Madagascar

Capital Antananarivo

Population 22,434,363

Area 587,041 km2

Key facts

Madagascar is an island nation located in the Indian Ocean, off the southeastern coast of Africa. It is the fourth-largest island in the world. The country is located to the east of Mozambique and to the northwest of the island of Reunion.

Madagascar is known for its diverse and unique flora and fauna, with many species found nowhere else in the world. The island’s geography is varied, with highlands, rainforests, and arid deserts. The highest point on the island is Maromokotro, which stands at 2,876 meters (9,436 feet).

The population of Madagascar is around 22.4 million, with the majority of people living in rural areas. The official language of Madagascar is Malagasy, which is a Austronesian language with many loanwords from French, English, and other languages. French is also widely spoken in the country, particularly in urban areas.

Madagascar has a diverse culture, with influences from African, Asian, and European traditions. The country’s economy is primarily based on agriculture, with exports including vanilla, coffee, and shrimp.

In the EF English Competency Index (EF EPI), which assesses the language proficiency of non-native speaking countries, Madagascar was ranked 77th out of 100 countries in 2021.

The national currency in Madagascar is Malagasy ariary (MGA). The ariary (Ar) is subdivided into 5 iraimbilanja.

With today’s currency rate, 1 EUR is worth 4610.94 MGA and 1 USD is worth 4295 MGA.

Malagasy
Banknotes

Ar100Ar200Ar500Ar1000Ar2000Ar5000Ar10000

Malagasy
Coins

Ar1Ar2Ar4Ar5Ar10Ar20Ar50125

Check with your bank before your trip to find out if there are any fees for using your card abroad. Some banks do not charge fees when you use a foreign ATM or pay in foreign currency, but others may charge a fixed cost for each transaction or allow a limited number of free withdrawals. The travel card provided by Wise.com, Revolut or Monose might be an excellent option to cut down on transaction fees.

Ookla® Speedtest The average fixed internet speed in Madagascar is 40.94 Mbps and mobile is Mbs.The global average is 150.61 Mbps and 97.08 Mbps respectively.

ATM Density It may be difficult to locate an ATM in Madagascar.3.13 ATMs per 100,000 people.The global average is 41.24.

SIM Registration In order to purchase a SIM card in Madagascar, a passport or ID is required as identification.

Socket types

There are 5 socket types used in Madagascar. Type C is a popular socket type throughout Europe (except the United Kingdom), Russia, and certain Asian countries. Type D is not very common around the world, so it might be a good idea to check if your electronics need an adapter.

Type C 127 V, 220 V, 50 Hz  Type D 127 V, 220 V, 50 Hz  Type E 127 V, 220 V, 50 Hz  Type J 127 V, 220 V, 50 Hz  Type K 127 V, 220 V, 50 Hz  

The sockets’ shapes and voltage differ from country to country and a travel plug adapter may be required. Portable devices, such as phones, notebooks or tablets, usually handle the entire range of voltages used across the world (110-240V).

Public holidays

In the year 2023, Madagascar will celebrate 10 national public holidays. The next one Martyrs’ Day will take place on March 29.

Date Holiday name
January 1, 2023 New Year’s DayNew Year’s Day
March 29, 2023 Martyrs’ DayMartyrs’ Day
April 10, 2023Moving holiday Easter MondayEaster Monday
May 1, 2023 Labour DayLabour Day
May 18, 2023Moving holiday Ascension DayAscension Day
May 29, 2023Moving holiday Whit MondayWhit Monday
June 26, 2023 Independence DayIndependence Day
August 15, 2023 Assumption DayAssumption Day
November 1, 2023 All Saints’ DayAll Saints’ Day
December 25, 2023 Christmas DayChristmas Day

Tourism

Madagascar is a popular tourist destination due to its unique flora and fauna, beautiful beaches, and diverse culture. Many people visit Madagascar to experience the country’s natural beauty, including its national parks and reserves, which are home to many species of plants and animals found nowhere else in the world.

One of the most visited heritage sites in Madagascar is the Royal Hill of Ambohimanga, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The hill is home to the Rova of Antananarivo, the former royal palace of the Kingdom of Madagascar. The site is known for its beautiful architecture, as well as its cultural and historical significance.

Nature lovers may be interested in visiting the Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its striking rock formations and diverse array of flora and fauna. The park is home to many endangered species, including the Madagascan giant jumping rat and the Madagascan weasel.

Other popular destinations in Madagascar include the city of Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar, which is known for its historical landmarks and beautiful views; the beaches of Nosy Be, which are popular for their crystal clear waters and white sandy beaches; and the town of Andasibe, which is home to the Perinet Reserve, a popular destination for wildlife viewing.

In terms of unique experiences, Madagascar is home to many traditional and cultural festivals, including the Aloalo Festival, which is a celebration of the country’s history and culture, and the Sakalava Festival, which is a celebration of the Sakalava people and their traditions.

What hotel chains are present in Madagascar?

There are no Mariott hotels in Madagascar.

There are no Hilton hotels in Madagascar.

There are no IHG hotels in Madagascar.

There are no Best Western hotels in Madagascar.

There are Radisson hotels in Antananarivo.

The Accor hotel chain operates in Madagascar.

Local delicacies and must-try foods and drinks in Madagascar

Madagascar is known for its diverse and flavorful cuisine, which is influenced by African, Asian, and European traditions. Some popular dishes in Madagascar include:

  1. Romazava:
    This is a traditional meat and vegetable stew that is typically made with beef, tomatoes, onions, and a variety of leafy greens.
  2. Varanga:
    This is a dish made with fish, coconut milk, and a variety of spices. It is often served with rice.
  3. Akoho sy voanio:
    This is a dish made with chicken and coconut milk, and is often served with rice.
  4. Vary amin’anana:
    This is a dish made with pork and pineapple, and is often served with rice or noodles.
  5. Koba:
    This is a snack made with ground peanuts and sugar, and is often served as a dessert or street food.
  6. Mofo gasy:
    This is a dish made with beef, onions, and a variety of spices, and is often served with rice or noodles.

In terms of drinks, tourists in Madagascar can try a variety of local beverages, including coffee, tea, and fruit juices. There are also a number of local breweries that produce a variety of beers and other alcoholic beverages. One popular local drink is toaka gasy, which is a type of rum made from sugarcane.

What fast food chains are present in Madagascar?

The McDonald’s chain does not operate in Madagascar.

The KFC chain operates in Madagascar.

The Burger King chain does not operate in Madagascar.

The Subway chain does not operate in Madagascar.

The Domino’s Pizza chain does not operate in Madagascar.

The Starbucks chain does not operate in Madagascar.

Weather

What is the climate like in Madagascar?

Madagascar has a tropical climate, with warm temperatures throughout the year. The weather and climate in Madagascar can vary greatly depending on the region.

In the highlands, temperatures are generally cooler than in other parts of the country. The average temperature in the highlands is around 20-25°C (68-77°F) during the day and 10-15°C (50-59°F) at night. The highlands experience two rainy seasons per year, with the heaviest rains occurring from December to March and from June to October.

Along the coast, temperatures are generally warmer and more humid. The average temperature in coastal areas is around 25-30°C (77-86°F) during the day and 20-25°C (68-77°F) at night. Coastal areas experience two rainy seasons per year, with the heaviest rains occurring from November to April and from December to March.

In the arid south and southwest, temperatures are generally hot and dry. The average temperature in these regions is around 30-35°C (86-95°F) during the day and 20-25°C (68-77°F) at night. These regions experience little rainfall, with the dry season lasting from May to October.

Overall, Madagascar has a warm, tropical climate with distinct rainy and dry seasons.

When is the best time to visit Madagascar?

It is difficult to determine the best month to visit Madagascar as the ideal time to visit will depend on your personal preferences and the specific activities and destinations you are interested in experiencing. Madagascar has a tropical climate, with warm temperatures and high humidity throughout the year.

The country experiences two rainy seasons per year, with the heaviest rains occurring from November to April in the coastal regions and from December to March in the highlands. If you prefer dry, sunny weather, you may want to visit during the dry season, which typically lasts from May to October.

If you are interested in experiencing Madagascar’s diverse flora and fauna, you may want to visit during the months when the weather is drier and cooler, as this can be a more comfortable time to explore the country’s national parks and reserves.

What is the weather like in Antananarivo?

Today the sun in Antananarivo, rises at 5:38 AM and sets at 6:29 PM. The climate of Antananarivo may be categorized as a , according to Koppen’s classification system.

TodayFeb 9ThunderstormLow: 17.7°C (63.86°F)High: 25.1°C (77.18°F)
FridayFeb 10OvercastLow: 16.8°C (62.24°F)High: 26.1°C (78.98°F)
SaturdayFeb 11Rain showersLow: 16.9°C (62.42°F)High: 27.3°C (81.14°F)
SundayFeb 12Rain showersLow: 16.8°C (62.24°F)High: 27.4°C (81.32°F)
MondayFeb 13OvercastLow: 15.7°C (60.26°F)High: 26.6°C (79.88°F)
TuesdayFeb 14Partly cloudlyLow: 15.6°C (60.08°F)High: 26.4°C (79.52°F)

Weather data for Antananarivo (capital city) by Open-Meteo.com

Transport

How easy is it to get around Madagascar by train?

The rail network in Madagascar is relatively limited, with the majority of the country’s transportation infrastructure consisting of roads. It consists of two main lines, one running from the capital, Antananarivo, to the port city of Toamasina, and the other running from Antananarivo to the town of Fianarantsoa. The rail network operated by the state-owned railway company is not very dense, and the lines are not very long. There are no high-speed railways in Madagascar. Generally, the rail network is primarily used for transporting goods, and passenger service is relatively limited.

The reliability and quality of train service in Madagascar is generally poor, with frequent delays and breakdowns. The stock is generally not modern, with many of the trains being outdated and in poor condition. As a result, many people in Madagascar prefer to travel by road, using buses or other forms of transportation.

How easy is it to get around Madagascar by car?

Getting around Madagascar by car can be challenging, as the road system in the country is not well developed. The road network in Madagascar consists of a mix of paved and unpaved roads, with the majority of the roads being in poor condition.

The most important expressway in Madagascar is the Route Nationale 7 (RN7), which runs from the capital, Antananarivo, to the port city of Toamasina. The RN7 is a paved road that is considered the main transportation corridor in the country, and it is used to transport goods and passengers between the two cities. There are no plans to extend the RN7 at this time.

In addition to the RN7, there are a number of other important roads in Madagascar, including the Route Nationale 2 (RN2), which runs from Antananarivo to the town of Fianarantsoa, and the Route Nationale 4 (RN4), which runs from Antananarivo to the town of Tamatave. These roads are generally in poor condition and are not suitable for long distance travel.

In terms of maintenance, the roads in the cities of Madagascar are generally better maintained than the roads in rural areas. However, even in the cities, the roads are often in poor condition, with potholes and other damage common. In rural areas, the roads are often in very poor condition, and travel can be slow and difficult.

Railways There are passenger trains operating between some cities.

Subway Systems There is no subway system in any city.

Taxi Apps Unfortunately neither Uber nor Bolt are available in Madagascar.

Car Rental Avis , Hertz are available, but Sixt is not present in Madagascar.

Road Connectivity Index (2016)  With a score of 2.4, Madagascar is placed 124th out of 129 nations.

Driving Side In Madagascar traffic is right-handed.

Safety

Theft Occurrence Rate  No data available.

Road Traffic Casualties 29.20 deaths per 100,000 people in 2019.The global average is 16.71.

Travel Advisory Level (U.S. DoS)  Level 2: Exercise increased caution. 

Emergency phones in Madagascar

117 Police
118 Ambulance
118 Fire police

Sources

Smoking & Alcohol

Smoking ban Inconsistent or only partially enforced smoke-free laws

Cananbis legality Both recreational and medicinal use of cannabis is prohibited.

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