Do you or someone you know need help?
If you are in Australia
Call 1300 555 135
If you are overseas
Call +61 2 6261 3305
text +61 421 269 080
A volcano erupted on White Island, New Zealand on 9 December 2019. Follow the instructions of local authorities. Updates are available from the New Zealand Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management.
Call 1300 555 135
Call +61 2 6261 3305
text +61 421 269 080
Call 117 or visit the nearest police station.
Call 117 or go direct to a hospital.
Political unrest can erupt without warning. Avoid large public gatherings.
Violent clashes between bandit groups and security forces are common in the southern region of Anosy. Bandits have also attacked people in the Ankazoabo region. 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.
Full travel advice: Safety
Bubonic and pneumonic plague are both widespread. Pneumonic plague is fatal if left untreated. If you have flu-like symptoms, visit a doctor right away.
Measles outbreaks can occur in the country. Make sure your vaccinations are up to date before you travel.
Malaria and other insect-borne diseases (including dengue and chikungunya) are common. Ensure your accommodation is insect-proof and use insect repellent.
HIV/AIDS is widespread. Take precautions if you're taking part in high-risk activities.
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.
Medical facilities in Antananarivo and elsewhere are limited. Most visitors seek treatment at private clinics that require up-front payments. If you're seriously ill or injured, you'll need medical evacuation, usually to South Africa or Réunion. Ensure your travel insurance covers this.
Full travel advice: Health
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
You can get a tourist visa when you arrive, for a non-resident this can be extending up to 90 days. Ensure you have proof of onward travel. If you're travelling for other reasons, apply for a visa through a Malagasy embassy or consulate before you travel.
Carry your yellow fever vaccination certificate if you're coming from a country where yellow fever is present. You may need to show it when you arrive and leave.
Only use hire cars and limousines from providers with a good reputation. Avoid 'taxi be' and 'taxi brousse' due to the risk of bandit attacks.
Avoid public transport. It's often unsafe and poorly maintained.
Piracy occurs in the waters north of Madagascar, especially near Somalia and the Gulf of Aden. Don't sail within 1000 nautical miles (1850km) off the Somali coast.
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 Madagascar. It provides some consular services but doesn't issue passports.
For full consular help, contact the Australian High Commission in Mauritius.
Full travel advice: Local contacts
Political instability may affect your safety in the capital and regional areas.
Unrest can grow quickly and without warning. Follow the instructions of local authorities.
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 stamped 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.
Extra caution is recommended if you are planning to attend large events.
In Antananarivo, there have been violent outbreaks in:
the Avenue de l'Indépendance
To stay safe during periods of unrest:
avoid demonstrations and other large public gatherings
watch for planned and possible civil unrest
avoid affected areas
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.
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 is especially on the rise. The family members of wealthy business people are most at risk.
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
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 sights 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.
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
If you're due to arrive after a natural disaster or during cyclone season, ask your tour operator if services at your planned destination are affected.
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:
These websites provide up-to-date information on:
weather conditions and forecasts
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
Consider your physical and mental health before you travel, especially if you have an existing medical condition.
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
Bubonic plague is widespread in Madagascar. It's 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.
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. In 2018, 114 of 116 districts experienced an outbreak, with 91 districts declaring the outbreak as an epidemic.
Make sure your vaccinations are up to date before you travel.
The measles outbreak has occurred alongside seasonal plague outbreaks. This can place extra pressure on the public health system.
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.
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.
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders.
Make sure you meet all entry and exit conditions. If you don't, the Australian Government can't help you.
You need a visa to enter Madagascar.
Get a tourist visa on arrival 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 and exit conditions can change at short notice. Check with the nearest embassy or consulate of Madagascar for details about visas, currency, customs and quarantine rules.
If you arrive from a country where yellow fever is widespread, you may need a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate to enter Madagascar. Some airlines may want to see one when you leave.
Find out about returning to Australia after exposure to yellow fever.
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.
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.
Accoring 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:
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.
Domestic flights in Madagascar may be cancelled with little or no notice. Contact your airline to confirm your flights, especially when flying from provincial airports.
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
Call 117 or visit the nearest police station.
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 but doesn't issue passports.
For full consular services while in Madagascar, contact the Australian High Commission in Port Louis, Mauritius.
Building C1 (AMCHAM Office), Explorer Business Park
Ankorondrano, Antananarivo, Madagascar
Phone: (+261) 33 55 004 74 or (+261) 32 05 596 01
2nd Floor, Rogers House
5 President John Kennedy Street
Port Louis, Mauritius
Phone: +230 202 0160
Fax: +230 208 8878
Check the High Commission website for details about opening hours and any temporary closures.
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
Be the first to know official government advice when travelling.