Advice levelsWhat does this mean?
- Political unrest can erupt without warning. Avoid large public gatherings.
- Violent clashes between bandit groups and security forces are common in the southern provinces. Bandits have also attacked people in other regions. Get local security advice before you travel to these areas.
- Violent crime includes kidnapping, armed robbery, carjackings and home invasions.
- The cyclone season is from November to April. Cyclones can disrupt essential services. Know your accommodation or cruise ship's evacuation plan.
- Madagascar can experience tsunamis. Know the warning signs and move immediately to high ground. Don't wait for official alerts. Follow advice of local authorities and monitor media for updates.
Full travel advice: Safety
- COVID-19 remains a risk in Madagascar. Nationwide sanitary measures are in place. You must wear a face mask and follow social distancing regulations.
- Monitor your health closely and follow the advice of local authorities. You can call the COVID-19 hotline on 910 or 913 for local guidance and advice. A dedicated hotline (914) has been set up for COVID-19 emergencies.
- Medical facilities in Antananarivo and elsewhere are limited. Private clinics require up-front payments. If you're seriously ill or injured, you are likely to need medical evacuation, usually to Mauritius, South Africa, India or La Réunion.
- Bubonic and pneumonic plague are widespread. Pneumonic plague is fatal if left untreated. If you have flu-like symptoms, visit a doctor right away. Measles outbreaks can occur. Make sure your vaccinations are up to date before you travel. HIV/AIDS is widespread. Take precautions if you're taking part in high-risk activities.
- Malaria and other insect-borne diseases (including dengue and chikungunya) are common. Ensure your accommodation is insect-proof and use insect repellent.
- Foodborne, waterborne and other infectious diseases include cholera, hepatitis and bilharzia are common. Drink only boiled or bottled water. Avoid raw or undercooked food. Don't swim in fresh water.
Full travel advice: Health
- Social distancing and face masks are mandatory and there are penalties for non-compliance.
- Don't use or carry illegal drugs. Penalties include prison sentences.
- Always carry original photo identification. Police may ask you for it, especially if you're out late at night.
- Know and follow local laws. It's illegal to take photos of military installations or wear military-style clothing. There are also strict laws around exporting protected plants or animals, gemstones and vanilla.
- Same-sex relationships are legal, but not widely accepted in Malagasy society so avoid public displays of affection. The age of consent for same-sex relations is 21.
Full travel advice: Local laws
- Limited international travel to Madagascar has resumed. A red/green system of categorising countries has been introduced. You can't enter Madagascar if you’re coming from a red list country. You can enter if you’re travelling from a green list country.
- Private charter flights require prior authorisation. Charter flights to Nosy Be and cruise ships are allowed to enter.
- On arrival in Madagascar, you’ll need to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 (PCR) test taken within 72 hours of travel. You’ll be required to take a second COVID-19 (PCR) test on arrival at your own cost (€25). If the test is negative, you’ll be able to leave your quarantine hotel within 24 to 48 hours. If the test is positive, your quarantine will be extended to 14 days. All quarantine expenses will be at your own cost.
- Sanitary measures are in place across Madagascar. You must wear a face mask and follow social distancing regulations. Penalties may apply for non-compliance.
- Domestic flights are operational and you'll be required to do a COVID-19 antigen test prior to boarding.
- If you want to depart Madagascar, stay in touch with airlines or your travel agent for flight options.
Full travel advice: Travel
- The Consular Services Charter details what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas.
- Australia has a consulate in Antananarivo, Madagascar. It provides some consular services and can receive passport applications. The consulate in Antananarivo is open to the public via appointment only. See 'Consular Contacts'.
- For full consular assistance, contact the Australian Embassy in Mauritius. See 'Consular Contacts'.
- If you choose to travel at this time, please be aware that consular services may be limited due to COVID-19.
Full travel advice: Local contacts
Civil unrest and political tension
Political instability may affect your safety in the capital and regional areas.
Unrest can grow quickly and without warning. Avoid large gatherings and follow the instructions of local authorities.
Demonstrations and protests
Public protests and events that draw large groups of people can turn violent.
Demonstrations and protests can occur with little warning. Security forces may respond with force.
In June 2019, a stampede at the National Stadium in Antananarivo Independence Day celebrations resulted in several fatalities.
In April 2018, two people died during an anti-government protest in the capital.
In Antananarivo, there have been violent outbreaks in:
- Avenue de l'Indépendance
- Analakely areas
- military barracks
To stay safe during periods of unrest:
- avoid demonstrations and other large public gatherings
- watch for planned and possible civil unrest
- avoid affected areas
Bombs and grenades
Small bombs and grenades have been found in Antananarivo.
In June 2016, a grenade exploded at an Independence Day event in Antananarivo. It killed two people and injured at least 50 others.
Bandit group clashes
Violent clashes between bandit groups (Dahalos) and security forces are common in the southern region of Anosy.
Avoid taking the road between Ihosy and Fort Dauphin (RN13) because it is especially dangerous.
Bandits have attacked people in the Ankazoabo region. In February 2018, Dahalos attacked a village in the Amoron’I Mania region and killed three villagers. In June 2016, Dahalos attacked a bus in Ankazoabo's south and killed at least 29 people.
You could be caught in violence directed at others. Stay alert while travelling.
To help protect yourself:
- avoid travelling on your own
- be alert to possible bandit activity if travelling in the Ankazoabo region
If you plan to travel to Anosy's southern region:
- get local security advice before you go
- avoid driving at night
- be alert to possible security threats
- follow the instructions of local authorities
- fly to Fort Dauphin rather than drive
Violent crime occurs throughout Madagascar and includes:
Kidnapping for ransom is a risk especially for the family members of wealthy business people.
As a foreigner, you might be a target for crime in Antananarivo. Armed bandits regularly attack vehicles carrying goods and people, including taxis (taxi be and taxi brousse) and public transport, especially on the National Routes (RNs).
Thieves target cars stuck in traffic for 'smash-and-grab' robberies.
Areas particularly prone to violent crime include:
- Batterie Beach, north of Tuléar
- the steps leading to Rova, the Avenue de l'Indépendance and the Analakely market in Antananarivo
- Pic Saint-Louis in Fort Dauphin
- along main highways, including main roads in Toliara province and in Toliara (Tuléar) township
- Diego Suarez (Antsiranana), especially in poorly lit areas outside the city centre
- Nosy Be island
- other tourist areas
Travellers have also been robbed at beaches and in national parks, including:
- Andohahela National Park
- Montagne d'Ambre
- Ankarana in northern Madagascar
To protect yourself from violent crime:
- avoid travelling on the RN6 near Diego Suarez and outside urban areas at night
- ask your tour operator about security risks before visiting national parks and beaches
- keep vehicle doors locked, windows up and valuables out of sight, including when moving
- be wary of carjacking — be alert to threats, including when stopped in traffic
- visit tourist sites with an authorised guide
Monitor local media for up-to-date information on crime.
Thieves and pickpockets often target travellers at airports and in crowded tourist areas.
To reduce your risk of petty crime, avoid:
- walking at night, even if in a group
- remote locations at all times
Terrorism is a threat worldwide.
Climate and natural disasters
If a natural disaster occurs:
- secure your passport in a safe, waterproof place
- monitor local weather and news reports
- follow the advice of local authorities
- keep friends and family up to date on your safety
Cyclones and storms
The cyclone season is from November to April.
Storms and cyclones can cause flooding and disrupt essential services.
Roads and bridges could close. Ferry services can be disrupted.
A tropical cyclone can change direction or become stronger without warning.
If there's a cyclone or severe tropical storm:
- you may not be able to leave the area
- flights could be delayed or suspended
- available flights may fill quickly
- access to ports could be affected
- adequate shelter may not be available
Consider weather conditions when planning your travel, particularly to coastal areas.
Keep an eye on storm developments via:
- Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies
- World Meteorological Organization Severe Weather Information Centre
These websites provide up-to-date information on:
- weather conditions and forecasts
- cyclone watches
- severe weather warnings
If you know severe weather is approaching:
- know how to evacuate from your hotel or cruise ship
- find your local shelter
Madagascar can experience tsunamis.
To receive tsunami alerts, register with the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System.
Move immediately to high ground if advised by local or regional authorities or if you:
- feel a strong earthquake that makes it hard to stand up
- feel a weak, rolling earthquake that lasts a minute or more
- see a sudden rise or fall in sea level
- hear loud and unusual noises from the sea
Don't wait for official warnings. Once on high ground, monitor local media.
Get comprehensive travel insurance before you leave.
Your policy needs to cover all overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation. The Australian Government won't pay for these costs.
If you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. This applies to everyone, no matter how healthy and fit you are.
If you're not insured, you may have to pay many 1000s of dollars up-front for medical care.
- what activities and care your policy covers
- that your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away
Physical and mental health
Consider your physical and mental health before you travel, especially if you have an existing medical condition. Consider whether you may be in a vulnerable category for COVID-19.
See your doctor or travel clinic to:
- have a basic health check-up
- ask if your travel plans may affect your health
- plan any vaccinations you need
Do this at least 8 weeks before you leave.
Not all medication available over the counter or by prescription in Australia is available in other countries. Some may even be considered illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.
If you plan to bring medication, check if it's legal in Madagascar. Take enough legal medicine for your trip.
Carry a copy of your prescription or a letter from your doctor stating:
- what the medication is
- how much you'll take
- that it's for personal use
COVID-19 remains a risk in Madagascar. If you're in Madagascar, you can call a 24/7 hotline on 910 or 913 for information on COVID-19. There is a dedicated hotline (914) for COVID-19 emergencies.
For information on the COVID-19 vaccination program in Madagascar, refer to the website of the Madagascar Ministry of Public Health. You should consult your local health professional for advice on vaccine options, including assistance that may be available locally.
The Australian Government cannot provide advice on the safety, quality and efficacy of vaccines that have been approved for use outside of Australia's regulatory process.
- Ministère de la santé publique | Vahoaka malagasy salama (sante.gov.mg) (Ministry of Public Health -Malagasy/French)
- http://vaksiny.gov.mg/ (Online vaccination registration platform for eligible persons – French/Malagasy)
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) (Department of Health)
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) (Smartraveller)
Bubonic plague is widespread in Madagascar. It is caused by the bite of an infected flea. You're most at risk in the wet season from October to February.
Pneumonic plague is a risk in Madagascar. It spreads from person to person via droplets in the air. It's fatal if left untreated.
If you have flu-like symptoms, visit a doctor right away.
Other insect-borne diseases
Malaria is widespread in Madagascar.
Other insect-borne diseases occur, including:
Serious outbreaks sometimes occur.
North-eastern Madagascar has seen cases of dengue, mostly in the Antalaha and Sambava regions.
To protect yourself from disease:
- make sure your accommodation is insect-proof
- use insect repellent
- wear long, loose, light-coloured clothing
- consider taking medication to prevent malaria
Visit a doctor if you have a fever, muscle pain, a rash or a bad headache.
The risk of polio still exists in Madagascar.
Check your vaccination status for polio with a doctor or travel clinic. Do this at least 8 weeks before you travel.
If you aren't vaccinated, complete the full course of vaccinations before you leave. If you've been vaccinated in the past, get a booster dose if needed.
HIV/AIDS is widespread.
Take precautions if you engage in activities that expose you to the risk of infection.
Measles outbreaks can occur in Madagascar.
Make sure your vaccinations are up to date before you travel.
In 2018, a major measles outbreak occurred alongside the seasonal plague outbreaks. This can put extra pressure on the public health system.
Other health risks
Waterborne, foodborne and other infectious diseases are common. These include:
Serious outbreaks sometimes occur.
To protect yourself from illness:
- drink boiled water or bottled water with sealed lids
- avoid ice cubes
- avoid raw and undercooked food, such as salads
- don't swim in fresh water
- avoid contact with dogs and other mammals
If you're bitten or scratched by an animal, get medical help straight away.
Get medical advice if you have a fever or diarrhoea.
Medical facilities in Antananarivo are limited. However, routine medical operations are possible. Facilities are extremely limited outside of Antananarivo.
Most travellers attend private clinics where upfront payment is requested.
There are no decompression chambers in Madagascar. If you're scuba diving:
- dive within safety limits
- check your insurance policy covers diving and medical evacuation
If you become seriously ill or injured, you'll need to be flown to a place with better facilities. This is usually South Africa or Reunion. Medical evacuation can be very expensive.
You're subject to all local laws and penalties, including those that may appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling.
Social distancing and face masks are mandatory in public. There are penalties for non-compliance which may include community service.
If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular Services Charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.
Penalties for drug offences include prison sentences.
Always carry an original photo ID. Police may ask you for it, especially if you're out late at night.
In Madagascar, it's illegal to:
- take photos of military installations or airports
- wear military-style clothing
- export protected plants or animals without approval
- export gemstones or vanilla for a commercial purpose without a permit
Contact the Ministry of Mining for a gemstones export permit. To export vanilla, contact the Ministry of Agriculture.
Same-sex relationships are legal but are not widely accepted in Madagascar. Avoid public displays of affection.
Malagasy law states 21 as the consent age for same-sex couples. Same-sex marriage isn't recognised.
Malagasy law contains no anti-discrimination protections for LGBTI travellers.
Some Australian criminal laws still apply when you're overseas. If you break these laws, you may face prosecution in Australia.
Madagascar recognises dual nationality.
You need a visa to enter Madagascar.
Get an electronic tourist visa if you have proof of onward travel and you are planning to stay for a maximum period of 90 days.
In other situations, you'll need to apply for a visa before you travel.
Entry to Madagascar
Limited international travel to and from Madagascar has resumed, including private charter flights from Europe to Nosy Be.
A red/green system of categorising countries has been introduced for travel to Madagascar. Under this system, countries with a community transmission rate above 300 cases per week per 100,000 people are on the red list and travellers coming from these countries are not allowed to enter. Travellers from green list countries can travel to Madagascar.
On arrival into Madagascar, you’ll need to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 (PCR) test taken within 72 hours of travel. You must also present confirmation of a hotel reservation for 2 nights and a commitment that you will remain in the hotel pending the results of your next COVID-19 (PCR) test.
You’ll be required to take a second COVID-19 (PCR) test on arrival at the airport at your own cost (€25). If the test is negative, you’ll be able to leave your quarantine hotel within 24 to 48 hours. If the test is positive, your quarantine will be extended 14 days. All quarantine costs will be at your own expense. You must also complete a movement tracking form for the duration of your stay in Madagascar.
Cargo flights are operational; however, flight crew must not disembark. Private medical evacuation flights need prior authorisation and flight crews must take a COVID-19 (PCR) test when arriving in Madagascar.
Cruise ships are authorised.
Staying in Madagascar
Mandatory sanitary measures are in place in Madagascar. You must wear a face mask and follow social distancing regulations. You should also comply to any additional screening measures including at city checkpoints and airports.
Domestic flights are operational. You’ll be required to do a rapid COVID-19 antigen test at the airport to board domestic flights.
If you're staying in Madagascar:
- follow the advice of local authorities
- take care to protect yourself from exposure to COVID-19
- ensure you have arrangements in place for an extended stay
- keep in contact with family and friends so they know you're safe and well
You can call a 24/7 hotline on 910 or 913 for information on COVID-19. There is a dedicated hotline (914) for COVID-19 emergencies.
Yellow fever vaccination
If you arrive from a country where yellow fever is widespread, you may need a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate. Some airlines may want to see one when you leave.
Find out about returning to Australia after exposure to yellow fever.
Travel with children
Minors travelling alone or with only one parent need to show proof the other parent has approved the travel. Carry a signed letter or custody order showing both parents approve the travel.
Some countries won't let you enter unless your passport is valid for 6 months after you plan to leave that country. This can apply even if you're just transiting or stopping over.
Some foreign governments and airlines apply the rule inconsistently. Travellers can receive conflicting advice from different sources.
You can end up stranded if your passport is not valid for more than 6 months.
The Australian Government does not set these rules. Check your passport's expiry date before you travel. If you're not sure it'll be valid for long enough, consider getting a new passport.
Lost or stolen passport
Your passport is a valuable document. It's attractive to people who may try to use your identity to commit crimes.
Some people may try to trick you into giving them your passport. Always keep it in a safe place.
If your passport is lost or stolen, tell the Australian Government as soon as possible:
The local currency is the Madagascar Ariary (MGA). Some hotels and restaurants accept euros.
Some stores, hotels and banks in Antananarivo and in other major cities accept traveller's cheques.
Credit cards aren't widely used.
Ask your bank if your card will work in Madagascar.
You can drive in Madagascar with either:
- a valid Australian driver's licence, or
- an International Driving Permit (IDP)
You must get your IDP before leaving Australia. If you're staying in Madagascar for a long time, you can use your IDP to apply for a local licence at the Ministry of Interior. You have a period of one year to convert your licence to a local one from the moment you obtain a resident permit.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), you're five times more likely to die in a motor vehicle accident in Madagascar than in Australia. Be especially vigilant when travelling on National Routes at night.
Common driving hazards include:
- poorly maintained roads and vehicles
- poor or insufficient street lighting
- people and animals roaming on roads
Carjackings, robberies and other crimes are a high risk when travelling by road. See Safety
Police will check vehicles and people at random throughout Madagascar. You may need to show documents, such as:
- your passport
- vehicle registration
- ownership papers
If you plan to drive in Madagascar:
- check your insurance covers you
- get to know local traffic laws and practices
- carry your identity documents
- guard against carjacking and other vehicle-related crimes
Check if your travel insurance policy covers you for riding a motorbike, quad bike or similar vehicle.
Always wear a helmet.
Only use hire cars and limousines from providers with a good reputation.
Avoid taxis because armed bandits regularly attack taxis, this is especially the case for 'taxi be' and 'taxi brousse', which are large vans commonly used by locals to travel both within the cities and to remote areas.
Avoid public transport due to traffic safety. There's also the risk of crime.
Many public buses are not well-maintained. Serious accidents occur.
Protect your belongings, especially when travelling overnight.
In Madagascar's north, pirates attack all types of ships around Somalia's waters and the Gulf of Aden.
Sailing vessels are especially at risk of attack.
Don't travel within 1000 nautical miles (1850km) off the Somali coast.
Check the International Maritime Bureau for piracy reports.
DFAT doesn't provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths.
Check Madagascar's air safety profile with the Aviation Safety Network.
Depending on what you need, contact your:
- family and friends
- travel agent
- insurance provider
Police - responsible for security within cities
Call 117 or visit the nearest police station.
National gendarmerie - responsible for security outside cities
Fire and rescue services
Call 117 or go direct to a hospital.
Emergency phone lines may not have English-speaking operators.
Response times may be longer than in Australia.
Always get a police report when you report a crime.
Your insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.
Contact your provider with any complaints about tourist services or products.
Check the Consular Services Charter for what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas.
Australia's consulate in Madagascar provides some consular services and can receive passport applications. The consulate in Antananarivo is open to the public via appointment only (see contact details below).
For full consular and passport services while in Madagascar, contact the Australian Embassy (based in Mauritius) via email (see contact details below).
Australian Consulate, Antananarivo
Building C1 (AMCHAM Office), Explorer Business Park
Ankorondrano, Antananarivo, Madagascar
Phone: (+261) 32 05 596 01; (+261) 34 10 863 41
Australian Embassy, Port Louis
2nd Floor, Rogers House
5 President John Kennedy Street
Port Louis, Mauritius
Phone: +230 202 0160
General Enquiries Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Consular Enquiries Email: email@example.com
Facebook: Australia in Mauritius, Seychelles, Madagascar and Comoros
The website will provide details about opening hours, any temporary closures to the public, and services offered.
24-hour Consular Emergency Centre
In a consular emergency, if you can't contact an embassy, call the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on:
- +61 2 6261 3305 from overseas
- 1300 555 135 in Australia