When to go
Madagascar has a tropical climate with two prominent seasons:
- Rainy season: Nov-Mar. The North and East are at risk of cyclones during the rainy season.
- Dry season: Apr-Oct. The average midday temp ranges from 25° C (highlands) to 30° C (coast).
The central highlands (Antananarivo) can get very cold and windy. Along the Eastern coastal plains, high humidity is tempered by almost-constant ocean breezes.
The best times to travel are May – Nov, however Feb is the best time for Botanists as many of the orchids are in flower at this time.
SA Airlink fly every day from Johannesburg to Antananarivo.
Distances are great and the road networks are not in good condition. Internal flights are often the best option.
Use taxi’s to get around towns: Usually a Renault 4 (quatrelle) or Citroën 2CV. Taxis do not have meters, which is often an advantage as drivers often get lost and you don’t pay for the extra mileage. Rates are best arranged before leaving for a destination, although you may find that most taxis operate at a set rate. There are buses available which are much cheaper, but you would have to know your districts as the buses follow a set route.
What to take along
- Comfortable, light, casual clothing keeping in mind the heat in summer
- Comfortable walking shoes, Suntan Lotion, Insect repellent & anti-malaria prophylaxis
- Personal toiletries (especially feminine hygiene products) and any personal medication
- Torch (Flashlight) with spare batteries & bulb
- All visitors NEED visas.
- A one-month tourist visa can be obtained on arrival at Ivato International Airport, although we highly recommend getting a Visa before leaving. The Malagasy embassy or consulate issue one and three month visas. Please double check with the Embassy of Madagascar.
- Ensure your passport has a blank page and is valid for at least 6 months. Keep copies of your air ticket / passport separate from the originals
- Ariary (Ar) is the currency used but Euros and US Dollars are also accepted.
- Credit Cards have limited use and if accepted, generally only Visa.
- Travellers’ Cheques are not recommended. We strongly recommend taking Euros in CASH. This can be easily changed into Ariary.
- DO NOT take SA Rands as they are not accepted at all in Madagascar.
- Few ATMS work, so don’t completely rely on these.
- Don’t forget to change you Ariary back into Euros before leaving Madagascar, as you won’t be able to convert them in South Africa.
1 Jan; 29 Mar; 25 May; 26 Jun; 27 Sep; 1 Nov; 25, 30 Dec
220V, European 2-prong plugs.
- Malagasy is the official language spoken with French second and English thereafter.
- English is seldom used except in the tourist areas with many of the local reserve guides speaking English.
- Do not travel in the cities with valuables in your pockets. Leave them at the hotel in a safe or locked up.
- Pick pocketing is quite a common problem, especially in Tana (Avenue de l’Independence).
- Think about what you are doing at all times and trust your instincts – don’t take risks that you wouldn’t take at home!
Customs & Luggage Allowance
- 500 cigarettes and 1 litre of alcohol are allowed.
- A Luggage Allowance of 25kg on international flight and one item of hand luggage (5kg) and 20kg each on a domestic flight.
- Check import regulations for food and plants before you attempt to bring them back to South Africa.
- Be careful when taking photographs and videos. Such activities may be misunderstood, especially near military installations.
- Consider taking your mobile with you, store useful numbers such as the local police and the nearest embassy or consulate and check with your service provider that international roaming is activated.
- Respect the environment – don’t buy wildlife souvenirs, conserve resources like water and don’t drop litter.
Consult your healthcare professional regarding malaria before travelling to Madagascar.
- Compulsory Vaccinations: Yellow Fever (if coming from an Endemic Country)
- Recommended Vaccinations: Hepatitis A and Tetanus
- Precautions: Malaria Prophylaxis
- Always wash hands
- Use insect Repellents
- Sleep under a mosquito net
- Drink bottled or treated water only
- Eat well cooked food, especially meat
- Don’t drink beverages with ice, unless made with treated water
- Be selective and careful when purchasing food from street vendors
- Always peel fruits and vegetables, and only eat those that you have peeled yourself.