Frequently Asked Questions

here are some frequently asked questions from our future travelers that we’d like to share with you, If you need any further information, Feel free to contact us Aina Madagascar team will be pleased to answer you..

Q : Is Aina Madagascar a tour operator?

A: Aina Madagascar is a non-profit and non-governmental organization, we have built network of Host families, villagers to get in touch of our travels in order to promote intercultural exchange, support the integrity of local cultures and respect the coexistence of the local culture on one side and the visitors on the other side. We do not sell trip


Q: What’s the main program of the trip?

A: The first part of the stay, travelers will spend few days in an isolated village; they will share their everyday life, exchange their knowledge with locals, they may usually get involve in health  giving hands in health care center in the village or  reinforce kids education from the village by teaching them at the primary public school of the village

The second part of the stay will be on the road trip around Madagascar, discovering its scenery, its culture, its fauna and flora, the accommodation will be with the host families network all around the island ( Antananarivo, Antsirabe, Fianrantsoa, Manakara, Sainte Marie, Diego Suarez) or hotels with our escorted tour guide


Q: Why can Aina Madagascar say, they make “Solidarity Tourism”?

A: Many organizations try to give meaning about “Solidarity Tourism”, and it’s great to know that people make action on that way. We can’t say the right words to give the right explanation, we think it’s a vague concept and our action will give our definition about “Solidarity Tourism” not our words.

Our projects, our trips and the stays we share with the travelers should always focus on intercultural relations in equitable way; give opportunity to the travelers to live and take part in community (villagers and host families. Those activities are developed by villagers with their consent and support


Q: What is “solidarity projects” and how are they funded?

A: Solidarity projects could be defined as a community project in our village that we work with; it always should be focused on education or health. It will be funded by the “solidarity contribution” that travelers will pay to the association at the beginning of the trip, according to some inquiries with villagers, Aina Madagascar and villagers decide which project should be funded and then travelers and Aina Madagascar make it happen. Indivudual projects can’t be funded


Q: How long will generally a stay with Aina Madagascar  take?

A: It depends on the wish of the travelers but usually they spend 15 to 20 days in Madagascar with us


Q: What are the differences between “Travelers” and “Tourists”?

A: As Aina Madagascar makes an alternate form of tourism and focus on human relation and meeting between two cultures,  in our opinion, tourists could be qualified as customers and put a business relation. We try to find another word to describe our visitors that want to meet Malagasy people in friendly way not as customers and tourism business relation, that’s why we call them “travelers”


Q: Is the escorted tour guide required?

A: Yes, all the trip with Aina Madagascar are with our escorted tour guide, they are with the travelers to be the link between host families, villagers and help travelers to make easy the integration to the local communities


Q: How much the stay may cost?

A: AIna Madagascar will send a budget to the travelers that they may spend during the stay, it’s a kind of prevision not the price of the stay, travelers manage their outcome, and they pay directly to the villagers and host families


Q: What is “host family”?

A: Host family is a Malagasy family living in area of Madagascar that host travelers, until now, we have host families in Antananarivo, Antsirabe, Fianarantsoa, Manakara, Sainte Marie, Diego Suarez. They are not professional on accommodation, that’s not the point, they are only Malagasy family


Q: What are the criteria of the village Aina Madagascar work with?

A: We start working with village three years ago, and we work with the village named Ankarefo, located in 150 km from Antananarivo. Road to get there are tough, they are people who are not so influenced by other society, they live in community on their own. Villagers have never met western people before. So we decided to choose that village. First, we met the elder men, talk about the association, their objectives. Now they always feel grateful to welcome our travelers. They have not the idea of Tourists, for them our travelers are their guests and people who will share with them culture, knowledge, …we have to notice that this kind of exchange is not only on one way. Villagers on one hand learn from their guests and on the second hand travelers discover things from villagers


Q: Who can make a trip with Aina Madagascar?

A: People, who will respect other cultures, have a coexistence philosophy, and ready to be with villagers and accept the way of life in that isolated village. For instance, rice is the main food of Malagasy people so surely, they must eat rice three times a day over there, Malagasy people used to have a shower in a cold water,


Q: can villagers speak English, French?

A: Malagasy is the language spoken in Madagascar; French is broadly spoken in towns and in the business languages. English may speak in the capital and major tourist area. In our villages, surely few people can speak foreign languages, that’ why they are with our escorted guide who can speak French or English. We notice however that languages is not a real block to exchange between two cultures, they have will to exchange and there are many ways to communicate. We can say that because of our former travelers, who met villagers, they found device to exchange ideas and it worked.


Q; Is it safe to travel in Madagascar?

A: Since 2009, Madagascar has a politic turmoil; it was even classified as unsafe destination on January 2009 to March 2009. What we can assure is Malagasy people are friendly; they have their own way of life called “Moramora” means that they will not complicate their life. What happen in Madagascar is about politics but the majority of people avoid mess. As like many countries in third world however, it’s good to take precaution there are incidents of crimes of opportunity such as pick pocketing, purse snatching and burglary. There are occasional reports of passports, wallets and other valuables having been stolen, usually by thieves especially in the crowded streets in town


Q: What kind of skills volunteers can have to involve with Aina Madagascar?

A: We recruit volunteers according to the organization’s needs and the solidarity projects’ needs, we are always pleased to receive resumes and try to match it into our needs


Q: What kind of expertise travelers can have to involve with the “solidarity project” in the village?

A: They are not obliged to be a teacher in order to teach kids over there, travelers are not there to substitute the regular teachers, we are convinced that every one of us has potential to share with others and that’s what we are looking for, to exchange, they will teach kids from the village, then villagers and their children will teach them as well


Q: Do we need to bring gifts for children in village?

A: Our villagers have not been used to meet western people before. Travelers in their opinion are their guests, If we try to show to them that our travelers are the people who usually bring to them gifts, It may change their perception of our relation with them. We can’t say that they don’t need material help, but we do not want to show them that the relation is based on material things not in human relation. So we advise wisely our travelers if they want to bring gifts always oriented to education or health and we give it directly with the travelers to the health care center or to the public primary school in the village.


Q: Do travelers need Travel Insurance?

A: Yes they do. Without it Aina Madagascar will not be able to welcome them


Q: When is the best time to go?

A: The rain season si from November January: it rains especially the east part

January to April: Cyclone period on the east

July to October is the right time to get the good weather.

However during the rainy season, it’s hot during the day and heavy rain at night except the east part (rain everyday).


Q: What kind of food travelers will eat in the village or with the host family?

A: Malagasy people eat a lot rice, it’s accompanied by meat (pork, zebu, chicken, fish), vegetables, beans, Some of their national food is ravitoto ( shredded cassava leaves with fried pork). Fruits are everywhere and so delicious. Ankarefo is well known for its black strong coffee in the morning


Q: Madagascar is very rich in natural resources, why poverty is at its high rate?

A: It’s right that Madagascar has enormous potential if we refer to its natural resources. However it is among the world’s poorest countries. Despite of achieving independence in 1960, Madagascar is still under the rule of its former colonizer economically and its natural resources get directly abroad and never to its population. Corruption, lack of investment in sustainable industries, lack of infrastructure, bad educational system, small population and unproductive to the national markets, environmental degradation, political upheaval; those reasons made Madagascar in its actual situation.


Q: Why Madagascar is worth visiting?

A: Obviously the beauty of the land, the gentle, unforgettable openheartedness and hospitality of the people, its biodiversity, lemurs, birds, Malagasy culture, Malagasy dance and music, this great island will teach you another approach to live life happily no matter what will happen. At the end of the stay in Madagascar, we wish that our travelers remember three essential things: Leisure time, learning and self discovering