Madagascar Quick Guide

Madagascar, officially the Republic of Madagascar, is an extremely beautiful island nation in the Indian Ocean, about 400km off the coastline of east Africa, across the Mozambique Channel. This beautiful island has a population of around 27 million. Madagascar is also one of the most popular tourist destinations in Africa, attracting thousands of visitors every year. The weather in Madagascar is generally mild all year round, although in April and May it can get very hot and humid.

Madagascar is a destination rich in natural beauty. Due to its unique flora and fauna, Madagascar is considered to be one of the jewels of the African continent. Madagascar has one of the largest coral reefs in the world, which is a great site for snorkelling and diving.

One of Madagascar's greatest attractions is the great diversity of life. The country boasts an incredible diversity of flora and fauna, including unique endemic species. Some of the world's best dive sites lie within the national waters, including the famous underwater river that flows through the center of Madagascar. The colorful communities of fish, crabs, crustaceans, and even dolphins can be explored by scuba divers. Many dive sites are also home to many endemic species of the island itself, making Madagascar the perfect place to explore.

Ranomafana National Park Madagascar is a safari haven, which explains its very name! This massive park covers an area of about ten thousand square kilometers, and is the largest wildlife reserve in Madagascar. Exploring the park is a pleasant experience as there are lots of places to explore. There are the Antananarivo Aquarium, a bio-laboratory where research is being carried out on sea animals and invertebrates, the Isalo National Park, a breeding ground for rare antelopes, the Manaslu Valley, where you can do some trekking, the Tremehilao River, where you can kayak and observe native Madagascar life, the Flic on Blacheim Bay, which is a large bay situated at the southern end of Madagascar's primary seabed, the Kipiri Forest, where you can hike and go on a safari, and finally the Ranomafana National Park, the last major park on Madagascar.

What vaccinations do I need?

Up to date information for vaccinations before you travel to Madagascar are available from the NHS Fit for Travel website.

Is it safe to travel?

Best time to visit?

The best time to go to Madagascar. WhilstMadagascar holidays can be enjoyed year-round, the principal wet season is from late December through to the month of March; often involving cyclones, it is probably best avoided! The best time to go to Madagascar is therefore between the months of April through to mid-December

Do I need a Visa?

You can buy a 30, 60 or 90-day tourist visa on arrival at the airport in cash using US$, Euros, or Malagasy Ariary. Make sure an entry stamp is recorded in your passport, and that your visa is valid for the period and purpose of your journey. A tourist visa cannot be extended beyond 90 days.

See which forms you may need for entry into Madagascar.

What currency do i need?

The official currency of Madagascar is the Malagasy Ariary (MGA). If you're looking to transfer or spend money in Madagascar you can grab amazing Malagasy Ariary deals via (GBP to MGA).

What about the wildlife?

Most of these species found in Madagascar are endemic, meaning they cannot befound anywhere else in the world. The Madagascar fody, tomato frog, satanic leaf-tailed gecko, panther chameleon, comet moth, fossa, and the lemurs of Madagascar are some of the unique animals in Madagascar.

What is the traditional food?

French food? Romazava is considered the national dish of Madagascar, and each family makes their own version. It is a one-pot dish, usually eaten with rice for lunch or dinner. The basic ingredients are beef, pork and chicken cut into equal-size cubes, chopped onions, tomatoes, spinach and crushed garlic.

What Languages are spoken?

The official languages of Madagascar are Malagasy and French. Madagascar is a Francophone country, and French is spoken among the educated population of this former French colony. You can learn some basic French before you travel to Madagascar and really impress the locals!

How much do you tip?

The currency in Madagascar is the Malagasy Ariary (Tipping is a gratuity that one gives because one wants to reward good service regardless of what the person is being paid. It's a personal choice. It's correct, this isn't a society where anyone would look at you badly if you didn't tip like they would in the USA for example, but if you've enjoyed the service that you received and you want to tip, go for it.).

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Useful Numbers

  • Police: 117
  • Ambulance: 124
  • Fire: 118
  • UK Embassy: +261 20 22 330 53

Time Difference

The GMT time difference is 3 hours

Travel Apps

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Learn French

Learn some French before your trip to Madagascar

Madagascar Guidebook

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