The Madagascar authorities’ decision (March 20) to exclude all air traffic, both international and regional flights, still applies. Traveling by ship is also not possible. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has little opportunity to assist Norwegian citizens who want help returning to Norway. The official “state of health exception” has been continued and this gives the authorities wide powers and a number of restrictions on movement have been maintained. Local flights are currently stopped. For more information on the situation and the authorities’ actions, see the section Health. According to Abbreviationfinder, MDG stands for Madagascar in geography.
The security situation in Madagascar is generally worse today than before the crisis years following the coup (2009-2013). But if you get into the situation beforehand and take necessary precautions, you can travel relatively safely over large parts of the island.
Due to political instability, social unrest and, to some extent, extreme poverty, crime has become a growing problem in Madagascar. The capital Antananarivo is safer than many other major cities around the world, but robberies, robberies and thefts are happening more often now than before, especially in some downtown areas, in markets and at bus and “taxi” stations.
Avoid large crowds and demonstrations. In general, movement on foot outside hotels etc. should be avoided after dark. Even for shorter distances it is recommended to use taxi or own vehicle. Problems have also been reported in some nature reserves (especially in the far north) and on some beaches (especially in the Toliary area).
Use hotel safe for storing passports and valuables. Limit the storage and exposure of cash/valuables when moving outdoors.
In the rural areas of the south, the increased activity of cattle thieves, who are now also engaged in other forms of criminal activity, has major problems. As a general rule, one should not resort to holiday trips on bad roads in deserted areas.
- Countryaah: Antananarivo is the capital of Madagascar. Check to find information of population, geography, history, and economy about the capital city.
The danger of terrorist incidents in Madagascar is considered low. In recent years, there have been a greater number of financially motivated kidnappings, but these mainly affect residents of Indian/Pakistani origin.
Madagascar generally has a well-developed bus transport system, but safety and comfort are far lower than in Norway. Travelers should use their own transport. Car hire with a driver is often no more expensive than driving, and is recommended. Both the road standard and the car park standard are generally poor in Madagascar. It is encouraged to exercise great caution in traffic, both for driving and pedestrians. Avoid driving after dark.
The driver of the car is legally responsible if one gets involved in an accident on the road. Travelers themselves must consider how they will behave if they are involved in an accident. Some people recommend driving straight to the first police or gendarmerie post if you have been involved in causing an accident, whether you are the cause of the incident or not. This is especially true outside of densely populated areas. There are examples of people taking the law into their own hands, with some very tragic consequences (for example lynching). It is recommended to contact the police (17 or 117) or gendarmerie (19 or 119) as soon as possible.
Madagascar is a weathered country, and violent storms often sweep across the island during the rainy season that lasts from December to April. The floodwaters can cause major material damage and make roads impassable. Cyclones are most frequent on the east coast and the northern tip of the island. Popular tourist destinations such as Ile St. Marie and Nosy Be are in vulnerable zones. It is emphasized that it is important to follow directions and recommendations from local authorities, especially during the rainy season.
When traveling to Madagascar you are encouraged to register at reiseregistrering.no.
In Madagascar, Norway is officially represented through the Embassy section of Antananarivo (subject to the embassy in Pretoria), Consulate General of Antananarivo and the Vice Consulate of Toamasina.
In crisis and emergency, it is recommended that you contact the Consulate General of Antananarivo (tel: +261 340503401), possibly the Embassy section of Antananarivo (tel: +261 349123419). Outside of office hours, UD’s 24-hour operating center can be contacted on tel: +47 23 95 00 00 or by e-mail: UDops@mfa.no.
Please note that entry regulations may change. The Foreign Service is not responsible if the following information on entry regulations or visa requirements is changed at short notice. It is the responsibility of the traveler to ensure that travel documents are valid for entry and to familiarize themselves with the current entry rules for each country.
Norwegian citizens need a visa to stay in Madagascar. In January 2020, a tourist visa could be obtained on arrival at the airport. 30-, 60- or 90-day tourist visas are purchased on arrival and paid in cash with USD, Euros or local currency ariary. The issuance of a 30-day tourist visa at the airport in Antananarivo cost 35 euros in January 2020.
Alternatively, you can apply for an e-visa, cf. Apply for a visa.
The passport must have two free pages and must have at least six months validity. Documentation on return or forward travel must be able to be submitted.
Make sure that the entry stamp with the correct visa period is stamped in the passport.
For visas in addition to short-term tourist stays, it is recommended to consult Madagascar’s official information pages on the Internet, the website of the Madagascar Consulate in Norway, and/or the website of the Madagascar Embassy in Berlin.
All travelers abroad should take out their own travel and health insurance before leaving. It is also recommended to bring a valid vaccination card. It is the traveler’s responsibility to ensure that insurance and vaccination cards are valid. Gassian authorities do not allow the import of plants and most foods.
The export of most animal species such as reptiles, shells, birds and plants is prohibited, unless a formal export permit has been granted by the Gassian authorities. There are special export restrictions for cultural monuments. Travelers are encouraged to check the government’s regulations on the internet regarding this.
Coronavirus (covid-19): Since March 20, coronavirus has been detected in the country. The spread of infection has now stabilized, but will soon change. The Madagascar authorities’ decision (March 20) to exclude all air traffic, both international and regional flights, continues to apply. Traveling by ship is also not possible. Local flights are currently also stopped.
A “state of emergency” has been introduced, which gives the authorities broad powers for action. The restrictive measures have since April 20 been somewhat softened, including the start-up of schools and the reopening of public offices / services and the private sector. Shops and restaurants are allowed to stay until 13:00, but there is still a curfew at 20:00 – 05:00.
Minibuses can carry a maximum of 18 passengers and can operate outside the provinces. Taxis operate during the day, but it is not allowed to travel from/ to three of the major cities (including the capital). The gathering of more than 50 people is still prohibited. NB: The mask injunction is now strictly followed up.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has little opportunity to assist Norwegian citizens who want help returning to Norway. It is also not known at present whether other European countries have specific plans for evacuation. If Norwegian citizens want assistance for return – if such an opportunity were to be opened, you can contact the Consulate General of Antananarivo (firstname.lastname@example.org or phone +261 340503401).
Norwegian travelers should keep abreast of the development of the corona virus. Feel free to follow local authorities’ advice, guidance and instructions on how to deal with the situation. For information from Madagascar local authorities, cf. Situation coronavirus.
All travelers are advised to check with their insurance company whether the travel insurance is valid, given that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs advises against travel that is not strictly necessary for all countries.
You can find more information and guidance from the Norwegian health authorities on the website of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. See also UD’s answers to frequently asked questions about travel and coronavirus.
The health situation in Madagascar is very poor, and travelers should be aware that the possibility of medical assistance in case of injury/illness is considerably worse than in Norway. There is a nationwide network of hospitals and clinics, but the standard is varied and not the same as in Europe. Some may be recommended for less severe illness or injury. In case of serious illness, evacuation to La Reunion or South Africa is recommended, ideally accompanied by health care professionals. Therefore, valid travel insurance is very important when traveling to Madagascar.
It is recommended to bring first aid equipment to clean wounds and protect against further infections that easily occur in tropical climates. There is a danger of malaria in much of the country and it is recommended to seek advice from a physician/health station before departure about the need for malaria prophylaxis. Remember that mosquito oil should always be included, and that mosquito nets brought in can be useful when traveling outside cities and major tourist spots. There have been several measles epidemics in recent years.
Water directly from the tap should not be drunk, and good food hygiene should be demonstrated.
Reference is also made to the Public Health Institute for official health professional travel advice and health professional guidance to Norwegians when traveling abroad.
According to allcitycodes, the area code for calls from Norway to Madagascar is +261. The mobile telephone network is relatively well developed, but some areas still do not have coverage, and the different operators may have different coverage rates. One should inquire in advance with their mobile provider whether the mobile subscription can be used for “roaming” in Madagascar and how much this costs. An alternative is to buy a prepaid subscription from a local provider.
The tourism sector has undergone a great development in recent years and there are accommodation options with comfort and price adapted to all types of travelers. There are internet cafes in most major cities and tourist sites and wifi is also prevalent at better hotels, restaurants and cafes in major cities and tourist places.
Electricity: 220 volts. Sockets as in Norway.
The coin unit is ariary (MGA). Only major Antananarivo hotels, restaurants and shopping centers accept credit cards. Cash can be withdrawn from banks and ATMs in major cities and at tourist destinations such as Nosy Be (North-West) and Ile St. Marie. The most widely used credit card is Visa, but Mastercard has also been approved for a number of places. Only a minority of banks accept Mastercard. It is recommended to include a good foreign currency inventory (preferably euros). There is no upper limit for the introduction of currency, but must be stated upon entry as part of the control of the black market. It should be noted that very many still quote prices in the former currency Gassian Franc (FMG). The exchange ratio is 5 FMG = 1 MGA.
Normal opening hours for shops: From 09.00/10.00 to 18.00/19.00 (also Saturdays), supermarkets from 09.00 to 19.30 (all weekdays), Sundays 09.00 to 13.00, banks from 08.00 to 15.30 – closed Saturday/Sunday, offices and shops are often closed in the middle of the day (noon – 2 pm).
The time difference to Norway is +1 hour (summer time) +2 hours (winter time).
It is recommended to always wear your passport. ID documents are becoming more and more frequent, especially when traveling by car. Passports are the only internationally valid identification paper. Keep a copy of your passport, visa and insurance in a safe place.
Punishment for possession and use of drugs is mainly in Madagascar as in Norway. The authorities have introduced strict measures against “sex tourism”, especially in relation to the abuse of minors. The penalty for buying sex is five to ten years in prison and/or fines.
In the capital many speak French, but English is generally deficient. The gases dress relatively formally in a work context, but less formally in restaurants and in private. Please note, however, that the view of what is fair dress code in public places is more conservative than in Norway.
It is useful to note that gases place greater emphasis on formal courtesy than Norwegians: greeting when entering a store or passing someone in a room, apologizing when bumping into someone, often using “s” il vous plaît “and” merci “etc.