|Alahamady Be||March||Alahamady Be – The Malagasy New Year.|
|Santabary||April or May||Santabary – the first rice harvest.|
|Donia Music Festival||May or June||Donia music festival in Nosy Be for the best Madagascan music.|
|Whale Watching||July to September||Whale Watching in the south of the island.|
|Famadihana||July to October||Famadihana – ‘Turning of the Bones’ ceremonies all over the island where families honour their dead by taking their shroud-wrapped remains out for partying before returning them to their burial site.|
Plugs and sockets can vary. You will find either two round pin or two round pin with grounding receptacle, these sockets will also take the two round pin plug.
Being an incredibly large island, domestic flights are an important means of transport between main towns and larger islands. Air Madagascar provide the bulk of domestic flight services though services between some airports are not very frequent and are prone to change at short notice. Book well in advance and check schedules carefully.
Air Mauritius fly three times a week from London Heathrow to Antananarivo with connection in Mauritius. Flight time is a minimum of 18 hours 25 minutes depending on flight connections.
Air France operate flights twice a week from Heathrow to Antananarivo with connection in Paris. It is also possible to connect with Air Madagascar and Corsair in Paris. Flight time approximately 23 hours 35 minutes depending on connections.
National carrier, Air Madagascar, operates a daily overnight flight between Paris CDG and Antananarivo, with connections to Paris available from all major UK airports.
Madagascar has 5 climatic zones, which follow the physical geography of the island by differentiating the mild Highlands, the hot and dry western regions, the rainy and the eastern coastal regions under the influence of trade winds, the hot and wet North, and the semi-arid South.
The eastern part of Madagascar receives much rain, brought onshore by southeastern trade winds, which are forced to rise and drop moisture as they meet the eastern escarpment; annual precipitation in some places exceeds 120 inches.
The central plateau gets considerably less moisture, and arid areas in the south and southwest receive less than 15 inches of precipitation per year. Most of the rain falls from November to April.
The coastal regions generally are hot throughout the year. The central plateau has a temperate climate, with warm summers and cool winters.
The average temperature range in Antananarivo on the plateau is 16C to 26C (61F to 79F) in January and 9C to 20C (48F to 68F) in July.
The dry season or the southern winter is from April to October, and summer is from November to March. Most travellers to Madagascar choose to visit between the April to October dry season, though travel in November and December is also generally fine. January to March is cyclone season. Book early for Christmas, New Year, Easter and French school holiday periods due to limited availability of accommodation and high demand.
To get the most out of your next adventure it makes sense to consider some of the very local factors that combine to make up what you feel is the best time to travel to a destination. Many of these factors are very personal – some people prefer to travel when the weather is not too hot, or sites too crowded – others prefer to travel when a traditional local event is taking place. Taking into account the dates of public holidays can also make sense as these may have an impact on opening times of attractions, shops and restaurants, or might affect public transport or other services. Conversely public holidays can be a time of great local festivities and celebrations providing a feast of local expressionism and culture.
Malagascy Ariary (MGA)
Try not to exchange more currency than you need as Madagascar has a shortage of foreign currency and some banks will not reconvert local currency to hard currency. Upon arrival, travellers have to declare their foreign currency if they have the equivalent of EUR10,000 or more.
Cash can be exchanged in banks in all major towns.
There are only a limited number of ATMs in Madagascar, which are mainly located in Antananarivo. For more information check the Visa ATM locator, theMasterCard ATM locator or the American Express ATM locator for the addresses of ATMs around the world.
Credit cards are accepted by some large restaurants, shops and hotels, always check in advance. Credit cards and debit cards should be used with caution due to the potential for fraud and other criminal activity.
The documentation and fee required for obtaining visas varies according to both your nationality and where you are applying from. It is the sole right of each country to determine who is allowed to enter.
All passports must be valid for six months and have two clear pages free.
Some countries may charge an arrival or departure tax which may or may not be included in the price of an airline ticket, or may need to be paid in cash on arrival or departure.
|Australia||A visa is required.|
|Canada||A visa is required.|
|Denmark||A visa is required.|
|Ireland||A visa is required.|
|Netherlands||A visa is required.|
|New Zealand||A visa is required.|
|South Africa||A visa is required.|
|United States||A visa is required.|
|United Kingdom||A visa is required.|
Other nationalities should either contact Travcour UK (see below) or their nearest embassy for up-to-date information prior to departure.
For assistance with obtaining passports and visas UK-based ‘Travcour’ have been offering travellers a comprehensive and reliable travel document service since 1985. www.travour.com