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What are the entry formalities?
National Tourism Board of Madagascar has announced that
NO ENTRY VISA IS REQUIRED for a stay of maximum 30 days, until
31st December 2010. This is valid for all nationalities entering
. Clients will not have to pre-purchase a visa before
departing, and will not have to purchase a visa on arrival to
airport. We are
currently awaiting confirmation of short-stay visa requirements
visa is required to enter the
for stays longer then 30 days. You can get a visa at the
Consulate of Madagascar in your country, or more easily, upon
arrival at the international
. Please check if your passport is still valid (at least 6
months before expiry date). With a valid passport and return
flight ticket you can easily obtain a visa at the
. It costs €57 per
person regardless of nationality. (subject to change). Please
note to obtain a visa at the airport, you do not need to bring
Can I export local goods?
it is forbidden to export rough gemstones, protected endemic
plants or animals, and valuable cultural monuments or woods. It
is possible to get an official export permit for some polished
gemstones and some plants, but it may take a few days to get it.
So if you want to buy polished ammonites,
fossilised wood, solitary games or
other similar items, it is highly recommended to ask for export
papers or at least an official invoice when you buy it at the
handicraft market, to avoid any problem with customs.
What do I need to do about local currency?
Ariary (AR) is now the local
currency being used in
, in place of Franc Malgache (FMG). Many
people still refer to the FMG when selling or buying something,
as they are used to it, but all payments must be done in Ariary.
To check the updated rates, please have a
look at the official website of the Central Bank of
arrival, it is recommended to change money at airport banks.
They are always open at each international flight arrival and
their rates are similar to the rates of the banks in town.
Please note that only EUR, USD & GBP can be exchanged.
Am I able to use credit cards?
Credit cards (the most useful credit card is VISA card)
are only accepted in large hotels, restaurants and some shops,
. In the other big cities, you can get cash from Automatic Cash
Machines (ATM) only with VISA Cards. There’s now also an ATM
at the airport in
. Don’t rely on ATM machines only; they are often out of
order. Keep some cash in Euros for emergencies.
(TC) such as Thomas Cook, American Express, etc are generally
not recommended, as many banks refuse to accept them. But if you
really want to bring Travellers
then bring only
of €50 or US$50 face value, and do not forget to also bring
the invoice or receipt of where you bought the
In some provinces,
it may take you a few hours to change Travellers
and also the rate is generally worse than exchanging cash and
some banks charge you commission.
What do I need to know about health & hygiene?
There is a risk of catching Malaria in
. It is therefore highly recommended to ask your doctor’s
advice about anti-Malaria drugs before leaving your country.
Bring a good mosquito repellent with you! Please
also bring plenty of sunscreen to avoid sunburn as the sun in
can be very harsh.
you do not need any vaccinations unless you have been to certain
African countries where there is a danger of contracting yellow
against yellow fever is compulsory. We
also recommend vaccination against Hepatitis A. As
many medical cures and medicines are only available at hospitals
in the major cities, it is recommended that you bring your own
basic First Aid kit with you.
is still in its early stage! Do
not eat raw vegetables and do not drink unstamped bottles of
remember to protect your head and skin against sun burn, and
always use sun creams.
What is the local time difference?
Adjust your clocks & watches upon arrival at the
airport. You will
need to add 2 hours during summertime and 3 hours during
wintertime to GMT.
What’s the best time to visit?
With Monsoon time from December through to early March
the best time to travel to
is generally in February to December.
has two seasons: a hot, rainy season from November to April; and
dry season with a cooler temperature from May to October. There
is, however, great variation in climate owing to elevation and
position relative to the dominant winds. The east coast has
a sub-equatorial climate and, being most directly exposed to the
trade winds, has the heaviest rainfall - averaging as much
as 3.5 meters annually! Because rain clouds discharge much of
their moisture east of the highest elevations on the island, the
central highlands are drier and, owing to the altitude,
also cooler. The dry
season in the highlands is pleasant and sunny, although somewhat
chilly, especially in the mornings. During
this time, the blue skies of the central highlands are
considered by many to be among the clearest and most beautiful
in the world. The west coast is drier than the east coast and
the central highlands because the trade winds lose their
humidity by the time they reach this region. The south-west and
the extreme south are semi-desert; as little as one-third of a
meter of rain falls annually at Toliara (Tulear).
What’s the local weather like?
There are only two seasons in
. Dry season and wet
season. Wet season lasts in most areas for 5 months (from
December to April). In eastern
it rains quite often all year long, whereas it rarely rains in
the central parts of
, winter nights are so cold that the temperature may go down to
+5°C. It may even go down to around freezing point in
Antsirabe. Please bring warm clothes if you travel to
Madagascar between May and September. From November till March,
it is hot in southern and western
. The temperature in the coastal regions is generally higher
than that in inland
Should I bring my cell phone or laptop with me?
It is possible to call abroad from any public phone: you
just need to buy phone cards from a Telma (Telecom Malagasy)
office. Some cities are now covered by the local mobile phone
network, and even some small towns like Moramanga and a small
island like Tsarabanjina in the north western
are covered. There are two mobile phone operators in
(dial 032) and former Madacom, now CELTEL (dial 033).
you want to bring your own cell phone, be sure to have
international roaming turned on so that you can be reached
whenever you are in the big cities of
. It is also a good idea to buy a local SIM card at some shops,
supermarkets or the airport. Expect to pay about €5 for a SIM
card that includes only a small amount of credit. Communication
by phone in
is quite expensive and the clarity of the telephone lines is
sometimes worse than in other countries.
internet access there are a few cyber-cafés in each big city in
. The Paositra Malagasy (Malagasy Post) also offers an Internet
connection at their offices. It is very cheap but the connection
speed is slow, unless you are lucky and find one of the few
places which offer ADSL (broadband).
Easier access to broadband is promised in the future.
What is the local luggage allowance?
On your international and your connecting flights, you
are usually allowed 23 kg and sometimes 30 kg per person of
luggage allowance. Be warned: very often the local airlines have
a maximum baggage allowance of 20 kg. We
recommend you check your ticket. The normal luggage allowance on
domestic flights is also 20 kg only (15 kg on Twin Otter
flights), but the tariff for excess luggage is cheap in
What should I pack?
During winter time, warm clothes and windbreakers are
recommended, especially in the Highlands, whereas light clothes
made of cotton are needed all year long in western
and during the hot season. You should always bring raincoats
when visiting the humid eastern part of
and its rainforests. Light mountain boots are recommended when
visiting national parks, especially the rainforest parks.
Waterproof sandals are recommended for beaches. In other places,
you can wear almost any shoes.
Do not forget to bring a torch for nocturnal visits of
parks and for any electricity failures.
Films, battery and photography kits are expensive in
and specific films like APS or slide films are very rare. You
should buy them locally and bring with you.
, the two-pronged plug and the European standard socket are the
most used, so you may need to bring adaptors as appropriate.
Finally, don’t forget the camera and a set of
What about tipping?
It has become a habit to tip someone who served you but
it is not obligatory. Here are some ideas of the gratuities
which are expected:
- Around €4 per day (about 10,000 Ariary) for a contracted
guide or a guide/driver.
- Around €2 (about 5000 Ariary) for a park guide.
- Around 5% of the bill at a restaurant
- 200 Ariary per bag for a porter.
As Euro coins cannot be changed into local money in
, it is both helpful and advisable to tip in Ariary.
What are the most common
The two main languages spoken in
are French and the native language Malagash. Please click
here to view our basic English – Malagash Dictionary.
have a developed a list of tips that you can follow when you are
. We ask that you act responsibly when you travel this fabulous
place. Please click
here to read.