>> To ensure you get the maximum enjoyment from your holiday, we recommend you follow these guidelines:
To become nervous only makes matters worse. Calmness and serenity are marks of politeness and distinction. Avoid being too straight forward when you speak. Find a way to make yourself understood without stating directly what you mean to say. It's often more efficient, and its an excellent intellectual sport.
Respect the tombs.
They are sacred. The ancestors are the intermediaries with the Creator and are in charge of watching over the living.
Be kind to the Malagasy.
When you meet someone, a nod will always be appreciated. The Malagasy are hospitable people. Respect and politeness will open the gate for an unforgettable journey
Please be aware of pickpockets in Antananarivo.
Do not carry handbags and jewellery or have backpocket bulging. We recommend a moneybag.
On arriving in Tana, whether it's a international or domestic flight the official Porters wear identifying jackets. If they carry your bags for you, remember to be clear about who is carrying your bags, whether its one or 2 or more. Payment for a porter is Ariary (AR) 1000 (not more). Should you take someone not wearing an identifying jacket you could end up in an argument about "Quanta Costa".
On departing for your international flight only pay your porter when you go through to check in for your flight . There are those that will hover around you, move your bags for you and supply you with a departure form (which you can get inside), and then want money for it.
What to pack
Don't leave home without the following:
- personal toiletries
- sun hat
- sun block
- old comfortable shoes
- insect repellent (Citronella oil is very good - roll-on type is the best),
- any special medication you may be on/may need,
- comfortable, light clothing,
- light weight bath towel bath towel for personal use as some of the destinations may not have high quality towels,
- old sweater or tracksuit for highland and rainforest areas, (If going into the rainforest areas please try to wear khaki coloured clothing, avoid blue, the insects are attracted to this colour)
- also pack wetwipes, pocket-knife and possibly nutcracker (for eating crabs)
- it is advisable to stock up on your phot films prior to your departure. You might not get what you want there.
- you are allowed 1 litre of alcohol. Spirits are expensive, so take from home.
- A hint: inquire at your local liquor outlet for Tot Bags.
They cut down on weight and are easy to carry.
If going on an organised camping trip please pack your clothes in soft luggage, such as travelpacs, holdall or backpack. Do not forget to pack
- headlamps or torch with fresh batteries
- a lightweight sleeping bag
- air pillow and waterflask
- swimming gear
- malaria prophylactics
A hint: Buy some PERIPAL from your nearest SAA Travel Clinic and RINSE EVERYTHING, in this liquid. This will keep the local insects such as mosquitoes at bay. Also pack a biodegradable soap in a bottle for washing yourself and for your clothes if travelling for a longer period and don't forget a small packet of clothpegs. When going on an organised camping trip you will be washing in Natures bathrooms and showers.
Do not drink tap water
Only drink bottled water, make sure that the cap is sealed when buying. Minerals can be bought at the Artisinal Market near the Gregoire.
Shopping & Money
DO NOT take South African Rands or Credit cards!
Please change your money into foreign currency in South Africa (we recommend Traveller's cheques in EURO or US Dollars). or preferably euro cash as travellers checques can only be cashed at banks. Madagascar has now started accepting Visa Cards only
Note $100 bills are not always accepted.
If travelling with US$, $50 and $20 are easily changeable, smaller denominations are not.
Please note that the FMG has now changed to The Ariary (AR) and FMG is no longer accepted. It is still a non convertable currency
Therefore, estimate what you will need during your holiday and change as and when required.
Please change some money at the Airport's Bureau de Change after clearing customs, especially if you have arrived on a Sunday.
Shoppping at the markets: don't forget to negotiate when shopping at the markets. Haggling is part of the experience!
Flight and travel
When arriving at any town, please confirm your flights at the airport or give the tickets to the Hotel reception for reconfirmation. Leave an address with Air Madagascar, so that they can contact you if a flight is unexpectedly cancelled, delayed or due in earlier than stated on your ticket. It is most advisable to be at the airport at least two hours before flights are due to depart.
International and domestic airport taxes are now prepaid with your tickets, so no more frustrating queues and explanations.
A Hint: You can also check your flight information before your departure or during your trip at www.checkmytrip.com.
PLEASE NOTE that on leaving Madagascar , the international departure lounge has a bar where everything (or almost) costs $1 , so please keep a couple for that cup of coffee or coke or sandwich. Also the Duty Free Section does NOT Accept local currency fmg ONLY hard currencies.
The time difference is one hour ahead (South Africa)
Power Supply is 220 , European 2-prong plugs.
Malagasy is the first language, French is the business language. English is increasingly used by those involved in tourism.