Madagascar Travel Advice
Security travel advice for Madagascar
How safe is Madagascar?
Threat level: Medium - High
Due to the coronavirus outbreak, Madagascar is in a state of emergency. As a result of this, a series of measures have been taken to avoid a surge of new cases: international flights have been halted, the use of face masks has been made compulsory in public places and a ban on public gatherings of more than 200 people is in effect. To avoid contracting the disease, wash your hands regularly, wear a face mask, maintain social distancing, avoid unnecessary travel and gatherings.
The travel advice for Madagascar is for visitors to remain cautious and report any suspicious activity to the Police.
The terror threat is relatively low in Madagascar, foreign visitors should be away of the extremely high crime rates in the country at present. Tourists often fall victim to muggings and assault so should remain on high alert at all times.
Kidnapping for ransom in Madagascar has increased in recent years with expatriates working in the country being particularly at risk as they are often seen to be wealthy and valuable targets.
Antananarivo has experienced a number of grenade attacks that are linked to civil unrest, the most recent being in June 2016. The travel advice for Antananarivo is for visitors to be vigilant when travelling around the city, and avoid large gatherings where political demonstrations might be starting.
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Recent security risk events
On the 27th June 2016, as the country celebrated its 56th anniversary of independence from France, there was a grenade attack at the Mahamasina municipal stadium in Antananarivo. This attack killed three people and 91 people were injured. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Batterie Beach has very strict policies and local customs when it comes to foreign visitors (also known as Fady, in Madagascar). There have been numerous violent and fatal attacks on foreigners in recent years and the best travel advice for Madagascar is that it is advised that you avoid the Toliara region altogether if possible.
Criminal gangs have also been known to attack vehicles between Antananarivo and Toliara. It is highly advised to only travel in a convoy where possible. Although this does not eliminate the threat, it may reduce it. The security situation in Toliara region remains tense and the roads are in a very poor condition.
The popular tourist island of Nosy Be and in the city of Antsohihy have experienced high rates of violence and robberies to foreigners. These attacks have occurred in the daytime and in crowded areas. You should be vigilant at all times and avoid carrying large amounts of money.
If you wish to visit a National Park in Madagascar, you should seek advice from a tour operator or from the park administration well in advance of your trip. Visiting alone can be very dangerous and there are many cases each year of armed attacks and robberies.
Andohahela National Park has experienced an increase in attacks on foreign visitors. The park had to shut down due to this issue but has recently reopened. Maintain vigilance if you plan on visiting Andohahela.
The political situation remains fragile in Madagascar. The coup of 2009 was followed by 5 years of political unrest, during which Madagascar became the poorest country in the world who was not in conflict.
Madagascar's International Relations
Madagascar is a member of the Indian Ocean Commission, the Organization of African Unity and the Non-Aligned Movement. Strong diplomatic relationships are maintained with Europe, especially the UK, France, and the United States. The country also receives a considerable amount of donations from many western countries which aid in the conservation of Madagascar’s valuable rain forests.
Travelling around Madagascar
To drive in Madagascar you must have an international driving licence or apply to convert your driving licence to a Madagascan one. Many secondary roads are impassable and bridges are often washed away during the wet season.
There are frequent armed robberies on main roads, which mostly occur at night. Do not stop if you’ve been involved in, or seen an accident. If possible you should drive to the next town and report it to the police directly.
It is also advised not to travel after dark, and to ensure that all journeys are well planned and thought through.
Commercial Travel Risk Services
Intelligent Protection International Limited provides companies and organisations with Commercial Travel Risk Services designed to mitigate risks of staff when they travel for business. If you are interested in these services, please see: Commercial Travel Risk Services.
Emergency Services in Madagascar
All emergency services: 117
Currency: Malagasy Ariary
Time now in Antananarivo:
Consular information for Madagascar
Lot 207 A,
Telephone: +261 2023 48000
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +261 03449 32854
Ninth Floor Tour Zital
Telephone: +261 2022 33053
Visa requirements for Madagascar
To enter Madagascar, your passport must be valid for six months beyond the length of your proposed stay. Most nationalities can obtain a visa valid for 30 days upon arrival in Madagascar if they are visiting for tourist purposes. This costs about 70 Euros.
Alternatively, you can apply for an e-visa online before your travel.
Healthcare and Immunisations
It is advised that visitors to Madagascar are up-to-date with primary boosters such as MMR. It is further recommended that most travellers also get Tetanus, Hepatitis A, Polio and Typhoid vaccinations. Check with your local health professional prior to travel if you are unsure.
Antimalarials are recommended as the risk of Malaria is high in Madagascar. There is also a risk of Dengue in the country, so caution should be taken to avoid mosquito bites.
Over 2,400 cases of airborne plague have now been reported in Madagascar. The disease is suspected to be pneumonic, which is the deadliest form of plague. It spreads through coughing and can kill the person that are affected within 24 hours. Therefore, it is recommended to avoid going to Madagascar at the moment.
Complex surgery requires evacuation either to Mauritius, South Africa or La Reunion. Be sure to have adequate medical insurance during your visit in case of such an event.
Around 500 cases of plague are reported annually in Madagascar. The town of Moramanga has experienced many fatalities because of outbreaks of the plague so you should exercise extreme caution if you are visiting the area.