Madagascar is an island nation in the Indian Ocean, off the eastern coast of Africa. The main island  is the fourth largest islands in the world. It is the home of five percent of the world´s plant ( 12,000 species ) and animal species. Eighty percent of the the flora ( 10,000 species ) is unique to Madagascar. Baobab trees ( seven out of nine species ) and a diversity of lemure are two example of prominent plants and animals. The Island of Madagascar is surrounded by 220 small islands, with 5,000 km of coastal line and wonderful beach resorts. The islands are composed of eightteen different ethnic groups with influences from Indonesians, Arabs and Africans. All melted down into a Malagasy culture and language.

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General Information                     
Currency    Ar ,  Ariary.
Ariary is the only local legal tender from 1 January 2010. EURO and USD is widely accepted, and up market hotel normally quotes in those currencies.  Taxi drivers and market vendors do not have the small cash to return on larger denominations in foreign currencies. Bring a selection of notes and coins, in smaller denominations. When travelers are paying with the local currency, some local businesses add a levy on Aviary. They prefer to be paid in EURO or USD. ATM machines are available in some of the towns. Black market exchange on the street should be avoided. Travel Cheques are not accepted and should be avoided..

Cards  ( Accepted VISA and Master Card )
The country is based on a cash economy. And Credit and Debit Cards are not so common. A levy of 5% to 8 %  is added on top when payments are made with a Card.  VISA and Master Card are most accepted.

220 - 230 Volts, 50Hz. Some areas does not have any electricity at all. Carry battery appliance as a back up.

There are two official languages in the country, Malagasy and French. English will do in some up market areas.
Climate    ( April to November is best. )
Different type’s climates occur simultaneously on the island. In the South-Western part of Madagascar it can be warn, and on the hauts plateaux it can be very cold at the same time. January to March is the time for the rain season, when the roads are muddy and sometimes impassable. The cyclone hits the country along the Northern and Eastern part during the rain season. Bring waterproof and warm clothing and top of the class trekking shoes.
The best time to visit Madagascar is the winter time, from April to November.
Make sure you have an insurance, which covers any emergency treatments and / or transport from Madagascar to a country with better resources.

Health Certificate is required if you are coming from a country with yellow fever. Health insurance for visitors is always recommended. Bring your medical drugs in the original container or box, with the prescribed label on, which will make it easier for you when the custom officers are searching your luggage, for any illegal drugs. You are also recommended to bring spare lenses or glasses, or bring your latest optical prescription with you.
Water needs to be purified, and Malaria and other tropical diseases are prevalent. Consult you medical doctor at home, before you travel to Madagascar. The local hospitals have a low standard. Drugs available in the country, are sometimes counterfeits.
The standard recommended is 10 % on the bill, provided the service has been to your satisfaction. 
Madagascar is in general safe for all travelers. Only petty crime and scams exists, like pickpockets on public transport. It is the law to carry Passport all the time, and the Police will fine traveler who fails to produce a passport.. Scams exist where guides approaches travelers and offers a freelance guided tour. When the money has been paid upfront for the tour, the guide disappear.
Country code  +261
Mobil phone coverage is perfect on Madagascar.
Tourist Information
General information can be obtained from; Office National de Tourism. Mail address;  or phone +261 20 22 661 15. The website address is  . 
How to get there ?  ( The main hubs Johannesburg and Nairobi )
By Air; There are scheduled weekly flights from Johannesburg and Nairobi into Ivato International Airport, outside the Capital Antananarivo.
By Boat; Cargo boats from Mombasa in Kenya and Zanzibar.
Getting around
The best and cheapest way to move around different parts of Madagascar is by air. Other modes of travel are bicycle ( mountain bike ) cargo boats, bus, hire car  and motor cycle. Hitching is not recommended for safety and the few trucks or cars on the roads, and they will charge for the service. Taxi is a common type of transport, and the fairs are set by the government.

More Country Information from Foreign & Commonwealth Office.