Electrical current is 220 volts AC, 50Hz. Plugs are
Malagasy is the official language, but French is used in
business and government and is widely spoken in the main cities in
Madagascar. A few people involved in the tourism industry might be
able to speak some English, but it is not widely spoken.
Tipping in Madagascar is not usual, although in European-style
restaurants and hotels tips of 10-15% are expected.
The political situation in Madagascar is unstable, especially in
central Antananarivo and the Ambohijatovo, Lac Anosy,
Antaninarenina and Analakely areas. Violence is possible at any
large gatherings and political or military installations. It is
advised to travel with an established agency, and solo travellers
should continually monitor the local media. Precautions against
opportunistic crime, especially in the urban areas, should be
taken. Pickpockets operate at the airport and in crowded areas such
as markets. Travellers should carry a photocopy of their passport
at all times. At night, avoid walking around city centres and road
travel outside urban areas as there have been occasional hold-ups
on the main routes. The height of the cyclone season is from
January to March and affects the coastal regions. Piracy is a
significant concern in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean, and there
have been several attacks against private vessels and
Do not photograph military or police establishments while in
Madagascar. Identification should be carried at all times by
visitors. In rural areas, locals may abide my a number of taboos
, which should be respected by visitors at all
The Malagasy people are friendly and approachable. Business is
somewhat formal, but lightweight suits are appropriate due to the
subtropical climate. Although Malagasy is the official language of
Madagascar, French is the language of business and the government.
English is only more common in the tourism sector. Translators can
be arranged. Business hours are usually Monday to Saturday.
The international dialling code for Madagascar is +261. The
outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g.
0027 for South Africa). To make an international call to
Madagascar, the dialling code of 261 must be followed by a
two-digit operator code (e.g. 20 for TELMA, the most reliable),
then the regional code (e.g. 22 for Antananarivo) and then the
five-digit number. A GSM 900 network is in use, covering major
cities and main roads. Public Internet access exists in large
cities; there are a few Internet cafes in Antananarivo.
Visitors older than 21 years may bring 500 cigarettes or 25
cigars or 500g tobacco, as well as one bottle of alcohol into the
country without incurring import duty. Visitors are allowed to
export a maximum of 100g vanilla without cost.