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Madagascar Tours

Madagascar is a country that occupies a large island of the same name, located in the Indian Ocean off the eastern coast of Africa. It is the fourth largest island in the world. Madagascar is famous for pepper, vanilla, and of course the lemurs. The country has six provinces (faritany) - Antananarivo, Antsiranana, Fianarantsoa, Mahajanga, Toamasina, and Toliara.
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On A Madagascar Tour

BEFORE YOU GO

On Your Madagascar Tour

Traveling in Madagascar

Introduction

As the world’s fourth largest island, Madagascar has a history, culture and ecology all its own. When you travel to Madagascar, you are stepping into a new world, one with beautiful beaches, charming lemurs and majestic baobab trees. Madagascar tourism celebrates both its unique geography and strong local culture, which is as welcoming as it is interesting.

Unique Travel Experiences in Madagascar

Introduction
As the world’s fourth largest island, Madagascar has a history, culture and ecology all its own. When you travel to Madagascar, you are stepping into a new world, one with beautiful beaches, charming lemurs and majestic baobab trees. Madagascar tourism celebrates both its unique geography and strong local culture, which is as welcoming as it is interesting.

 

Frolic with lemurs in Andasibe National Park

Perhaps no other animal is as strongly associated with Madagascar as the lemur. The country’s seasonal climate and particular ecology have led lemurs to enjoy a species diversity there that rivals that of other primates. In fact, until roughly 2,000 years ago, there were lemurs on the island that grew to be as large as adult male gorillas. Today, there are almost 100 distinct species of the creature, including the ring-tailed lemur, the icon of Madagascar.

Visitors who want to get up close and personal with the charming creatures should make the trek to Andasibe National Park, which has 11 different species of lemur. Guided luxury tours are available that let guests interact with the animals, along with other fantastic creatures such as the Baweng satanic leaf gecko, which blends in with its environment almost perfectly.

 

Take an invigorating hike through the Tsingys

To really get the blood pumping, set out on a hike through Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict Nature Reserve. The limestone uplands are carved into a number of vertical, “tsingy” peaks, which taken together give the visual impression of an impressive stone forest. Walking through, you not only get the spectacular visual of the Tsingy forest, but also the canyon of the Manambolo river.  

The undisturbed beauty of its forests, lakes and mangrove swamps have made it home to a wide range of unique species, such as endangered lemurs and birds. While the hike over and through the sandstone cliffs can be challenging at parts, it is well worth it to see the local flora and fauna. Due to its impressive elegance and rich biodiversity, the reserve was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990.



See the famous Alley of the Baobab trees

If you spend most of your time in a large city, it can be easy to lose site of the utter majesty of nature. Standing in the vicinity of a baobab tree, that magnificence is made apparent, as they can reach heights of nearly 100 feet tall, which, when combined with their unique appearance, provide an experience that is almost spiritual.

Nowhere is this more clear than in the Alley of the Baobab trees, a group of the flora that line the dirt road between Morondova and Belon’i Tsiribihina in Madagascar. The trees in this avenue are up to 800 years old, which means that when you walk under them, you are standing in the same shade as people who lived in a world that you would barely recognize. Originally, these trees were part of a dense forest growth - however, over the years, agriculture stripped away the surrounding foliage, leaving only the baobab, which were revered for their value as a food source and building material. Now, they provide a different sort of reverence, and many local conservation efforts are aimed directly at protecting this link to the ancient world.

 

Relax on the remote peninsula of Anjajavy

Add some relaxation to travel to Madagascar with an excursion to the remote peninsula of Anjajavy. One of the rare oases left in the world, it is rich in both nature and leisure, making it a must-visit when it comes to luxury Madagascar tourism. Set apart from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, Anjajavy has both thick forests teeming with wildlife and beautiful beaches that are perfect for solitude.

 

Spot unique wildlife

One of the highlights of Madagascar tourism is the chance to get close to unique wildlife. As an island, Madagascar has, for a long time, been isolated from the continents around it. This isolation has led to the development of a very particular ecology, with almost 90 percent of the species in the country not found anywhere else in the world. That means that no matter where you go when you take a tour of Madagascar, you are likely to see something that you would not be able to view on any other sort of trip.

Many of the most stunning animals on the island are endangered, such as the silky sifaka, a large lemur characterized by its long white fur. In addition to lemurs, which are the iconic animals of Madagascar, there are also a number of other of birds, mammals and insects. Visitors can head out to Saint Mary’s Island to spot humpback whales, or head to the tropical forest to get a gander at the rare striped civet. Overhead, nearly 300 species of birds soar, more than 100 of which cannot be seen in other skies, such as the slender-billed flufftail.



Passport Requirements for Madagascar Safaris

American and Canadian citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least 6 months beyond the intended return date in order to enter and depart the country. Each traveler is responsible for ensuring that his/her passport is up to date. Citizens of other nationalities should check with respective authorities before departure.

Please ensure that the name on your passport matches all travel documents we have issued. If this is not the case, please contact us immediately. Your passport must have at least one blank page for the entry stamp. This cannot include the ‘endorsement’ page at the back.

Please make a photocopy of your passport’s identification page and keep it separate from your original. It’s also a good idea to leave a digital copy with someone at home. This may speed up the replacement process should you lose your passport.

Visa Requirements for Madagascar Safaris

You must have a passport that is valid for at least six months after date of travel and your passport must have at least two blank pages (per country visited) to allow for visa stamps. A visa is required for all foreign citizens visiting Madagascar.

After several years of "no-fee visa" policy for stays shorter than 30 days , the Madagascar government now requires travellers to pay to get their visa no matter how long they plan to stay in the country. This measure is in effect as of December 7th 2015. The fee structure for single entry is as-follow:

  • Short stays ( up to 30 days ) ; cruise travellers will benefit from multiple entries: 80 000 MGA ( 25 Euros or 28 US Dollars ).
  • For stays lasting 30 to 60 days: 100 000 MGA ( 32 Euros or 35 US Dollars ).
  • For stays lasting 60 to 90 days: 140 000 MGA ( 25 Euros or 28 US Dollars ).

These short stay visas can be obtained upon arrival at the port of entryPayment is made by cash only with the following currencies : Malgasy Ariary, Euros, US Dollars. You should show immigration officers a printed copy of your ticket showing your departure date and your passport should have at least 6 months of validity. The visa can also be obtained from the Embassy of Madagascar serving your territory . Please contact the embassy of Madagascar serving your territory for more details on how to apply.

Insurance Recommendations for Madagascar Safaris

Cancellation and Medical Insurance is highly recommended as it can safeguard against the expenses associated with in-country medical emergencies, lost or delayed baggage and emergency cancelation or interruption of your trip. Please ensure your policy will provide you with upfront medical coverage so that you are not responsible for a hefty doctor’s bill while away. Insurance can be purchased through us.

Vaccination Requirements for Madagascar Safaris

Currently Required Vaccinations: None

However The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends the following vaccines. See your doctor at least 4-6 weeks before your trip to allow time for them to take effect:

Hepatitis A or immune globulin (IG)Hepatitis B if you might be exposed to blood (for example, health-care workers), have sexual contact with the local population, stay longer than 6 months, or be exposed through medical treatmentRabies, if you come into direct contact with wild or domestic animalsTyphoid, particularly if you are visiting developing countriesBooster doses for tetanus-diphtheria, measles and a one-time dose of polio vaccine for adults, as needed

Malaria: Malaria is always a concern when traveling in Madagascar. As most camps are in remote locations, the chances of contracting malaria are slim, but preventative measures are strongly advised.

Yellow Fever: A Yellow Fever Vaccination Card is required to enter Madagascar if you have traveled to ANY country that has Yellow Fever.

Medication Requirements for Madagascar Safaris

If there are any medical items that are essential to your health, such as prescription drugs or corrective eye wear, bring duplicates and divide them between your checked bags and hand luggage. It is difficult to replace prescription items, especially outside of the capital city.

Recommended Items:

  • Basic medicine kit (painkillers, band-aids, antiseptic cream, etc.)
  • Digestive aids such as Imodium, Pepto-Bismol; re-hydration salts and anti-diarrhea preparations.
  • Hydrocortisone tablets or cream for allergic skin reactions and bites
  • Anti-nausea tablets if you suffer from motion sickness
  • Sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher), after-sun lotion, lip balm, wide brimmed hat, sunglasses, Insect repellent
  • Antibacterial gel and/or baby wipes

Weather, Seasons and Climate in Madagascar

Madagascar has two seasons: the hot, rainy season from November to April, and a cooler, dry season from May to October. Though the overall climate is a tropical one, the country has a great variation in climate depending on elevation and position relative to dominant winds. The east coast is home to the heaviest rainfalls and hot, humid weather. Antananarivo receives almost all of its rainfall between November and March, and sees pleasant and sunny temperatures with chilly mornings in the dry season. Frost is common at higher elevations.

For up-to-date forecasts, check weather.com

Electricity, Phone and Internet in Madagascar

Electricity in Madagascar is supplied at 220-240V and 50Hz. For the most part, round two-pin plugs are used. We advise not to bring a hair dryer as it could blow a fuse.

Phone: Your cell phone will work in most areas while in Madagascar, however, roaming can be quite expensive so we do strongly recommend that you pre-purchase a data and roaming plan with your carrier before travel. Or simply opt to use phones on-site at your accommodations or purchase minutes and ask to use your driver’s phone for any immediately required phone calls.

Internet: Internet cafes are becoming increasingly popular in the city centres in Madagascar, and it is possible to find internet connections in different areas around the city. Speed is generally quite slow though. Please note that wi-fi and internet service provided in properties is at the discretion of each establishment and Kensington Tours has no control over this. Please feel free to check with your Sales Consultant before travel if you’d like to know internet set up at each of your properties or contact the properties directly so you are aware of their internet policy if this is important to you. You may like to speak to your internet provider prior to travel to arrange a roaming package.

Currency in Madagascar

The currency in Madagascar is the Malagsy Ariary (MGA). Coins are issued in denominations of 1/5, 2/5, 1, 2, 4, 5, 10, 20, and 50 ariary. Bank notes are issued in denominations of 100, 200, 500, 1000, 2000, 5000, and 10000 ariary. Be sure to bring lots of small bills for porters, wait staff and housekeeping (not obligatory and based on your satisfaction). ATMs are available throughout the country as well, but it is advisable to bring money with you.

Quick Facts for a Madagascar Safari

Capital: Antananarivo

Language: Malagasy and French

Currency: Malagasy Ariary (MGA)

Religion: 52% of the population have indigenous beliefs and 41% are Christian

Time Zone: UTC + 03

Electricity: 220V/50 Hz

Telephone: Country code for calling you from outside Madagascar is +261

Calling North America: Dial 001 and your 10 digit number.

Emergency numbers in Madagascar: Dial 117 for any type of emergency.

See What Our
CLIENTS ARE SAYING
See What Our
CLIENTS
ARE SAYING
Kristin C., July 25, 2016
"From the minute we landed, everything was taken care of."
Jeri E., April 24, 2016
"Top notch."
Eileen H., February 12, 2016
"Kensington is an expert at making it all personal."
Mary G., February 2, 2016
"Everything worked out as planned."
Patricia G., October 16, 2015
"This was really the trip of a lifetime, and we are very grateful to Kensington Tours and all our guides for their expertise and care."