This is the only inexpensive way to get around, but Madagascar's roads are almost all of very low grade (with the exception of 2 routes leading out of Tana).
Many roads are studded with potholes and are quagmires in the rainy season.
Be warned that travel by road will almost always take much more time than you would normally expect. Hire of a 4WD vehicle can reduce this problem but the cost will be high.
Due to the poor condition of the roads many car hire companies will only rent you a car if you use one of their drivers. Which means less fun, if you ask me, unless you drive around the driver...
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