Useful Information

To phone Madagascar it is necessary to dial 00261 20 as the prefix. The GSM system is used in the country but the areas covered by the local providers are very limited and restricted to the major towns. Anakao Ocean Lodge has a traditional fixed line but without wi-fi connection.

The local money is the Ariary. We recommend changing at the exchange counters or in the bank branches. Credit cards are only accepted by the main hotels (including at Anakao Ocean Lodge). French is quite widespread, English less so.
The exchange rate varies according to today's rate, and acceptable payment may be made via VISA card with a 5% commission from the bank.

In general we advise practical and sporty clothing. If the journey is undertaken during the local summer season (from October to April), light cotton garments are to be favoured, hiking boots or tennis shoes with anti-slip soles, without forgetting caps, sunglasses, high-protection sun cream, mosquito repellent and a rainproof jacket for the rain.

However, we advise the use of a heavier article of clothing for touring on the central plateau where particularly in the morning the temperatures can be cooler. Instead, if the journey is during the winter period (from May to September) we advise the use of a layer of clothing with a heavier garment (wind jacket or padded jacket) useful for the colder hours of the day and as wind protection.

Rubber shoes may become useful for those who undertake seaside stays to protect themselves against the coral. Not to be forgotten are the medicines for personal use that may be difficult to find locally.

The climate is dominated by winds that blow from the southeast and originate from the Indian Ocean anti-cyclone, a centre of high atmospheric pressure that seasonally changes its position on this Ocean. Madagascar has two main seasons: a hot and wet one from November to April and a cooler and drier one from May to October. Within these guidelines however, there are great variations depending on altitude and geographic position (the difference in latitude from north to south is notable).

The eastern coast has a sub-equatorial climate and being directly exposed to the dominant winds has a higher amount of rainfall than the rest of the country and is more exposed to cyclones during rainy periods. The cloud systems are naturally blocked by the mountainous barrier in the centre and so the central plateaus are appreciably drier and at a lower temperature, thanks to their altitude, than the coasts. Thunderstorms are frequent on the plateaus especially during rainy periods. Antananarivo receives practically half its annual rainfall (1.4 m) during the period from November to April.

The dry season (May -October) is pleasant and sunny even if the temperature becomes bracing, especially in the morning. In spite of frosts being rare in the capital, during the winter months they are not excluded on the rest of the plateau and in these months it is possible to admire blue skies that in the opinion of many are considered amongst the most clear and beautiful in the world.

The western coast is drier than the eastern coast and central area in that the dominant air currents lose their humidity by the time they reach this region. It is for this reason that the southwest area (Tulear – Anakao) and the far south have a semi-desert climate (in Tulear the statistics record only 33 cm of rain per annum) with a steady breeze especially in late morning until late evening.

At the end of summer (February / March) the country, especially the southern and western parts, at times finds itself in the path of tropical depressions, here called Mauritius cyclones, that arrive from the northeast with their load of torrential rain and strong winds. One can therefore say that Madagascar has 4 types of climate:

1) tropical without a dry season on the east coast where the rainfall exceeds 3000 mm/annum;
2) tropical with a long rainy summer season (5 months) on the plateau and in the northwest of the country with precipitation between 1400 and 2000 mm/annum;
3) tropical with variable rainfall in almost all of the west of the country (excluding the far northwest and southwest) with precipitation between 1000 and 1500 mm/annum (that falls to under 1000 mm in the south) with almost 6 months of dry season;
4) dry tropical in the southwest corner with rainfall below 500 mm/annum and only 3 months of wet summer season.

Madagascar, the fourth largest island in the world, is in the Indian Ocean, south of the equator just opposite Mozambique. With a surface area of 587,051 sq. km. (almost twice that of Italy) it boasts very different physical characteristics.

The central plateau mainly contains a mountainous chain that runs from north to south with peaks that even reach up to 2,900 metres in height. Wild scenery, broad valleys, terraced rice fields, canyons, rivers and lakes are the typical landscapes of the Central region.

The south and the southwest coast have large areas of desert thanks to a dry climate, with the typical spiny forest and the baobab trees. Extensive rain forests with lush vegetation occupy the eastern sector thanks to a wet climate. Here the rainfall is high in that the humid air of the Indian Ocean strikes against the central mountainous barrier to give rise to abundant rains.

The western littoral that faces Mozambique, protected instead by the central plateau, enjoys a drier climate with straighter coastlines and numerous mangrove forests.

The north has a jagged coastline rich in inlets with very flourishing vegetation thanks to the abundant rainfall.

+2 hours with respect to Italy (CET) that reduces to +1 during our summer time.

No obligatory vaccinations are demanded. Those who have travelled during the previous 6 months to areas where yellow fever is endemic may at the time of arrival in the country be asked to show a confirmatory certificate of having been vaccinated. You are advised to avoid eating uncooked food, to only drink bottled water and drinks without added ice; subject to medical opinion you are advised to take a correct anti-malarial prophylactic and not bathe in rivers and freshwater lakes because of Bilharziasis.

It is necessary to have a valid passport with an un-expired period of at least 6 months at the time of entry into the country. The tourist visa for up to 90 days stay is issued directly in the airport at the time of arrival in the country on payment of an amount in accordance with the local regulations (currently € 62 per person). Throughout 2012 the entry visa up to 30 days is free

It is always necessary to check that the passport has at least one blank page, without stamps or annotations, in the section reserved for entry visas in order to be able to affix on arrival in the country the vignette of the permission for temporary stay. In any case it is necessary to be in possession of a return air ticket. Non-Italian citizens are requested to refer to the competent authorities whenever the entry regulations to Madagascar are different from those given above.

 

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