Pre-Trip and Information
Do I need anti-malaria tablets for Madagascar?
Malaria exist in Madagascar.. Anti-malarials such as Mefloquine, Doxycycline or Atovaquone/Proguanil are recommended. It is also important to avoid mosquito bites as much as possible by wearing long sleeves and trousers where possible, sleeping under a mosquito net and covering yourself in a strong insect repellent containing at least 50% DEET.
Make sure you are up to date with routine vaccinations such as MMR, polio and tetanus
Is it safe to drink tap water in Madagascar?
Tap water is never safe to drink in Madagascar and visitors to the country should stick solely to bottled mineral water or boiled/purified water if bottled water is not available. Avoid ice in your drinks as this may have been made with unhygienic water.
What’s the food like in Madagascar?
A typical dish in Madagascar consists of a very generous portion of rice or ro (rice mixed with herbs and leaves), served with some meat in sauce and vegetables. Although Malagasy food is cooked with relatively little spice, it is considered flavoursome and delicious and encompasses influences from African, Arab, Indonesian and French cuisine.
A popular dish that can be found across the whole island is romazava, a stew made from beef, chicken or fish and vegetables, served with rice. Another speciality is ravitoto, which consists of pork and shredded cassava leaves. While Malagasy food is not normally hot, a chilli relish called sakay can be used to spice up a dish.
Dessert is almost always a variety of exotic fruits sprinkled with sugar and flavoured with vanilla, which can be washed down with a glass of ranonapanga, an alcoholic drink made from burnt rice water. Local beers go by the name of THB (Three Horses Beer) and Gold and soft drinks such as Coca-Cola are widely available.
Safe eating while travelling in Madagascar
Food hygiene standards in Madagascar may differ to what you are used to back home so to avoid getting sick take extra precautions with your food. Ensure that all hot food is served piping hot rather than lukewarm. If something looks poorly prepared, especially meat or fish, it is better not to eat it. When it comes to street food, don’t eat anything that might have been sat in the sun for too long. Avoid ice that has been made with tap water as well as salad and unpeeled fruit, which might have been washed in it.
Is it standard to tip in Madagascar?
Tipping in Madagascar is a nice gesture but is by no means compulsory. A tip of 10% or so at a restaurant would be incredibly generous by Malagasy standards but if the service has been up to standard then there is no reason not to leave that much. Bell boys and housekeeping in nice hotels should get around USD $1 per bag/day of cleaning. Tour guides and drivers should be tipped anything between USD $5-10 per day, depending on the quality of the service they provided. Tipping is not expected by taxi drivers but rounding up the fare is a good way of showing your appreciation of good service.
Is it safe for a single woman to travel in Madagascar?
Most women do not encounter any problems during their solo travel through Madagascar. Hospitality and kindness to strangers is a prominent part of Malagasy culture and most travellers to the country find that they are warmly welcomed by everyone they meet. Nevertheless, women should dress modestly to avoid unwanted attention and to blend in better with the locals. Women should also be wary of being alone in isolated places at night.
What is the duty free allowance for Madagascar?
Travellers over the age of 21 are permitted to bring the following in to the country:
- 2 cartons or 20 packs of cigarettes
- 2 litres of alcoholic drinks
The following are banned from being imported into Madagascar: Unauthorised firearms and ammunition, and endangered species (unless accompanied by a CITES permit). Plants, fruit and vegetables require a phytosanitary certificate.
What sort of plugs do I need for Madagascar and what is the voltage?
In Madagascar the standard voltage is 127/220 V and the plugs required are those with two circular prongs.
Is WiFi widely available in Madagascar?
WiFi is reasonably easy to find in Madagascar with most restaurants, cafes, bars and hotels offering a connection. Please note that the speed and security of the connection in Madagascar may be inferior to what you are used to back home.
What time zone is Madagascar on?
Madagascar is 3 hours ahead of GMT and does not observe daylight savings.