We usually enter Madagascar by air and also by sea, but this applies particularly to cruise ships that stop in the island and the trips are made in advance or even a year earlier. No boat regularly comes to Madagascar nor brings passengers from elsewhere but airlines are quite numerous and serve the country almost every day from other continents. Most planes, jumbo jets, arrive at the international airport of Ivato in the capital, Antananarivo. We are fortunate to have regular and direct flights from Europe, like France, almost every day and Italy twice a week after 10 hours flights. From Africa, we are connected to Kenya once a week and by South Africa four times a week in just three hours. From Asia, we are linked to Thailand twice a week by a seven hours flight. The neighboring islands like Mauritius and La Reunion join us almost every day in one hour. We can see that Madagascar is not isolated from the rest of the world; you can come here without difficulties from anywhere.
Traveling to Madagascar is easy. However, an entry and residence visa is required. You have two choices to get it.
For the first choice, if you are not in a hurry and you are patient to follow a line upon arrival at the international airport of Ivato in Antananarivo or other airports such as in Majunga from Mayotte, Fort Dauphin from Johannesburg, Tamatave from La Reunion Island, Nosy Be from Italy … The visa granted is less than 3 months and in that case, one must provide a 35Euro fee and present a passport valid for six months from the return day.
The second choice is for you who plan everything in advance and who have time to prepare it weeks before your departure. You can acquire the visa from the Embassy or Consulate of Madagascar in your country. All you need, in this case, is a passport valid six months from the date of return, two passport photos, a copy of the airline ticket or a certificate of reservation issued by a travel agency or airline, a fee of 35Euro and a form to complete. Bellow, we cite some telephone contacts that can help you, such as the Embassy of Madagascar in France 33 1 45 04 62 11 or 33 1 45 03 34 45 or 33 1 45 04 40 70 and in Italy 39 06 36 30 77 97 or 39 06 36 30 31 02; in the United Kingdom 1 613 744 79 96 or 1613744 78 09, Germany 02 28 95 35 90, USA 619 481 74 74, in Japan 813 34 45 72 52; Johannesburg 27 11 442 33 22 or 27 11 78 42 30; in Durban at 031 239 704; in La Reunion at 0262 35 50 59 and in Nairobi 254 221 83 93. The list is far from being over but you can write to us for more information.
Once in Madagascar, you can still extend your tourist visa with the Department of the Interior for a term of less than 3 months and to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs for a term of more than three months. For the long-stay visa application, you still have to bring photos, a currency declaration, a plain paper stating the reason for the application, a housing certificate or electricity or telephone bill on behalf of the applicant …
Living and working in Madagascar is not difficult if you justify an income and resource that can help the local population. But you should be careful in everything you do under threat of eviction without notice and without justification to you.
HEALTH AND VACCINATION
No vaccinations are required for the entry to Madagascar. However, if you are a frequent traveler, you always need to be cautious by making the following vaccinations (source from the World Health Organization): whooping cough, DT polio, yellow fever, rabies, typhoid, tetanus, diphtheria, hepatitis A and B.
Madagascar is a tropical country. Malaria exists in all parts of the island especially on the East coast which is humid and rainy. It is therefore essential to be properly protected from mosquito bites by wearing covering clothes, using mosquito nets in the rooms, applying mosquito repellent lotions and taking paludrine or Savarine tablets every day before the departure until the return day as prescribed by your doctor. Malaria causes a fever accompanied by significant shivering, aching muscles, headaches and digestive disorders …BEWARE, this disease is fatal if neglected.
Apart from these prevention medicines, your digestive system could be disrupted by our Malagasy dish, as healthy and authentic as it is! Therefore, bring antiseptic, intestinal and anti allergic drugs. It is true that you will find well-stocked pharmacies in each city, but the more you bring with you, the better you will help physicians in the countryside, where patients are generally poor, during your stay. It is a habit we encourage you to have as the proverb says “join the useful to the agreeable.
The “Ariary” is the currency used for Madagascar. 1 Euro roughly equals 2500 MGA (Malagasy Ariary). You have now become a Malagasy millionaire! And it is true that it is quite difficult to carry all this money during your trip. That is why it is convenient to pre-order your holiday through a tour operator like us and to pay everything from your country. Credit cards are accepted in some high standard hotels, but you can also withdraw money from the bank, which is not quite easy. Always bring cash, which is easy to exchange everywhere in the island. In this case, everyone will implement the suitable exchange rate by referring a little to the bank! In the 90s, the exchange rate was scarce in the country, and illegal exchange rate was very common. Today, Madagascar does not have that problem anymore but illegal exchange rate still remains. The difference is not much and we do not recommend it for the good of the country! Many banks are established in Madagascar to serve you properly.
Compared to Europe, the Madagascar time is 2 hours ahead during winter and 1 hour ahead during summer. For instance, if it is noon in Paris, it is 2pm in Madagascar. Compared to the United States of America, Madagascar is also ahead. The time is not the same whether we refer to Chicago or New York. Chicago time is 8 hours behind Madagascar and New York, 7 hours. Compared to the neighboring islands: La Reunion, Madagascar time is one hour behind and so is the Seychelles and Mauritius. Compared to Africa such as Johannesburg, the hour of Madagascar is one hour ahead, contrary to Kenya where the time is the same. Compared to Thailand, the time in Madagascar is 4hrs behind.