Visiting Madagascar – Useful links and information

Useful tips

  • Climate and Weather: Travelers should bring appropriate clothing depending on the visited regions and the season.

    • The climate in Madagascar varies according to the regions: mild in the central highlands, hot and dry in the West, rainy in the East, hot and humid in the North and dry in the semi desert South.

    • In winter season or dry season (April-October), the average temperature is around 18ºC and can go down to 4ºC in the highlands. In summer or rainy season (November-March), the average temperature is around 32ºC and may reach up to 38ºC in the western and southern regions.

  • Health: No vaccination is required before traveling to Madagascar unless one is coming from yellow fever area. However, it is recommended to take measures to prevent malaria (preventive treatment, mosquito repellents).

  • Electricity: 220 V. Transformer and plug converter could be needed for some travelers.

  • Tipping: Outside tourist spots, restaurants and hotels, tips are not necessary but are welcome for showing appreciation of the service rendered. Some restaurants have a policy to charge 10% service on your bill. Otherwise, the amount for tips is left to your generosity.

  • Foreign currency exchange: You can change money at banks, authorized hotels and foreign exchange agencies. Euro and dollar are the most exchanged currencies in Madagascar.

  • Bank/credit card: Banks are open Monday to Friday from 8 am to 4pm, and morning only on days before public holidays. There are 7 commercial banks with a nationwide network. Automatic teller machines are available in major cities and accept international credit cards. Visa Card is the most accepted one.

  • Shopping for souvenirs: Visitors looking for souvenirs will find shops and markets selling handicrafts in major towns. Even small towns and villages have their specialties. Choices are unlimited. Always request an invoice from the seller if you buy artifacts in wood and objects with semi or precious stones. It is prohibited to export endangered animal and plants species (lemurs, tortoises, orchids…), protected animal bones or fossils.

  • Security: Security is not an issue but it is recommended to take basic measures: leave jewelry, valuables and passports in your hotel room safe, do not carry around big amount of cash, do not carry cameras dangling from you neck or shoulder.

  • Taboos and prohibition: The Malagasy people are known for being pacifist and tolerant. They are also strongly attached to their customs and practices especially in small villages and rural areas, and one need to be respectful of local taboos or prohibitions. Always ask for information or advice about those taboos as to respect those carefully. Some communities do not like their children’ heads to be touched and before taking a picture of a person, please ask for permission first. Nudism is not allowed on beaches and it is not recommended to put cloth or pareo on swimsuits if wandering outside the beaches.

  • Internet / Communications: Major hotels offer internet and communication services. In Antananarivo and major cities, you can find cybercafes where you can access internet. There are also public telephones booths in major cities.

  • Working hours: Most offices and public services are open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Shops are usually open from 9 – 12 am and 2 – 6pm, Monday to Saturday. Big stores (commercial centers, supermarkets, tourist shops) are open from 9 am to 7 pm Monday to Saturday and sometimes on Sunday mornings. Most shops are closed on public holidays.