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Madagascar Tours & Cruises

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Take one of our Madagascar tours or cruises to discover this island nation's rich cultural history and unique biodiversity. Madagascar, located off the coast of Mozambique, is a place that sparks curiosity; of the over 2,000 endemic species, 80-90 percent are found nowhere else. Cruises to Madagascar frequently visit ports of western Madagascar in addition to Seychelles IslandsMauritius Island, and Réunion Island. Explore the lowland forests of eastern Madagascar, searching for the country's famous lemur populations living amongst the lush landscape. Relax on Nosy Be and Sainte Marie's white-sand beaches and take a dip in the Indian Ocean. Learn about the unique history of this multicultural nation, a true melting pot of cultures and customs. Contact one of our Madagascar experts for help planning your trip.
 

10 Madagascar Tours & Cruises for 2022-2023

4 Best Luxury Cruises to Madagascar for 2022-2023

Trip NameFromDaysNext DepartureSummary
Adventure in Madagascar$777016Mar 14, 2022Le Bellot invites you on a brand new 16-day cruise in the Indian Ocean to experience “the island continent” of Madagascar. From Mauritius to …
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Adventure in Madagascar$871016Mar 25, 2023Get up close and personal with some of nature's most unique flora and fauna as you sail from Mauritius to Seychelles. Explore the magnificent ports …
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Adventure in Madagascar$1012016Mar 19, 2022Board Le Jacques Cartier for a brand-new cruise discovering the incredible natural riches of Madagascar and its people with their authentic …
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Adventure in Madagascar$1118016Mar 4, 2022Enjoy beaches, nautical activities, and discover endemic fauna and flora, as well as places of natural beauty on a 16-day cruise from Mahé in …
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Madagascar Travel Guide

Madagascar Facts

Location: Madagascar is a country located in the Indian Ocean off the east coast of southern Africa. To its west are Mauritius, Réunion, and Seychelles to its north. Zanzibar is to its east, Comoros is to its south.

Capital: Antananarivo is the capital city.

Population: 28.6 million

Language:  Madagascar's official language is Malagasy, although French is widely spoken. The island country of Madagascar is home to a wide range of indigenous and immigrant languages. There are about 300 native languages spoken on the island.

Land Area: Madagascar covers 587,041 km², making it the 43rd largest country in the world and the fourth largest island.

Religion: 41% Christian, 7% Muslim, and 52% Animist who worship gods called Zanahary or Andriamanitra. Anthropologists often divide Madagascar’s religions between traditional beliefs and practices typical to different ethnic groups and animism. 

Major ethnic groups: The people of Madagascar are ethnically diverse Austronesians with roots in five major ethnic groups: the Betsileo, the Tsimihety, the Merina, the Bezanozano, and the Mahafaly.

Currency: The official currency of Madagascar is the ariary (MGA). One central bank, the Bank of Central African States (BEAC), oversees the issuance and exchange of ariary. The bank divides the country into six regions and issues banknotes in denominations of 25, 50, 100, 500, and 1000 ariary.
Madagascar Culture

Madagascar's culture is vibrant and diversified, influenced mainly by the French, Africans, Indonesians, and Asians that live on the island. Formerly a French colony, Madagascar's French legacy can be seen in many forms today, from architecture to cuisine. The island has acquired a unique blend of African, Asian, Arab, and Islamic civilizations over the years.

Rhythm and dance are essential elements of Malagasy culture. In Malagasy music, the valiha, a bamboo tube zither, and the marovany, a box guitar, accompany singers.

The Malagasy people have a national meal called romazava, a meat stew spiced with chili peppers. Spice trade routes have brought in spices such as chili, turmeric, cassia, and cardamom. The island's unique local produce includes vanilla beans, coffee beans, cloves, and nutmeg plantations. 

Fun Facts About Madagascar

  • Madagascar is the fourth largest island in the world, at  226,917 square miles. It is also the fourth largest island in terms of population, after Greenland, New Guinea, and Borneo.
  • Malagasy vanilla is considered one of the best in the world and is more expensive than French vanilla. Since 2000, Madagascar has been exporting more than 90% of the world's vanilla.
  • Madagascar has been an independent nation for more than 100 years.
  • Madagascar is a country of extremes, where 80% of the population lives below the poverty line, and 1% of the owns nearly 90% of the land.
  • It has the world's fifth-largest coral reef, making for some excellent diving opportunities in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean.
  • Madagascar has three UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict Nature Reserve, Royal Hill of Ambohimanga, and Atsinanana Rainforests. Seven more sites are tentatively listed and are under review by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee.
  • The island of Madagascar is home to 99% of all lemur species in the world.
  • It is the only country with both scorching deserts and lush rain forests.

Madagascar FAQs

Do I need a visa to travel to Madagascar?

Entry to Madagascar requires a six-month passport with three blank pages. Visas are available in advance or on arrival for stays under three months. Visas are available for purchase in US dollars, euros, or Malagasy ariary, except credit cards.

Is tipping customary in Madagascar?

Depending on the quality of the tour, you can tip your guide for $10 or more and leave similar or minimal gratuities in resorts and restaurants. Reward a porter who handles your luggage with $1 per bag. Tips are always appreciated but not expected. Aim to tip in Ariary. Dollars, euros, or even British pounds have little use on the island.

 

What is internet access like in Madagascar?

Madagascar ranks among Africa's fastest broadband internet providers with an average download speed of 42.84 Mbps, despite being one of the world's poorest countries, according to the September 2021 Speedtest Global Index. On the other hand, only 2.1 percent of Madagascar's population has access to high-speed internet. Hotels in major cities like Antsirabe, Fianarantsoa, and Antananarivo offer free wifi access. However, the internet is not common outside these areas.

Can I use my cell phone while in Madagascar?

Yes, major cities have some cellular coverage. The best and cheapest way to stay connected when in Madagascar is to buy a local prepaid SIM card instead of international roaming. Madagascar has four 4G-enabled telecom providers: Telma, Airtel Madagascar, Orange Madagascar, and Bip.

Do I need power adapters?

Madagascar is powered by 220V, 50Hz power, which means that any 110V device will not work without a converter. Adapters for C & E outlets are required.

What are the toilets like in Madagscar?

While the toilets in hotels, lodges, camps, restaurants, and gas stations are standard western-style toilets, those in National Parks may be squat toilets. Madagascar has one of the lowest sanitation levels in the world, with less than 10% of households having a private toilet.

Can I drink the water in Madagascar?

No, tap water in Madagascar is unsafe to drink. We recommend that you always drink bottled or filtered water provided by your tour operator during your time in Madagascar.

Are credit cards accepted in Madagascar? Will I be able to find ATMs?

Although not to be relied upon exclusively, ATMs are available in most major cities (Bekopaka in Tsingy of Bemaraha is an exception). ATMs run out of money on weekends.  Only large resorts, shops, and hotels take credit cards, and most establishments only accept cash.

Should I purchase travel insurance?

Always. As a precaution, travel insurance is a wise investment that might save you thousands of dollars and provide a sense of security. On our Once You're Booked page, we feature some fantastic Redpoint deals.
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