The climate is tropical along the coast, temperate inland, and arid in the south. The weather is dominated by the southeastern trade winds that originate in the Indian Ocean anticyclone, a center of high atmospheric pressure that seasonally changes its position over the ocean. Madagascar has two seasons: a hot, rainy season from November to April; and a cooler, dry season from May to October. There is, however, great variation in climate due to elevation and position relative to dominant winds. The east coast has a subequatorial climate and, being most directly exposed to the trade winds, has the heaviest rainfall, averaging as much as 3,500 mm (137.8 in) annually. This region is notorious not only for a hot, humid climate in which tropical fevers are endemic but also for the destructive cyclones that occur during the rainy season, coming in principally from the direction of the Mascarene Islands. Because rain clouds discharge much of their moisture east of the highest elevations on the island, the central highlands are appreciably drier and, due to the altitude, also cooler. Thunderstorms are common during the rainy season in the central highlands, and lightning is a serious hazard.
Check out the current weather conditions in Madagascar.
See our Visa page for information on passports and visas to Madagascar.
While the AIDS epidemic has not reached the devastating level found in many southern African countries, it is widely assumed that the incidence of AIDS is underestimated and rising.
Areas inhabited by humans will invariably have large populations of stray dogs. Never provoke a stray dog, and although bites are rare, if bitten seek medical assistance promptly as rabies is not unheard of.
Research malaria prophylaxis options, and follow through. If you are not taking any prophylactics, be sure to always use a mosquito net for sleeping, and apply mosquito repellents once dusk sets in.
There is no safe tap water so be prepared with bottled water, which is usually easily obtainable.
Remember that Madagascar is in the tropics and take precautions against sunburn and heat exhaustion seriously. Wear lots of sunscreen and keep hydrated. Remember that a cloudy day does not mean you won't get burnt.
The currency in Madagascar is the Malagasy Ariary. Please review the current exchange rate for the Malagasy Ariary. Prior to 2006, the Malagasy Franc was the unit of currency and today is still legal tender.
ATMs: ATMs are located
in major cities. You can withdraw money using Visa or Visa Electron card. Mastercard can be used with ATM's of the BNI bank.
Tipping: It is not a common practice. Round up your bill or add up to 10% for exceptional service.
What items should I shop for in Madagascar?
Vanilla and other spices are some of the most common items to purchase in Madagascar. They are much cheaper here than they would be anywhere esle.
Voltage: 220 V/50 Hz; Plugs C & E. You will need a voltage converter, and plug adapter in order to use U.S. appliances. We recommend getting a universal adapter and converter kit. View more information about electrical standards around the world.