Madagascar - Profile
- Update August 2016: An outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease in Reunion and Rodrigues has resulted in strict food import restrictions. See this Noonsite report.
- In the past officials have not especially welcomed visiting sailors, who were invariably treated with suspicion and as a result very few yachts stopped in Madagascar. The situation is definitely changing and as the island is attracting an increasing number of tourists to its resorts, the attitude to visiting yachts has shown a marked improvement.
- With the Red Sea becoming a difficult area for yachts, more are choosing the Cape of Good Hope route and the numbers of boats coming through Madagascar is on the increase. The authorities have recognised this, with improving services and a much more friendly attitude towards yachts, with formalities becoming more straightforward.
- The most attractive ports and anchorages are on the northern tip of Madagascar, where Antsiranana (NE coast), formerly known as Diego Suarez, has a beautiful natural harbour. The old town has a cosmopolitan atmosphere with its mixed population of Malagasy, a melting pot of Indonesians, Malays, Arabs, Indians, Africans and Réunionnais.
- Just opposite Antsiranana on the NW coast is the National Park of Nosy Hara where a small marina is under construction with repair facilities.
- Further down the NW coast is Madagascar's prime attraction, the picturesque island of Nossi-Be, now a thriving tourist resort.
- Another island worth visiting is Nossi Boraha (Ile Sainte Marie), close to Toamasina, the country's chief commercial harbour and main port of entry, on the Eastern coast of Madagascar. The latter is a good place to stop for yachts on passage to the Cape of Good Hope.
- Another interesting stop for southbound yachts is at Taolanaro, formerly Port Dauphin on the SE tip of the Island - the site of the first French settlement in the seventeenth century.
- Good repair facilities can be found at Mahajanga, on the west coast, which is used by many foreign shrimping boats as a base of operations. With the increase in visiting yachts, repair facilities are improving in Nossi-Be and Nosy Hara.
- The Scattered Islands, off the East of Madagascar and to the west in the Mozambique Channel, are French and under the jurisdiction of the Reunion Commissioner.
Little crime against yachts is reported here, however that's probably because in general few yachts visit.
In the past we have received reports of armed robberies in Mahajanga, and a more recent one in October 2016 when an Italian yacht was boarded at night by three armed men and robbed at knifepoint. See report here.
In August 2014 a yacht was boarded at night by an armed intruder in Deigo Suarez. See report here.
Muggings, robberies and street crime occur frequently, not only in towns but also in nature reserves and on beaches. Take particular care on beaches and avoid visiting them alone.
There have been recent attacks on tourists visiting the National Parks Montagne d’Ambre and Ankarana.
Check the latest travel advice. See FCO website.
Theft is a problem here, as in many places, and care must be taken to protect dinghies, outboards and personal belongings.
Last updated October 2016.
The climate is tropical. November to March is the rainy season. The SE trade wind season lasts until the end of October and the trades can be very strong at times, occasionally being accompanied by violent thunderstorms. From December to March cyclones are common on the east coast.
Meteo Madagascar - http://www.meteomadagascar.mg/
Cape Town Radio (SSB) on 4375 8740 13146Mhz USB at 1015 1330 1815 utc daily for forecasts and reports. Gives you barometer pressure and wind speed around the entire SA coast line.
For links to free global weather information, forecast services and extreme weather information see the Noonsite Weather Page.