September 30, 2016
We were informed the previous evening that our flight back to Tana (Antananarivo) was changed from 14:15 to 12:30, leaving us not much time to explore Morondava, maybe a stroll along the beach after a leisurely breakfast.
That plan changed when Gary, the owner of Chez Maggie, informed us at breakfast that our flight had been cancelled. Apparently the Finance Minister had commandeered the plane from state-owned Air Madagascar for his own travel. Worse yet there are only 2 to 3 flights per week from Morondava back to the capitol and we had a flight out of Tana to Diego, a city in Northern Madagascar, the next morning.
He proceeded to explain that he could look into arranging a private charter for us. The cost would depend on how many guests wanted to go and what size plane was available.
We spent the rest of the morning waiting and chatting with the other stranded guests, 2 American nurses doing a bit of traveling after a volunteer project with Smiles and a group of Francophones – 3 French and 1 Belgian – at the end of a tour. Coincidently all 6 of them were flying back to Paris in two days. It was fun exchanging travel experiences and practicing some French. Everyone has a story to tell in Madagascar.
It took some haggling to get all the French to agree to a charter and then get their travel agency to pay for it, but in the end it worked out and we had a 9 seater for the 8 of us for 494 Euro per person, about double the Air Madagascar price, which Air Madagascar did refund.
The private charter, Madagascar Trans Air, was by far the nicest prop-plane we have been on compared to those in Botswana, Zimbabwe and Tanzania.
We left Morondava at 1:20PM for the 2 hour flight to Tana flying first over the sea and the Avenue of Baobabs.
Flying low as we approached Tana I was fascinated with the intricate patterns of the cultivated fields.
When we arrived in Tana they rolled out the red carpet, literally. The airline office was the snazziest place I’ve seen on the island. Smelling of lemons, fresh and clean, the waiting room is furnished with sleek black leather furniture. The bathrooms have sparkling glass countertops.