stay is the Shanghai hotel, right in the centre of the city. For about 20 euro you can get a clean room with a double bed and a private bathroom. They also have a menu specialising in Chinese food. I spend one night here on one of my many transits through the capital and would stay again.
There are also lots of accommodation options closer the airport but further out from the city. These hotels tend to be cheaper than the centre and of a good standard but it is worth bearing in mind that travelling to and from the city can be a nuisance especially in rush hour traffic.
The main regional cities all have hotels which cater for travellers and there are some good options on where to stay in Madagascar that are not too expensive. Accommodation can be booked online through booking sites for extra insurance but I don’t think I stayed in any hotels that were full up during my whole trip. The more popular national parks like Isalo and Ranomafana also have accommodation options nearby which can be booked online. Around Isalo in particular there are large price variations but the more budget friendly bungalow options near the village of Ranohira (where the park office for Isalo is) are perfect. I stayed at the ITC lodge which is 5 minutes from the office and it worked out very well.
The further off the beaten path you go the options for where to stay for a night’s sleep are not as abundant or luxurious but are in many ways more memorable. When I was travelling on the longer regional routes such as between the city of Fort Dauphin on the south east coast and Vangaindrano 240km north (it took about 30hours) I slept in a hut with other passengers from the trip.
I also spent 2 nights trying to get some sleep in the back of a passenger truck between Tulear and Fort Dauphin. One of these nights the truck was stuck in the mud so there was the further accommodation option of sleeping outside on the ground which many availed of.
I found accommodation standards good in any areas which have more tourists but sometimes you need to be willing to grab a few hours where you can and as long as you are prepared for this before you go then it will be fine.