Madagascar - Consular Information Sheet
February 8, 2001
COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Madagascar, also known as the "Great
Red Island," is a developing island nation off the east coast
of Africa. The primary language is French. Antananarivo, the capital,
enjoys a temperate climate but the island has a wide range of
microclimates ranging from rain forests in the northeast to desert
in the southwest. Facilities for tourism are available, but vary
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: A passport and visa are required.
Visas should be obtained in advance, although airport visas are
available in Antananarivo, the only city with an international
airport. Travelers who opt to obtain an airport visa should expect
delays upon arrival. Evidence of yellow fever immunization is
required for all travelers who have been in an infected zone within
6 months of their arrival in Madagascar.
Travelers may obtain the latest information and details on entry
requirements from the
Embassy of the Republic of Madagascar, 2374 Massachusetts
Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008; telephone (202) 265-5525/6;
web site: http://www.embassy.org/madagascar; or the Malagasy Consulate
inNew York City, (212) 986-9491. Honorary consuls are located
in Philadelphia, San Diego and Houston. Overseas, inquiries may
be made at the nearest Malagasy embassy or consulate.
SAFETY AND SECURITY: Madagascar completed a transition
to a multi-party democracy in 1993 and held an orderly presidential
election in 1996. Travelers should nonetheless avoid political
gatherings and street demonstrations and maintain security awareness
at all times. Do not photograph airports or military installations.
CRIME: The major concerns for visitors to Antananarivo
are street crime and theft from residences and vehicles. Walking
at night, whether alone or in a group, is not considered safe
in urban areas, including in the vicinity of western-standard
hotels. Wearing expensive jewelry or carrying other expensive
items while on foot or using public transportation is strongly
discouraged. Valuable items should never be left in an unattended
vehicle. Although crimes such as burglary do occur in areas outside
the capital, the threat of confrontational crime is less common
in rural areas. Night travel in private or public conveyances
outside Antananarivo is discouraged due to poor lighting and road
In May 1999, there was a series of robberies at Libanona Beach
and Peak Saint Louis, in theFort Dauphin area, perpetrated by
a person representing himself as a guide. U.S. citizens should
hire only an authorized guide and be cautious when visiting Libanona
Beach, Peak Saint Louis, or other isolated areas.
The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported
immediately to local police and to the nearest U.S. Embassy or
Consulate. The pamphlets A
Safe Trip Abroad and Tips
for Travelers to Sub-Saharan Africa provide useful information
on protecting personal security while traveling abroad and on
travel in the region in general. Both are available from the Superintendent
of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington,
D.C. 20402, via the Internet at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs,
or via the Bureau
of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov/.
MEDICAL FACILITIES: There are a number of competent foreign
physicians in Antananarivo, representing a broad range of specialties.
The hospital infrastructure, however, is minimal and does not
meet basic sanitary norms. A Seventh Day Adventist dental clinic
offers emergency procedures and is similar to U.S. facilities
in both procedures and cleanliness. There are also competent laboratory
and X-ray facilities. Most medications are available on the local
market and are mainly of French origin.
MEDICAL INSURANCE: U.S. medical insurance is not always
valid outside the United States. U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs
do not provide payment for medical services outside the United
States. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment
for health services. Uninsured travelers who require medical care
overseas may face extreme difficulties.
Check with your own insurance company to confirm whether your
policy applies overseas, including provision for medical evacuation,
and for adequacy of coverage. Serious medical problems requiring
hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States
can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Ascertain whether payment
will be made to the overseas hospital or doctor or whether you
will be reimbursed later for expenses you incur. Some insurance
policies also include coverage for psychiatric treatment and for
disposition of remains in the event of death.
Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas
insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State's Bureau
of Consular Affairs brochure Medical
Information for Americans Traveling Abroad, available via
of Consular Affairs home page or autofax: (202) 647-3000.
OTHER HEALTH INFORMATION: Information on vaccinations
and other health precautions may be obtained from the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international
travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX
(1-888-232-3299), or via the
CDC's Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/.
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in a foreign
country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ
significantly from those in the United States. The information
below concerning Madagascar is provided for general reference
only and may not be totally accurate in a particular location
Safety of Public Transportation: Poor
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Fair
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor to Fair
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Poor
In Madagascar, one drives on the right side of the road, yielding
the right of way to vehicles coming in from the left. Most major
intersections and traffic circles have police directing traffic.
If the policeman has his back to you at an intersection, you are
required to stop. Seat belts, child safety seats, and motorcycle
helmets are not required in Madagascar. If you are caught driving
under the influence of alcohol your car will be impounded for
a few days and you will have to pay a fine. If you are involved
in an accident involving injuries and/or deaths, there is a mandatory
court case. The losing party of the court case must then pay all
Except for Antananarivo's main streets and a few well-maintained
routes to outlying cities, most roads are in disrepair. For those
traveling by road between cities, travel at night is not recommended.
Roads tend to be narrow and winding with many one-lane bridges
and blind curves. Most vehicles tend to drive in the center of
the road unless another vehicle is present. Local practice is
to blow the horn before going around a curve, to let others know
of one's presence. Few pedestrian crosswalks or working traffic
Travel within Antananarivo can be difficult with poor road signage
and an abundance of one-way streets. Taxis are plentiful and are
generally reasonably priced. Expect to bargain for the fare prior
to getting into the vehicle. Most accidents are pedestrian-related,
due to narrow roads and lack of sidewalks on many streets.
Rental cars generally come with a driver who is responsible for
maintaining the vehicle and sometimes acting as a tour guide.
Public transportation is unreliable and the vehicles are poorly
maintained. Rail services are very limited and undependable. However,
arrangements can be made for a private train to travel to certain
The Ministry of Public Works (tel.  (20) 22-318-02) is Madagascar's
authority responsible for road safety. During an emergency, visitors
to Antananarivo can contact local police by telephoning "17",
by dialing 22-227-35, or by dialing 030-23-801-40 (cellular).
American citizens can also call the U.S. Embassy at 22-212-57/58/59
if assistance is needed in communicating with law enforcement
officials. Ambulance services are available in Antananarivo only
with Espace Medical at telephone 22-625-66 or 22-219-72.
For additional general information
about road safety, including links to foreign government sites,
see the Department of State, Bureau
of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov/road_safety.html.
Information is also available at the
Embassy of the Republic of Madagascar's web site at http://www.embassy.org/madagascar.
AIR TRAVEL: As there is no direct commercial air service
by local carriers at present, or economic authority to operate
such service, between the U.S. and Madagascar, the U.S. Federal
Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Madagascar's Civil
Aviation Authority for compliance with international aviation
For further information, travelers may contact the Department
of Transportation within the U.S. at 1-800-322-7873, or visit
Internet web site at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa. The U.S.
Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign air
carriers for suitability as official providers of air services.
For information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers,
travelers may contact the DOD at (618) 229-4801.
Domestic and international air services operate regularly but
are subject to delays and occasional breakdowns. Air Madagascar
often changes in-country flight schedules, based on how full the
flight is, with little or no prior warning to passengers. Overbooking
is also common.
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While in a foreign country, a U.S.
citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which
sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States
and may not afford the protections available to the individual
under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe
than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating
Malagasy law, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or
imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal
drugs in Madagascar are strict and convicted offenders can expect
jail sentences and heavy fines.
DISASTER PREPAREDNESS: Madagascar is prone to tropical
storms. Storm season is generally January through the end of February.
Storms primarily affect the eastern coast, although large storms
may reach the capital, Antananarivo. Storms which affect the shipping
ports may limit fuel and food supplies elsewhere in the country.
General information about natural disaster preparedness is available
via the Internet from the
U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at http://www.fema.gov/.
CHILDREN'S ISSUES: For
information on international adoption of children, international
parental child abduction, and international child support
enforcement issues please refer to our Internet site at http://travel.state.gov/children's_issues.html
or telephone (202) 736-7000.
REGISTRATION/EMBASSY LOCATION: U.S. citizens are encouraged
to register at the U.S. Embassy in Antananarivo, and to obtain
updated information on travel and security in Madagascar. The
U.S. Embassy is located at 14-16 Rue Rainitovo, Antsahavola, Antananarivo.
The mailing address is B.P. 620, Antsahavola, Antananarivo, Madagascar;
telephone  (20) 22-212-57; fax  (20) 22-345-39.