Located in the Indian ocean approximately 250 miles (400 km) off the coast of Africa, Madagascar is the world’s 4th largest island, filled with incredible wildlife, landscapes and biodiversity. The country is an amazing adventure destination offering affordable rates and tasteful food as well.
NATURE & BIODIVERSITY
Madagascar is home to over 11,000 endemic plant species, offering unique nature and landscapes, from jungles, forests, deserts, high peaks to plateaus, lagoons, stunning beaches and more that would impress anyone, highlighting the baobab trees in the Avenue of the Baobabs.
Thanks to its diverse landscapes, Madagascar offers an unique wildlife, with more than 200,000 known species endemic to the country, and due to the absence of monkeys, is home to the lemurs, with more than 103 species of them. The island is the only place in the world where these can be found. The country is also home to two thirds of the world’s chameleons species, as well as 300 birds, 240 reptiles and hundreds of species of insects and other mammals.
People in Madagascar come from an interesting mix between African, Arabs and Indians. A former French colony is also a melting pot of diverse cultures and traditions. Locals are extremely welcoming and warm, allowing tourists to discover their culture and customs. There are many ethnic groups along the island, each of them with a different set of beliefs, traditions and cuisines.
Madagascar is home to some of the most undiscovered beaches of the Indian Ocean. Thanks to this, the coral reefs around the island have not suffered the degradation of other tropical islands. Countless miles coastline with unspoilt beaches, snorkeling and diving and great seafood.
What to expect
The official languages of Madagascar are Malagasy and French. French is spoken among the educated population, however only 0.618% of the population are native french speakers. You can find some English speakers along the touristic areas of the country as well as hotels and restaurants. There is no need to learn Malagasy to get by, although locals would really appreciate the gesture.
In Madagascar the standard voltage is 220 V and the frequency is 50 Hz. That’s the standard voltage (220-240V) in the UK, Europe, Australia and most of Asia and Africa; If you are traveling from the US you will need an adaptor.
The Malagasy Ariary is the currency of Madagascar. Other foreign currencies, like dollars and euros, might be accepted in some tourist places and hotels but won’t be accepted in smaller establishments. You could exchange your money at the airport (recommended) or at exchange houses or banks, you could also withdraw from the ATM. Credit cards are widely accepted. 1 USD equals 3812.70 malagasy ariarys (as of 2020).
Madagascar has a subtropical climate, with a hot and rainy season between November and the end of March (summer), and a cooler dry season from May to October (winter). Temperature can fluctuate depending on the altitude and geographic position. Minimum temperatures average around 73 F / 23 C and maximum temperatures reach 90 F / 32 C.
Madagascar is a very safe country to travel to. Crime rate is low in comparison to other African countries. However, caution and common sense is recommended, especially at night or in crowded places, as petty crime does exist.
All foreign country citizens will need a visa to enter Madagascar. Travellers will need to provide a return plane ticket, have a passport valid for at least six months after the intended date of return and one free page in the passport for the visa stamps. Visas of up to 90 days can be purchased at the airport upon arrival.
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