Frequently Asked Questions

Travellers coming to Madagascar are often worried about their safety, health and the reputation of the tour operator they are travelling with. We answer the most Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) here:

Before you travel

Do any of your Madagascar Tours have an age restriction?

We accept children as young as 9 years of age on safaris in Madagascar, however the tours below have their own age restrictions.

Madagascar Barefoot Luxury Kayak Adventure Tours:

We strictly do not accept children under the age of 12 years old on these tours.

Manafiafy Kayak Experience:

Children under 12 years old will be accepted on a case to case basis. Permission will be required.

Do lodges or tours cater vegetarian meals and for persons with food allergies or special diets?

Jenman Safaris caters for vegetarians. If you are kosher or halaal, we advise you also choose the vegetarian meal option. Gluten-free and lactose intolerance can also be catered for. If you are booking a tailor-made tour, or have a specific food allergy, please let us know ahead of time so that we can arrange your dietary requirements with the lodges or hotels. If you are booking a luxury camping tour, our guides are able to cater for all dietary requirements.

Is there internet available in Madagascar?

There are now some Cybercafés in each big city of Madagascar. The Paositra Malagasy (Malagasy Post) also offers internet connection at their offices. It is very cheap but the connection speed is low, unless you are lucky and find one of the few places which offer ADSL.

What about malaria?

There is a risk of catching malaria in Madagascar. It is highly recommended to ask your doctor’s advice about anti-Malaria drugs before leaving your country. Malaria is transmitted by mosquitoes and as the insects are most active at night, it is recommended that travellers wear long-sleeved trousers and shirts at night, and sleep under mosquito netting. Bring a good mosquito repellent with you.

What are the visa requirements for Madagascar?

A visa is required to enter the territory of Madagascar. Visas can be obtained upon arrival and will be charged as follows, for both adults and minors:

  • Up to 1 month: 80’000 Ar (around 27 €*)
  • Up to two months: 100’000 Ar (around 33 €*)
  • Up to three months: 140’000 Ar (around 47 €*)

*Note that the Euro rates depend on the rate of exchange applied at visa control.

We advise clients to bring small change as authorities will not always have the correct change to give back. Authorities are also planning to introduce a frontier levy of around 10 € soon, which will replace the tourism levy already paid with each hotel night that clients are spending.  The date of application for this has not been released. We advise travelers to take note of this as often, little warning is given prior to implementation in changes to border/frontier levy’s.

What do I need to know about money (currency, exchange rates, where to best change money, which credit cards are accepted)?

EUR, USD and GBP are the most practical and convenient currency to exchange into Ariary at the Airport. Airport banks are open whenever an international flight arrives, and their rates are similar to the rates of banks in town.

Credit cards are only accepted in large hotels, restaurants and some shops, mainly in Antananarivo. Visa is the most useful credit card. In other big cities, you can only get cash from Automatic Teller Machines (ATM). There is now also an ATM at the airport in Antananarivo. Don’t rely on ATM machines only as they are often out of order. Keep some cash in Euro for emergencies.

Travellers Cheques (TC) such as Thomas Cook, American Express etc. are also not recommended as many banks refuse to accept them. But if you really want to bring Travellers Cheques, then bring only TC of EUR 50 or USD 50 face value, and do not forget to also bring the invoice or receipt of where you bought them. In some provinces, it may take you up to a few hours to change Travellers Cheques. The rate is also higher than exchanging cash and some banks charge commission.

Since 2005, Ariary (AR) is the local currency in Madagascar replacing the Franc Malgache (FMG). Many people still refer to the Franc Malagasy (FMG) when selling but all payment must be done in Ariary (1 AR = 5 FMG). Make sure to clarify which currency is being quoted, especially in rural areas. To check the updated rates, have a look at the official website of the Central Bank of Madagascar.

The biggest banknote currently available is Ar 10,000. But as a restaurant meal costs between Ar 10,000 and Ar 15,000, larger denominations will have to be printed in the future.

What insurances should I have when travelling to Madagascar?

Travellers should be insured against all eventualities and circumstances. We recommend World Nomads Travel Insurance as the perfect companion to keep you travelling safely. You can buy, extend and claim online even after you have left home. Recommended by Lonely Planet, World Nomads Travel Insurance is available to people from over 150 countries; and is designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.

Jenman African Safaris carries full public and passenger liability insurance on all of our safaris at all times.

What plugs do I need for Madagascar?

The two-pronged plug and the European standard socket are used with a tension of 220 volts are used in Madagascar (but it may go down to 170 volts in some areas at peak times) with a standard frequency of 50 Hz.

Will my mobile phone work in Madagascar?

There is some cellular coverage in Madagascar. Turn on international roaming if you want to be reached whenever you are in Madagascar’s big cities. The alternative is to purchase a local SIM card and an inexpensive phone at a shop, supermarket or airport. Expect to pay about EUR 5 for a SIM card but it usually includes only a small amount of credit. Communication by phone in Madagascar is expensive and the clarity of the telephone lines is worse than in other countries.

It is possible to call abroad from any public phone using a phone card from a Telma office (Telecom Malagasy). Some cities, small towns like Moramanga, and even small islands like Tsarabanjina, are covered by the local mobile phone network. There are two mobile phone operators in Madagascar: Orange (dial 032) and Celtel (dial 033).

Booking process

Do you tailor-make tours for groups or individuals?

Yes we can tailor–make a safari for an individual or for larger groups. Click here for more information on our tailor–made options.

How far in advance should I book my tour?

It is best to book as far in advance as possible (4-6 months) to ensure availability at the time you wish to travel, especially during the peak seasons (July & August, Christmas, New Year’s). This is especially important for those wishing to travel on tailor-made tours, and those adding extensions to scheduled tours.

I have chosen a tour on Travel2Madagascar, do you also book pre- and post-safari accommodation, transfers, activities, and local or international flights?

Yes, we can. Jenman Safaris is a comprehensive tour operator so in addition to our scheduled safaris we can organise all pre- and post-accommodation, transfers etc. Contact us to arrange your tailor-made travel arrangements.

What are the terms when booking a tour with Jenman African Safaris?

Click here to view our Terms and Conditions document.

What is the difference between budget, classic, superior and exquisite accommodation?

BUDGET: This is basic, simple and clean accommodation caters for guests travelling on a budget. (*)

CLASSIC: Guests choosing this accommodation are opting for the classic mid-range accommodation in simple, clean and comfortable lodges, chalets and permanent tented  camps. (**)

SUPERIOR: This category provides guests comfort on all levels and is equivalent to upper mid-range levels. This is an excellent value-for-money experience. (***)

EXQUISITE: Lodges and tented camps in this category offer a luxury experience. We have chosen the best possible accommodation in terms of service, food, facilities, décor and location. (****)

General questions

Are doctors available and are there hospitals?

If you are planning on mountain biking, trekking or hiking, make sure to bring along a first aid kit. If you are going diving, just remember that there are no hyperbaric chamber available in Madagascar. The hospital in Hellville has capabilities to cover essentials; there is a fully-equipped private clinic in Mahajanga and Antananarivo. There are some private doctors on Nosy Be that can offer diagnosis and treatment for injuries, and minor to moderate illnesses.

Is Jenman African Safaris committed to responsible and sustainable tourism?

We recognise that the cultures, environments and economies that we visit can be fragile and require an ongoing commitment from us to ensure that we have a lasting positive effect. Tourism, when carried out in a responsible manner, can be a real help to local communities in providing income, positive cultural exchanges and the financial incentive to protect their natural environment. We run our safaris in keeping with eco-tourism guidelines.

Is Madagascar a good destination for travelling with children?

Most lodges and hotels cater for families with children. We can advise and tailor-make tours that that incorporates fun activities, best months to travel to avoid high temperatures, short travel distances suitable for children, etc. for an unforgettable experience.

Should I go to Madagascar for my honeymoon?

While Madagascar is becoming more popular for a honeymoon destination. The island offers all kinds of experiences whether you prefer to plan: a relaxing, romantic beach holiday; an adrenaline-filled adventure or a tour to photograph beautiful spaces, places and people – Madagascar has it all. We can tailor-make any experience for you.

What accommodation facilities can I expect in Madagascar?

Tourism in Madagascar is still very much in its infancy stage. Booking tours with Jenman African Safaris will ensure you will have a vacation with running water, flushing toilets, electricity (sometimes produced with a generator for a few hours), and a hygienic and clean accommodation.

Tours are divided into classic, superior and exquisite so that you can chose which comfort and luxury level you require.

The two 5-star accommodations available in Madagascar are located in Anjajavy and Constance Tsarabanjina.

Luxury tents are also an option for accommodation at the Mandrare River Camp on the Barefoot Luxury Southern Explorer tour.

When you travel

Is it safe to drink the water?

Be careful about consuming water, and only drink bottled water when in towns or cities.

Is it safe to travel alone? What are the general safety guidelines?

Travelling alone in Madagascar is a safe option for those who chose to go solo. Just be aware of pickpocketing in the capital city. If you are booking a tour, you will always be accompanied by a driver or guide. If you have concerns please speak to your tour operator.

What are the tipping guidelines?

You can tip if you are satisfied with the service – but it is not obligatory. Here are some ideas of the gratuities that are expected:

  • Around 4 € per day (about 10’000 Ariary) for a guide or a guide/ driver
  • Around 2 € (about 5000 Ariary) for a park guide, depending on your satisfaction
  • Around 5% of the bill at the restaurant
  • 200 Ariary per bag for a porter

As Euro coins cannot be changed into local money in Madagascar, it is advisable to tip in the local Ariary currency.

Specials

Jenman Madagascar Safaris is always on the lookout for the best deals for your holiday throughout Madagascar. A selection of the best specials that are currently on offer in Madagascar can be found below.

Jenman African Safaris Collection

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