Madagascar: useful information


Useful tourist information for travel in Madagascar, everything you need to know before leaving, from the documents necessary to the best times to go, how to get to the large island defined red for the color of the soil with a high iron content.

Madagascar in short

  • Capital: Antananarivo
  • Area in sq km: 587.041
  • Population: 19,683,359 (2007)
  • Religion: Mostly Christian (Catholic and Protestant), in addition to traditional cults and a small Muslim minority.

Where is it

Madagascar flag The state of Madagascar coincides with the island of the same name located in the Indian Ocean, off the east coast of Africa, facing Mozambique.

It is the fourth largest island in the world (without considering Australia after Greenland, New Guinea and Borneo) and is bordered by several smaller islands, including Nosy Be and Sainte Marie, the best known in terms of appearance tourist, especially Nosy Be, which serves as a starting point for visiting the islands and archipelagos that surround it.

The island of Madagascar is crossed in all its length by a mountain range, which in the eastern part descends steeply towards a narrow coastal plain, while in the western part it gradually descends towards the coast, forming extensive plateaus.

The tropical forest that once covered the whole territory, excluding the south and the Toilara region, following the desertification process, today is found only in the eastern part of the island due to the disappearance of about 70% of the forests.


The reliefs run close to the eastern coast of the island, therefore the waterways of this side are short, interrupted by rapids and with a fairly regular regime, while those on the western side are longer and with an irregular regime.

The main rivers are the Betsiboka, Mangoky, Tsiribihina, Onilahy, Maningory and Mangor.


Madagascar, crossed in the southern part by the Tropic of Capricorn, has a tropical climate characterized by a remarkable regional variety.

On the east coast it rains a lot and the dry season is absent, the central plateau enjoys a temperate climate and rainfall is concentrated in the summer season (November-March), the west part (excluding the north west and south west ends) has a shorter rainy season, while in the south-western part the climate is mainly dry throughout the year.

The temperature of the west coast is constantly higher than that of the east coast, where the average is 25 ° C.


The population of Madagascar is made up of 18 main ethnic groups, mainly of mixed Asian and African origin, with Arab and European influences.

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Time zone

In Madagascar the time difference is 2 hours ahead of Italy (+ 1 hour when daylight saving time is in force in Italy).

Spoken language

The Malagasy language of Malayo-Polynesian origin is spoken in Madagascar. Spread the French language, legacy of the country's colonial past.


Madagascar's economic situation is rather unstable.

Agriculture, a vulnerable sector, is the main activity of the population.

For the purpose of subsistence, rice is first cultivated and then cassava, sweet potato, potato, corn and sorghum, while products such as coffee, sisal, sugar cane, cotton, cocoa, tobacco, spices (especially vanilla) are destined for export. ), and perfume essences.

Cattle breeding is important, especially zebu.

Shrimp exports are growing in the fishing sector. From the tourist point of view Madagascar offers, with its extraordinary landscapes, valid resources, but only partially developed.

When to go

The best time to visit Madagascar is during their winter, from May to September. The months of January, February and March are to be avoided since in this period, on the eastern coasts, far north and far south, intense rains and cyclones can occur.

Necessary documents

To enter Madagascar you need a passport with a residual validity of at least 6 months from the moment you enter the country, the return or onward travel ticket and the visa, which is issued at the airport upon arrival. For this you need a blank page in the visa section of the passport.


- The international prefix for calling from Italy to Madagascar is: 00261

- The international prefix for telephoning from Madagascar to Italy is: 0039

The GSM network covers Antananarivo, Nosy Be and surroundings. It is advisable to have local mobile cards.

It is also possible to purchase calling cards for use in public telephones.


The electric current is 127/220 V 50 Hz. Various types of sockets. It is advisable to have a power adapter.

Money and credit card

The official currency of Madagascar is the Ariary, which is replacing the Malagasy franc.

Credit cards and Travelers' checks are not widespread.

The most popular credit cards are accepted only in the main tourist structures, airlines and travel agencies.

It is recommended to exchange currency at the airport upon arrival. The Ariary is not convertible outside Madagascar.

How to get

For travel and holidays with flights to Madagascar, the main airlines that connect Europe to Madagascar are Air Madagascar (the flag carrier) and Air France.

The connections are from Milan Malpensa to Antananarivo and Nosy Be.

With Air France the flight departs from Paris, while with Air Madagascar the flight is direct from Milan. From Paris, it offers flights to Madagascar, another French airline, Corsairfly.

Air Italy organizes charter flights from Milan Malpensa and Rome Fiumicino to Nosy Be.


No mandatory vaccination.

Vaccination against yellow fever is required only from those who come from infected areas.

Antimalarial prophylaxis and vaccine against hepatitis A and B are recommended.

Furthermore, it is recommended to drink only bottled water and drinks without adding ice, and avoid eating raw food.

Before leaving, it is a good idea to take out health insurance that covers, if necessary, medical expenses and any repatriation.

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Tags: Madagascar