BEFORE YOU GO
If you're interested in a trip to Madagascar, you've come to the right place.
Below you'll find all the information you need about how to pack for your adventure, what to prepare for logistically with your flights and travel documents, and the nitty-gritty details like whether or not you'll meet a lemur. Take a look and let us know if you have any additional questions! We're always happy to chat and can be reached directly at 1.888.870.0903.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: WHAT'S THE WEATHER LIKE?
Temperatures in Madagascar are moderate, but it's always best to bring warm clothing for mornings and evenings, and water resistant layers for when it is wet. The weather is often cool (only 72˚F during the hottest months) and dry, but it can rain heavily around December.
Q: HOW MUCH CAN I PACK?
Everything needs to fit in one carry-on and a medium sized, soft-sided checked duffel bag. Together
they must not exceed 44 lbs, but the weight can be distributed however you like.
Q: CAN I USE MY CELL PHONE?
Even if you have an international plan, you may or may not get service in Madagascar. Check with your provider before leaving the country. But hey, don’t you want to unplug anyway?
Q: WILL THERE BE WIFI?
Many properties do have Wi-Fi. Check with us and we can confirm based on your itinerary.
Q: WHAT'S THE DEAL ON TIPPING?
Tipping is a personal and individual matter; the decision to tip and how much to give is entirely yours. That being said, you'll probably want to leave a gratuity for your guides and camp staff. When you depart from the safari property, simply give the gratuity to your host. It will then be evenly distributed among all guides and staff members. We suggest bringing extra tipping money for guides you feel have given exceptional service. Note: We can help you adjust to local currency (the Ariary) when you leave. General tipping guidelines below:
- Estimate $10-15 per person traveling per day for camp staff
- An additional $10-15 per person traveling for guides and drivers
- For city hotels, transfers, and airport assistance, $1-2 bills as necessary
- For full day city tour guides, $10-15 per person traveling per day
Q: HOW MUCH MONEY SHOULD I BRING?
The official unit of currency in Madagascar is the Ariary. It is recommend that visitors use local Ariary for shopping in local markets, as well as for tipping. However, hotels will accept payment in USD. If possible please bring a Visa credit or debit card as well as cash so that you have options.
As a reference: USD $1 = approx. 3,270 Ariary
Q: WHAT LANGUAGE DO THEY SPEAK?
French is widely spoken in the larger towns & cities throughout Madagascar. English was added as an official language in 2007 and is slowly becoming more widely spoken. In rural areas it is common for only Malagasy to be spoken but the staff will help you translate. Property staff, drivers, and guides will speak English.
TRAVEL DOCUMENTS AND VACCINATIONS
PASSPORT & VISAS
Visas can be obtained in advance from the Madagascar Embassy. $40 USD must be collected from each person to obtain a tourist visa of 30 days or less. Visas can also be obtained on arrival and all major currencies are accepted. Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months after travel dates, and have at least 4 free pages.
Before you leave home, make several photocopies of your passport. We also recommend bringing at least two extra 2x2 passport photographs. This will facilitate the replacement of your passport in the event your passport is lost or stolen. Keep your passport, money, vouchers, and international air tickets in a money belt or pouch.
- Your passport must be valid for six months after your date of entry into antarctica
- Please have 4 blank pages in your passport, you world traveler you!
Madagascar is a healthy and hospitable region to visit and no vaccinations are officially required. However, it’s best to be up to date on Hepatitis and Typhoid. Please note that the Typhoid vaccination takes 14 days to become effective, so make sure you schedule your appointment with your travel health clinic far enough in advance of your trip. Malaria pills are recommended. You can also check the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
CHARGERS AND ADAPTORS
Madagascar operates on 220-voltage electricity, so converters and adapters are necessary. Several safari properties provide charging stations, but it is advised that you bring your own adaptors for charging equipment.
THINGS YOU'LL NEED
As with many of our trips, we recommend bringing a few nice options along with beach-inspired active wear. Here are our recommendations:
5-6 short sleeve shirts
2-3 long sleeve shirts
2-3 pair of casual pants/shorts (think khakis or yoga-style gear)
Warm underclothes and socks
Bathing suit/swimming gear
Waterproof jacket or windbreaker
Lightweight hiking shoe & sandal with backstrap
Head torch or wind-up torch for dark nights
Fleece/sweater or sweatshirt
Gloves for early mornings
Warm socks and clothing for sleeping
Warm clothes for May–August winter period
- Insect repellent with deet
- Sunglasses, sunscreen, and hat
- Binoculars: we recommend getting a Maven or Leica pair with 10 x 42 magnification
- Extra money and money belt to securely carry all passports, vouchers, and air tickets
- Normal prescriptions and medication for heartburn, indigestion, diarrhea, etc.
- Doctor’s note if you have a metal hip, knee replacement, etc.
- You may want to bring a small laundry detergent
Remember! Your carry-on should include your passport, money, toiletries, camera, and a spare set of clothes.
WHEN YOU'RE IN THE AIR
Check-in time for all international flights is three hours prior to departure time. This allows for delays at the security screening units in each terminal. There is no first class fast track through security screening, so get there early to avoid any stress.
First of all, take a deep breath. You’ve already packed a spare set of clothes, your passport, money, and camera in your carry-on. Next, provide your airline with contact and delivery information for your first stop. Let our ground operator there know that your luggage has been lost, and they will track it while you enjoy your stay.
IN CASE YOU MISS US
If your family needs to contact you for emergency reasons while you are away, please have them call the Outside GO office in Santa Fe at (505) 795-7710.
For after hour emergencies, please use the following:
SANDY CUNNINGHAM | (505) 231-0699 | firstname.lastname@example.org
BRITTANY BENGRY | (616) 401-9058 | email@example.com
CHIP CUNNINGHAM | (505) 231-0355 | firstname.lastname@example.org
VERO RAKOTOARIVELO | Reservations Manager with Madagascar Classic Collection
Direct: +261 (34) 05 619 08
Tel Office: +261 (34) 05 619 14
Emergency Contact: +261 (34) 05 619 08/07
In Madagascar when making international calls to the US, dial 001 + telephone number.
- For inter-city calls: 0 + city code + telephone number.
- Public telephones only accept coins.
- When calling from a cellphone to a local landline, dial 01 + telephone number
- For calling other cellphones just dial the number directly.