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By No owner — last modified Jan 11, 2019 01:50 PM

 Madagascar - Profile

Facts

  • Madagascar is an island located in the western Indian Ocean. It lies off the east coast of Southern Africa and is located east of Mozambique, across the Mozambique Channel.
  • Malagasy and French are the two official languages, but the former is more widely spoken. The population is about 25.5 million.
  • The currency of the island is Malagasy Ariary (MGA). For details see General Info.
  • Madagascar operates on East Africa Time (UTC +3).
  • The country has a hot and subtropical climate with colder temperatures in the mountains. For specifics see the Weather section below.
  • 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 Reunionese.
  • Just opposite Antsiranana on the NW coast is the National Park of Nosy Hara which offers docking and repair facilities.
  • Further down the NW coast is Madagascar's prime attraction, the picturesque island of Nossi-Be, now a thriving tourist resort.
  • Nossi Boraha (Ile Sainte Marie) is worth visiting, it is 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.
  • 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.
  • Repair facilities are improving on the island at a number of locations. For more details of the yachting services available see Yachting Essentials.

Security

Overall Crime and Safety:

The overall crime rate in Madagascar is lower than many other African countries and is therefore considered safer for travel.  However, in recent years there has been a rise in crime, particularly muggings and robberies. It's important to note that these crimes not only occur in urban areas but also in nature reserves and beaches.

For travel advisories see the following websites:

Specific areas of concern:

There has been an increase in violence, including armed robberies, around the capital, Antananarivo and southern districts of Toliara and Fianarantsoa provinces. If you plan to travel to these areas, you may want to consider hiring a reputable guide.

There have been recent attacks on tourists visiting the National Parks Montagne d’Ambre and Ankarana.

Take particular care on beaches and avoid visiting them alone.

Maritime Issues:

Theft is a problem here, as in many places, and care must be taken to protect dinghies, outboards and personal belongings.

Reported Incidents:

Mahajanga October 2016: an Italian yacht was boarded at night by three armed men and robbed at knifepoint. See report here.

Deigo Suarez August 2014: a yacht was boarded at night by an armed intruder. See report here.

Last updated: October 2018

Weather

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.

Forecast Areas around Southern Africa

For links to free global weather information, forecast services and extreme weather information see the Noonsite Weather Page.

Main Ports

domander
domander says:
Sep 27, 2018 02:34 PM

The 30 day visa into Madagascar is no longer free. As far as we can tell we were treated fairly in all of our dealings with the officials when we cleared into Ambodifotatra.

First we went to the police station who act as Immigration. The 30 day visa cost 115,000 Ariary each person. We paid this to the officer plus 40,000 for a taxi. He took the passports, and one copy of our two copies of the exit zarpe (clearance) from Réunion. We went back at the time he suggested the next day and he returned the passports with the visas attached. I don't know where the copy of the Réunion exit paper went... he said it is no longer required.

We still DID have to go to Îsle Madame (the fishing harbour) to see the Customs office. This is well within walking distance for this old geezer. It is in the first building you come across, like an abandoned hotel. The office is in the west wing, access from the north, outside. There we filled in a crew list/boat info sheet of paper and paid 60,000. We asked him if it was really necessary to visit the Coast Guard office just 20 metres away to the west and while considering it finally said we should.

There at the Coast Guard we paid another 60,000 and filled out another vessel and crew info sheet.

That is what is required to check in when asking for a 30 day visa. I'll come back to post again when we check out domestically on Monday to tell you what we did.

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
May 22, 2015 01:49 PM

The Madagascar relay station for the Peri-Peri net has now closed. Although no longer resident in Madagascar, Ex-Net Controllers Des and Nell Cason of SY Gambit are happy to offer advice to cruisers visiting the country. They have sailed this area extensively and welcome the opportunity to stay involved in the well being of fellow sailors. Contact them by E-mail at sygambit(at)gmail(dot)com

Paul Rae
Paul Rae says:
Aug 21, 2014 05:57 AM

Just a word of caution, we are in Deigo Suarez, Madagascar in the commercial port anchorage and had an intruder on our boat around 0200. He was trying to steal our portable generator. He had a knife and was able cut the lines securing it, before he was scared off the boat. He had a friend waiting for him in a small dugout outrigger. He also stole lines off the boat. So please be very careful here.

Madagascar
Ambodifototra (Ile Sainte Marie)
Analalava
Antisiranana (Diego Suarez)
Fort Dauphin (Taolagnaro)
Hell-Ville (Nossi-Be)
Mahajanga
Nosy Hara
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