Safety Tips in Madagascar

  • Antananarivo
    Antananarivo
    by lotharscheer
  • Antananarivo
    Antananarivo
    by lotharscheer
  • Antananarivo
    Antananarivo
    by lotharscheer

Most Viewed Warnings and Dangers in Madagascar

  • Norali's Profile Photo

    Hospitals & care units

    by Norali Updated Aug 29, 2007

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    For sure, to get sick and stay into hospital are not the aims of your travel over here. Still, this is something to be known: Madagascar is not (yet) a country where to fall ill.

    I've heard so many bad (even lethal) experiences in my family & friends circle about care units & hospitals (esp. public hospitals) over here. For most of them, the danger rather comes from the careless behaviour of care professionals (doctors, surgeons, nurses...) than from a supposedly aging machinery.

    Aging machinery has nothing to do with, for instance, the death of a newly-born who got spasms at birth for having stayed too long in the womb although the mother had already called for help for a long time while the midwife & the nurse kept on chatting in the corridor. Aging machinery has nothing to do with, for instance, the death of a newly-born due to some complications during a week-end whilst the doctor, upon a phone call from the worried father-to-be during the week-end, answered he was still enjoying it in the countryside & the delivery would take place on the following day (Monday).

    I could go on with such a sad list....

    Now, I'm just giving you one address of hospital I know well. More expensive than public hospitals but at least, you could go there blindfolded:
    CLINIQUE SAINT-PAUL
    Route d’Ambohipo Ambatoroka
    Phone: (261) 20 22 271 47
    Their team is growing in specialty: from paediatrics to cardiology through urology, aesthetic surgery...

    Another one I've heard positive things about is Polyclinique d'Ilafy. Even more expensive than Clinique Saint-Paul but hey! Health doesn't have any price. It's your first wealth after all (or so we, Malagasy, use to think).
    Phone: (261) 020 22 425 66 or (261) 20 22 425 69

    If you have to go into a hospital, please, ask to be sent there. Both Clinique Saint-Paul & Polyclinique d'Ilafy are in Tana.

    Now, don't let my tales put you off, save these addresses on your laptop, on your pda, amongst documents you'd travel with and be welcome. And, above all, I wish you a safe stay over here.

    Have these addies at reach, in Ur bpack, purse...
    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Disabilities
    • Seniors

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  • CatherineReichardt's Profile Photo

    That infuriating Air Mad Experience

    by CatherineReichardt Updated Aug 11, 2013

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    The finances of the inauspiciously (but aptly) named Air Mad have never been particularly robust, and are sicker than ever given the downturn in business since the coup in January 2009. So, if you're heading for Madagascar, be warned of the unwelcome additional randomness that this potentially brings to your travel itinerary.

    With cash being tight, Air Mad has trouble maintaining the size of its fleet and retaining the services of pilots. As a result, the airline often seeks to economise by 'consolidating' flights that are not full. This usually happens at little or no notice, and the first that the hapless traveller knows of the change is when they appear at the airport to check in for a flight that no longer exists.

    This happened to us recently on a flight between Antananarivo (Tana) and Ile St Marie. We had been repeatedly warned at the necessity of checking in 2 hours in advance - even though this is an internal flight - as the flight is often overbooked and so we dutifully pitched up at 04:15 for the 06:35 flight, bleary-eyed and with two cranky children in tow. We were summarily informed that our flight had been cancelled and our bookings transferred to the flight leaving at 13:40. After we queried why we had not been informed of this change in plan when we had reconfirmed the night before, we were reluctantly referred to the "Welcome" desk.

    However, the reception we got there was anything but "welcome". Having told us that we had been e-mailed to inform us of the change (a blatent untruth, as said e-mail was never received by either us or our travel agent, and anyway, what's the point of e-mailing people who are already in transit?), the 'welcome lady' then seemed to be of the opinion that we should simply accept the 7 hour delay with quiet resignation. When prompted to clarify what Air Mad intended to do to ease our situation (when it was patently obvious that she intended to do nothing whatsoever), she sulkily attempted to fob us off with a voucher for breakfast in an airport cafe that wasn't due to open for another hour. Unsurprisingly, we failed to be enchanted by this less-than-grand gesture, and eventually she capitulated and gave us a day voucher for the guest house in which we had been staying, which also covered the cost of the taxi both ways.

    As it was, the later flight that we were transferred onto was delayed and turned out not to be a direct flight, so we found ourselves kicking our heels for 45 minutes in the transit lounge at Tamatave. In hindsight, clearly they had decided to cancel the Ile St Marie flight - presumably because it was not full - and had combined it with the scheduled Tamatave flight, and the upshot was that we arrived on Ile St Marie nearly 10 hours later than we had planned on (so much for our fantasies about enjoying our breakfast overlooking the ocean!).

    It came as no surprise that our return flight from Tana to Johannesburg was also delayed ...

    If you would like to avoid the dubious pleasures of flying Air Mad - at least on the international leg - it is possible to fly between Johannesburg and Tana with Airlink, a subsidiary of South African Airlines, which has a somewhat better reputation for time keeping. However, be warned that if you choose to take this option, you do not qualify for discounts on internal flights (which are operated by Air Mad), which can have rather nasty cost implications. For the cynically minded (such as myself), it seems like whatever course of action you take, Air Mad will manage to frustrate you, one way or the other!

    Update (July 2013): Since I wrote this tip, the Airlink service between Jo'burg and Tana has been discontinued, so you're stuck with Air Mad if you're travelling this route. On a more positive note, recent postings in the Madagascar forum suggest that Air Mad's reliability may have improved somewhat, although I can't verify this based on my own experience. Nonetheless, I would still recommend that you exercise caution, and factor in time for possible delays when booking connecting flights.

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  • janiebaxter's Profile Photo

    Berenty - Watch out for Lemur Raids

    by janiebaxter Updated Oct 13, 2007

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    Although very cute, the Ring Tailed Lemurs of Berenty Reserve have learned that tourists take a siesta in the afternoons and that 3.30pm is the perfect time for room raiding. They wait until they think you are either asleep or out and, if you leave your window open the whole group will invade your room. They are looking for food but most of the things that tourists bring also interest them. They will lift the lid off your suitcase if it's not locked, check your cosmetics and make sure they approve of your holiday wardrobe too!
    You can actually see them staking out your room - and you can set your watch by their timing. Unfortunately it can get very hot in the afternoons but if you leave your windows open you are asking for trouble from the Ring Tails.

    Ring Tails ready for room raiding
    Related to:
    • Jungle and Rain Forest
    • National/State Park

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  • janiebaxter's Profile Photo

    Berenty - Mosquitos

    by janiebaxter Updated Oct 13, 2007

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    There are many mosquitos in Berenty Reserve. The chalets, although they have mosquito nets, let in a lot of insects. We were constantly finding them inside our nets during the night and consequently got bitten a lot. This was November and I'm not sure if this is typical for other months in the year.
    Applying mosquito repellant was essential here and taking along some of the mosquito coils that burn during the night would be a good idea as they were not provided when we were there.

    Mosquito Bait
    Related to:
    • Jungle and Rain Forest

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  • Norali's Profile Photo

    Night-service drugstores

    by Norali Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Please find below a website that lists names & locations of night-service drugstores (Pharmacies de garde). Seems it's weekly updated with the weekly rotation.

    Further down, ambulances to call in case of emergency.

    For hospitals, I'd stick to Clinique Saint-Paul.

    You could also find those in local newspapers.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Seniors
    • Disabilities

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  • nepalgoods's Profile Photo

    Language

    by nepalgoods Written Jun 12, 2004

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    Most people of Madagscar do not speak English! I had some problems to remember the little French I had learned 25 years ago at school. But French is the language you get around with. And when people discover, that you speak a few words French, they just happily talk to you.

    You need to know at least the number from 1 to 100 in French, so that you can bargain.

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  • mikeocalla's Profile Photo

    Beware of Anila Transport in Diego and Nosy Be

    by mikeocalla Updated Mar 20, 2007

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    O.K., let's say that one fine day you are looking through your Lonely Planet or Bradt guide and see that there is a company that provides a direct service between Diego Suarez and Nosy Be called ANILA TRANSPORT and you thinkthat sounds much more civilized than getting crammed into a taxi-brousse and sweating it out with the locals....

    My advice is to rip that page out of your guide book (like I did after I learned the hard way) and forget Anila Transport, and never let the words or anyone associated with ANILA have anything to do with your journey anywhere in Madagascar. This is a scam and a great way to get scalped 40,000-50,000 AR.

    This is what happened to me.....

    I was in Nosy Be and read about Anila Transport in the guide books. By some stroke of misfortune I was led to the Anila office (really just a private residence in an alley off the main drag) in Hell-ville. I was issued a ticket with a number and the alount I was to pay.... 40,000AR. The next day I went to the dock and met the Anila representative. She told me to give her the money. I told her that I wanted to see the vehicle. She pointed to a group of French tourists sitting on the boat in the harbor and told me that we were all traveling together and that they had already paid in advance. She said that the van would be waiting for us on the other side and it would take us directly to Diego. I nervously forked over the cash and she stamped "payee" on my ticket.

    When we reached the other side, in Ankify, there was no van to pick us up. The French folks started yelling at the taxi-brousse drivers and demanding that we be taken in a van. They claimed the Anila van had broken down and that we would be taken by taxi-brousse.... there was no other option. So, we got stiffed for the money and had to ride in typically hellish taxi-brousse to Diego and had to pay that driver as well. The Anila office in Diego turned out to be a table outside of some Chinese restaurant with some woman who played dumb when I tried to explain what happened.

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  • gazellen's Profile Photo

    Scorpions, Reserve speciale de l´ankarana.

    by gazellen Updated Jan 12, 2009

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    The natural park "Ankarana" is home to many scorpions.
    For some reason they like the smell of boots ect. Leave your boots outside the tend, and tjek for scorpions before going to sleap. I had a big fellow, in my tend when I woke up one morning.

    Related to:
    • Eco-Tourism
    • Backpacking
    • Camping

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  • quapaw's Profile Photo

    Vola be

    by quapaw Written Jul 6, 2005

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    Do not come to Madagascar unless you make sure that you bring enough cash, travellers checks, a Visa or Mastercard. Other bank cards are useless in Madagascar. There are some ATM's, mainly in Tana, where you can get cash with your Visa. To get money with your Mastercard you will have to go inside the bank. You will have to leave your card there and come back about 3 hours later to pick up your money. Banks can only be found in the larger cities so a lot of the time, especially if you go off the beaten track where there are no banks, you are carrying around a lot of money. Vola be.
    In Malagasy Vola means Money and Zebu, it is the same word.

    Related to:
    • Road Trip
    • Backpacking

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  • no1birdlady's Profile Photo

    Take your own creamer for your coffee

    by no1birdlady Written Mar 23, 2006

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    If you are like me and like cream in your coffee, bring a small jar of creamer from home. They did not have coffee creamer (in 1996 anyway) in the hotels we stayed in. In some places they had milk or cream in a pitcher but it was questionable because of lack of refrigeration or which animals it came from! Some places had canned milk but you weren't usually sure.

    Related to:
    • Eco-Tourism

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  • Tamani's Profile Photo

    Watch out for Zebu carts....I...

    by Tamani Written Sep 7, 2002

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    Watch out for Zebu carts....
    I found this flat chameleon on the 'mainstreet' in Morondava. Fascinating how it still has all its characteristics. I thought it would be a great souvenir, so I picked it up.Some local 'working girls' were completely puzzeled. 'Il est mort, le Chameleon' (he is dead) they said. Well, yes, that was obvious...

    It is now hanging on the wall at home displayed on the original red earth of Madagascar. Strange people these Vazaha

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  • Tamani's Profile Photo

    Make sure you have proof of...

    by Tamani Written Sep 7, 2002

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    Make sure you have proof of vaccination against Cholera. If not, the health officials will make you take antibiotic and you don't want that.In Holland you can go to the Travel Health Centre (GGD) and they will give you a very official stamp in you booklet. Just do it!

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  • Tamani's Profile Photo

    Madagascar is one of the...

    by Tamani Written Sep 7, 2002

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    Madagascar is one of the worlds top conservation priorities. Since the arrival of the first people (2500 yrs ago) more than 75% of the original forests (of all kinds) have been destroyed. Forests that are/were the home of a unique flora and fauna. All M's mammalspecies, 225 of its 257 (known) species of reptiles and almost 80% of the plants are to be found nowhere else in the world!
    Check out T e Rainforest site and let's do something now!

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  • ATLC's Profile Photo

    Watch ouf for officials in traffic

    by ATLC Written Aug 26, 2002

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    Your car is likely to be stopped regularly by police officers. Especially if you are Caucasian. They will ask to see your passport and ask for money. We were rather well protected (being guests of a member of the presidential family has advantages), so I don't know what would've happened if we hadn't been. Unfortunately this is a warning without a solution how to act!

    Related to:
    • Study Abroad
    • Business Travel
    • Family Travel

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    ZOMA Market abolished

    by ATLC Written Aug 26, 2002

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    ZOMA Market abolished! One of the most famous attractions of Antananarivo, the huge Zoma market, doesn't exist anymore. The 'central square' still has that part of the market that is in the little stalls but even the locals would not take us there.

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture

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