Madagascar Karte

Madagaskar Karte

Madagascar - About the country


Madagaskar About the country

Situation

The island is located at the coast of East Africa, south of the equator in the Indian Ocean. The coasts are separated by the Cannel of Mozambique. The distance to East Africa are 480 km, to India 3.500 km.

Surface

Madagascar is the fourth greatest island on earth after Greenland, New Guinea and Borneo. Madagascar has an extension of 587.041 square kilometres and Madagascar is as big one and a half time as Germany.

Population

About 17 millions of inhabitants are belonging to 18 different tribes, 29 inhabitants per one square kilometres. More than 60% of the inhabitants are younger than 20. One million are living in the capital. The three main ethnic groups are: Merina (25%), Betsimisaraka (15%) and Betsileo (12%).

Language

Official language is Malagasy (Indonesian influence) and French. But sometimes in the country it is very difficult to find somebody who speaks French. In the city some well trained young people speaks English. Street signs are written predominantly in Malagasy.

System of government

Madagascar is independent from France since 1960. After a period of Socialism Madagascar is since 19th August 1992 a Republic (official name: République de Madagascar). The president voted directly for five years is head of state and topmost owners of the executive force. The two chamber parliament consists of National Assembly and senate. The 150 representatives of the National Assembly are elected for four years. The number of senators isn't constant. Two thirds of them are elected for a period of four years. A third is appointed by the president.

Religions

Approx. 40% are christian (catholic and protestant). About 7% Moslems and 1% Hinduism. Most of the population lives with natural religions. The natural religion is very important for the life and the customs of the malagasy people.

Economics

In the past, Madagascar was mainly an agrarian country: Export of coffee, vanilla, cloves, peppers, sisal, cocoa, wood and graphite. The structure is marked of the French colonial times. 52% of the gross inland product are found by the service sector in the meantime. The farming with 35% and the industry with 13% follow behind this.

Climate

Madagascar is situated in the tropical zone, but there are different zones of climate. The winter from April till October with average temperatures of 22 degrees to 25 degrees on the coasts and 16 degrees to 19 degrees in the highland. The summer from November till March is the damper season, with temperatures of about 26 degrees to 29 degrees on the coast and about 20 degrees to 22 degrees in the highland. The best time for travelling for almost all regions is April till October, if a moderate climate prevails. The high atmospheric humidity in the summertime is very requiring habituation for many travellers. Frost also must be reckoned with in the highland in winter. It is advisable warmer clothes (pullover) and firm footwear. Further information about the climate.

Topography

There are six provinces: Antananarivo, Fianarantsoa, Toliara (Tulear), Mahajanga, Toamasina (Tamatave) un Ansiranana (Diego Suarez). The North-South- extenstion is 1.580 km and the East-West about 580 km. There are four different zones:
  • East Coast: covered mountain slopes with rain forest, falling to the coast steppedly.
  • Central highlands: inside the island with 800 to 1,600 m of height, volcanic origin.
  • West Coast: with wide coastal levels
  • South: with a half desert like character.
There are two charming tropical island for holidays at the beach: Nosy Be (Island of fragrance) and St. Marie (The Pirate’s Island). The Tsaratanana-mountains with 2.876 metres are the highest rise in the north, the Ankaratra-mountains with 2.642 metres to the south of Tana and the Andringitra-mountains with 2.656 metres in the south. The Maromokotro with an altitude of 2.886 metres is the highest mountain.

Animal and plant world

Because of the long isolation of the island there are many endemic, only there living, species. Flora and fauns are therefore unique. You must have seen and experienced this yourself.
It is a beautiful feeling to see plants and animals are unique on our planet.

Clothing

Depending upon place and time cotton is enough to summer clothes. We recommend. In the high country are recommendable a warm sweater, a rain protection, a firm footwear and gloves for Trekking. Absolutely also in the baggage belong: a helmet against strong solar radiation, sun glasses, and sun protective cremes. Meaningful are a halogen flashlight and if necessary field glasses for the walk and observations in national parks. This should be in your baggage.

Road and railroad network

The road system has 50.000 km, app. 5.800 km are asphalted. Highway circuits are Tana - Toamasina; Tana - Fianarantsoa - Toliara; Tana - Mahajanga - Antsiranana. The remaining distances are in bad state and they are hardly passable during the rainy season. Before departure you should catch up information. Between the provincial towns “Taxi Brousse" (shrub taxi) and “Taxi Be" (collective taxis). The shrub taxi operate regularly and put larger cross-country distances. Are however nearly always totally overloaded. The collective taxis are faster, because it mostly concerns converted sedans. The prices are fixed prices and in addition correspond the technical condition of the cars not approximately the European standard. There are also still four railway lines, which drive on a 883 km long railway system. On one of these distances one should drive, if the possibility exists. Further information about road traffic.

Airline connections

Due to the bad state of the roads Madagascar has a very well developed inland network of air routes (133 airfields). However it is recommendable to make the flight reservation on time. Futher information about air traffic.

Ticket confirmations

Pay attention to the back confirmation times of your tickets also with the inland flights: without confirmation the flight is invalid. Our office in Madagascar helps you gladly thereby.

Entry regulations

Visa is necessary for Madagaskar. Visa application see: visa. The visa can be also obtained at the international airport by arrival. This procedure is however not recommendable. 

Health and inoculation

Travellers from Europe no inoculation is prescribed. Traveller, who passed risk areas before, an inoculation against yellow fever and Cholera is prescribed.
Malaria prophylaxis and inoculation against hepatitis (gamma-Globulin) are recommended. Also you should be protected against Tetanus, Diphtheria and Polio (child paralysis). We guess to arrange and always have with itself a small travel pharmacy. Sufficient medical supply it gives only in the few large cities. Most important is however the protection from mosquito bite: Best you carry bright, the whole body covering, far clothes and you use anti-mosquito (KIK, Autan, Baygon for interiors). Stay overnight only in mosquito-safe areas or under the mosquito net.

Currency

The national currency is the Ariary since August 2003. Before it was the Madagascar franc (FMG). (1 Ariary corresponds to 5 FMG). There is an online currency converter and a current conversion table. Foreign exchange can be imported to unlimited height; the import of the national currency is however limited. Recommendable are EUR and US Dollar. Traveller’s cheques and Credit cards are only conditionally usable. American express, MasterCard and Visa are accepted in the some hotels in the capital. In the other places credit cards are rarely accepted.

Import regulations

The import rules are checked for Madagascar in every detail and are very strict.
Duty-free import for persons past 18 years: 1 litre alcohol, 25 cigars or 500 gram tobacco or 500 cigarettes and clothes (only for non-commercial purposes).
Jewellery and valuable electronic devices (like video cameras) must be declared with the entry.
Perfume may not be duty-free imported.

Export regulations

Very strictly too. They should agree upon everything that you want to buy, with the guide. It can help you in most cases of the law jungle.
In principle applies: Noble and half jewels, jewellery, woodcarving, butterflies and polished jewels (stones) bay be implemented only with a valid export licence. You receive the suitable form with the purchase on the market.
The export of fossils, rare animals and plants, also various cultural properties (old wooden statues) is absolutely forbidden.
For fruit, vegetable and plants a confirmation the phytos. authorities is necessary. It is available during the check-out in Antananarivo.

Local time

Madagascar local time is 2 hours later than Central European time (MEZ) and 1 hour in the summer (Central European Summer Time).

Electricity

110 and 220 V alternation current (French plug sockets).
Power failure are very often on the country.
If you need special batteries for technical equipment, you should carry a sufficient supply with you. Particularly special batteries for cameras are hard to find in Madagascar.

Films, sound carrier, computer disks

Photo material, cassettes and computer disks are relatively expensive and outside of the capital hardly available in Madagascar. They are often not professionally stored and can be therefore damaged. Take along from home as much as you need.

Hours of business

Shops: Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 12 a.m. and 2 p.m. - 6 p.m.
Banks: Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. - 4 p.m.

Post, telephone, fax

Usual office hours. Air mail to Europe is at least 7 days on the way, by land 3 to 4 months.
Telephone within Madagascar with phone card (available by post office,   hotels and many shops), also in public telephone boxes well possible. Overseas calls are also possible.
Most hotels offer an opportunity of making a telephone call.
You find important indications for the phone number regions here.

Mobile phones

The GSM mobile telephone network is continued to develop. The large cities are already completely supplied. Net cover of the largest offerer.

Internet and e-Mail

Public InterNet entrances (Internet cafes) are present in the largest cities.   Internet entrance by modem; ISDN is (still) not available.

Tip

is usual. It should be adapted to the national level. In restaurants about 10% to 15%.

Behaviour rules

Don’t take handbags with you on the market and be watchful before pickpockets. Valuable articles, money and documents are safety   in the hotel safe. Caution increased also here is required nevertheless.
Before walks, whether alone or to several, advised against for safety reasons after break-down of the darkness in urban areas.
Outside of the larger cities one should respect the local taboos (Fadys).

Military or police mechanisms may not be photographed. Don’t take pictures (photos) at the airport too. The following meals should not recommended to your European stomach: raw vegetable, meal of kitchens of the markets, ice cubes and ice-cream. Tap water is not enjoyable also in the hotels. Drink instead mineral waters.

Public holidays

1. January (New Year), 29. March (Anticolonial uproar 1947), Easter Monday, 1. May (Labour Day), Ascension Day, Monday following Pentecost, 26. June (National holiday, day of the independence from France in the year 1960), 1. November (All Saints) 25. December (Christmas), 31. December (Sylvester).


Hotels

The number of the stars of the hotels in madagascar don't correspond to the stars in Europe. The hotels correspond to European standard in no way, except for few exceptions. Nevertheless there are sufficient good and clean hotels. Breakdowns such as power failure or missing warm water can happen. That brings such a country with itself. It however remunerated by the friendliness and efforts of the Madagascans to bring everything back in order.

Attention

Your journey takes you to a land of the Third World. Please consider technical breakdowns and other imponderables. Our team does its best to arrange your stays as pleasant as possible.

Note

Changes of flight plan, unusual weather and road conditions can make deviations in the program execution necessary. That remains always reserving the organiser!