Eli Orzessek finds the answers to your travel questions.

We are flying to Madagascar for three weeks when we finish our African safari in August.

I have read various options on transport and not sure what to choose. Do we rent a car?

And a driver? We have lived for many years on a farm, so are used to unsealed farm roads.

Or are we best to use local buses or Taxi-Brousse?

We want to spend most of our time exploring their national parks and reserves and Nosy Be [island] interests me. What other places and parks should we not miss?

Alison Woodcock

As you've probably read, the road conditions in Madagascar are rough, with considerable distances to cover. If you decided to rent a car, I would definitely hire a driver too, even if you are comfortable with unsealed roads. It only costs around $5 extra a day and would mean you can spend more time looking at the scenery rather than concentrating on driving. Plus you'd be giving a local some work, which is always appreciated.

My contact Tim Cox at Adventure Travel Wellington also advised caution when it comes to going it alone in a rental car and suggested a tailor-made guided tour, either with a small group or a personal guide — so you can tick off all those must-sees.

He also suggested Intrepid Travel's 16-day small group tour — which will see you explore Madagascar's National Parks to your heart's content.


That trip features a home stay in Ranomafana National Park, tours of the Isalo National Park and Zombitse National Park — home to the bizarre baobab trees."

If any readers have driven Madagascar before, or have any tips of what to explore, send them through — if I don't have room in print, I can pass them on to Alison.

Readers respond:

Ross Stewart found himself in a bit of a pickle, returning from Eastern Europe with excess Bosnia and Herzegovina convertible marks (BAM). It'd be great to hear from any readers with advise on odd currencies.

"I'm told that you can only exchange this currency in Bosnia itself or in Dubrovnik but we didn't, so now we have 120 BAM. My enquiries at Auckland Airport revealed that while they can exchange popular currencies such as US dollars and UK pounds sterling, currencies such as BAM are just written off. I would have thought there was a market for one of the big travel agencies to buy such currencies at a fair discount, as they have clients going to these less-common places. So, anyone going to Sarajevo, etc, can have 120 BAM for the going rate — less, say, 20 per cent."

Email your questions to askaway@nzherald.co.nz
Eli cannot answer all questions and can't correspond with readers.