Destinations

madagascar FAQs

YOUR MADAGASCAR QUESTIONS ANSWERED

Madagascar plays home to a very unique safari experience, split from the mainland in prehistoric times, it has had the space to grow into its own ecological masterpiece. Being such a different experience to mainland Africa, and indeed, anywhere else in the world, brings many questions. We have tried to answer many of our frequently asked questions below, if you cant find what you are looking for, get in touch and one of our experts will be happy to help you. 

  • What is a safari like in Madagascar?

    Safaris in Madagascar are unlike any other African destination in Africa. Split from the super-continent, Gondwana, in prehistoric times, with it, it bought no large predators, allowing it to become a magnificent biodiversity hotspot, where the native plants and animals could evolve in relative isolation.

    With no real threat to humans, and a completely different, yet beautifully diverse terrain to mainland Africa, the experience is bound to be different. There is no need for safari vehicles, so most of your safari experience will be on foot. This means you can gain a really close insight into the land and enjoy a more ‘hands-on’ experience as there is nothing separating you from the wildlife and natural wonders. We feel this makes you more involved with your experience and is great for families with young children, keeping them active during the day and entertained with all the wonderful wildlife!

    On the beach, you will have time to relax, go snorkelling, take part in water-sports or just drink cocktails by the pool. Anjajavy is one of our favourite beach destinations in Madagascar. Only accessible by air, this stunning beach is also a nature reserve and plays home to a whole host of wildlife, including Coqueral's sifakas and love birds.

    Between destinations, travel will usually be by four wheel drive vehicle and sometimes by small plane. Transfers are comfortable and clean, but bear in mind the roads can be quite bumpy at times! Your guides, naturalists and drivers are all experienced, trained, knowledgeable and willing to share their expertise with you.
  • Is Madagascar good for family safaris?

    Madagascar is one of our favourite destinations for a family safari or holiday; there are just so many things for people of all ages to experience and enjoy.

    There are so many factors that make it just so, from the ‘cute’ lemurs and the more hands-on experience, to the time difference from the UK and the cost. Young children will love being able to see everything up close, including chameleons and geckos. There are lots of big insects that are safe to get close to that are very popular with growing young ones. For more information on Madagascar family safaris, please click here.

  • What is the food like in Madagascar?

    Malagasy food is heavily rice based, influenced by the many cultures of Madagascar, including Indonesian and European.

    Your breakfasts will usually be continental, with tea, coffee, bread and jam. For those who eat meat, there are lots of pork, beef and fish dishes to experiment with, including a traditional dish made from pork and cassava leaves. As you can imagine the closer to the coast you are, the better the seafood and if you are staying on a beach resort, you can expect some incredible fish dishes. In Antananarivo, as with many big cities, there is a huge variety in international restaurants and cuisine.

    For vegetarians the options can be quite limited. Often there will be a choice of omelettes or spaghetti and sometimes there will be some sautéed vegetables on offer with rice and noodles.  Let us know your dietary requirements in advance and we will do our best to arrange something for you in destination.

  • Which languages are spoken in Madagascar?

    Your guides and some hospitality staff in hotels and lodges will speak English. The official first language of Madagascar is Malagasy, and the official business language is French.

    If you can, try to learn some basic French before you travel, it can come in very handy.

  • What money should I take?

    The local currency in Madagascar is Malagasy Ariary, although most major currencies are accepted. US Dollars and Euros are usually the preferred currency. Make sure your notes are relatively new as older notes can be harder to change.

    There are not very many opportunities to change money in Madagascar, so when you arrive at the airport (or before you depart) try to change enough to last you at least a week . There are very few cash machines/ATMs and those that are around will only dispatch Malagasy Ariary. Travellers cheques are not accepted at Ivato Airport in Antannarivo and credit card use is very limited throughout Madagascar (the most widely accepted is Visa), but very useful as a back up.

  • Is Madagascar safe?

    Madagascar is one of the safest and friendliest countries we have travelled to. The locals, staff and guides are all welcoming and friendly, happy to answer your questions and keen to talk.

    You must ensure, as with travelling in any destination, that you look after you belongings, keep money in separate places in case of loss or theft and ensure you’re not out alone at night. There are some cases of petty theft in the capital, so make sure you don’t walk around flaunting jewellery or money, and remember that Madagascar is a very poor country.

    In regards to the wildlife, there are very few animals that pose a threat to humans. There are over 80 species of snake, none that are of major threat and crocs in some areas. So long as you listen to your guides, you will remain in safe hands!

  • What is the travel like in Madagascar

    Most of your actual safari experience will be in on foot, however, to get from destination to destination, 4x4 vehicles are essential.

    The drives are scenic, but can sometimes be quite long, depending on your itinerary. Speak to us if this is something you wish to avoid as we can often craft your itinerary to avoid too much time in the car. There is an extensive network of flights as well, so it is often possible to shorten the journey by doing it this way. This also means you can access some of the most remote parts of Madagascar in relative comfort.

  • Do I need a visa to go to Madagascar?

    At present, tourist visas are required by all nationalities entering Madagascar. These can be gained upon arrival in Antananarivo, however we do recommend you look into obtaining it in advance.

    At present, visas for Madagascar are approximately EUR35 per person, to be organised on arrival at the airport, but things change regularly so contact your local Embassy for more details.

    Obtaining the correct visa is your responsibility.

    Embassy Contact Details

    The closest Malagasy Embassy to the UK is located in Paris: 4, avenue Raphael, 75016, Paris

    Tel: +33 145 046 211
    info@ambassade-madagascar.fr
    http://www.ambassade-madagascar.fr

    In the USA the Malagasy Embassy is located at 2374 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., Washington DC, 20008

    Tel: +1 202 265 5525
    Malagasy@embassy.org
  • Can I drink tap water in Madagascar?

    No. We recommend that you always drink bottled, boiled or treated water during your time in Madagascar. You can buy purification tablets or iodine to treat water during your travels, and vitamin C tablets are good for hiding the taste.

    If you are buying bottled water, ensure the bottle is sealed when it is handed to you. Always ensure that any ice in drinks is purified or made from bottled water rather than tap.

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