Madagascar Travel Overview

Madagascar Travel Overview

At a glance

Capital: Antananarivo

Official language: French, Malagasy

Currency: Ariary

Continent: East Africa

Land of the Lemurs

Few other places in the world are home to such a large density of their own animal and plant species as Madagascar.


According to Countryaah, Madagascar is located in the Indian Ocean off the African coast, roughly at the level of Mozambique. However, the closest people to the island are the Comoros, which are halfway between the island and the mainland. Over the centuries, the country has been populated by Africans and Asians, especially people from today’s India. This flair contributes to the island’s reputation for being neither completely African nor properly Asian.

Travel Madagascar

Madagascar is the largest island in Africa and with a size roughly the same as that of France, it is also one of the largest in the world. The country has long been separated from the mainland and so there are many animal and plant species on the island that are only found there. Above all, the many different species of lemurs (half-apes) are typical of the country. A special experience is the last strip of remaining jungle on the island, which today only comprises 3% of its former size. The special thing about the jungle of Madagascar is that no poisonous strikes live there – otherwise a reason for many to avoid the rainforest.
The coastal city is a popular destination for excursionsMorondava. The city is well developed for tourism, one reason to choose it as your first stop. Another reason is that it is 1-2 day trips away from many of Madagascar’s cultural highlights and attractions. For example, there is the dry forest of Kirindy and the popular diving spot Belo sur mer.

Discover Madagascar

The clocks in Madagascar tick a little slower, as on most islands in the world, hectic is a foreign word here too. The best way to travel Madagascar is on your own. The best thing to do is to take a rental vehicle, even better a rental car with a driver, maybe even a Malagasy interpreter, if you don’t have any knowledge of French. With a little luck and a lot of patience, you might see a few chameleons.

Important facts

Capital: Antananarivo

Official language: French, Malagasy


Currency (sub-unit)

Ariary (5 Iraimbilanja)

ISO 4217 code

MGA / 969


Continent: Africa

Region: east

Geo coordinates: S -18 ° -46 ‘-1 ” E 46 ° 52’ 8.8″

Highest mountain: Maromokotro (2,876 m)

Total area: 587,040 km²

Mainland: 581,540 km²

Coastline: 4,828 km


Dependency: France until 1960

UN member since: 1960

Other political affiliation: African Union

Form of government: Socialist republic


Madagascar GDP - gross domestic product

Export goods: Coffee, vanilla, rice

BSP: $ 7,234,000,000

GDP: $ 7.985 billion

GDP purchasing power parity: $ 18.410 billion

Economic growth: 5.5%

GDP share of agriculture: 24.4%

GDP share of industry: 17.1%

GDP share of services: 58.5%

Inflation rate: 13%

State budget revenue: $ 757 billion

State budget expenditure: $ 866000000

Export: $ 1,083,000,000

Import: $ 1,687,000,000

Gold and currency reserves: $ 637,000,000

Electricity consumption: 918 million KWh

Oil consumption: 18,600 million m³

Cultivation area: 6.03%

Bovine: 1,066,000 pieces

Pigs: 1,662,000 pieces

Fishing: 147,000 t

Demographic data

Residents: 18,595,500

Residents in cities: 5,482,000

Average age: 17.5 years

0-14 years: 44.8%

15-64 years: 52.2%

> 65 years: 3%

Population growth: 3.03%

Birth rate: 41.41 / 1,000 residents

Death rate: 11/11 / 1,000 residents

Ratio men / women: 0.99

Fertility: 5.62 children / woman

Infant mortality: 75.21 ‰

Life expectancy men: 54.93 years

Life expectancy women: 59.82 years

Country codes and abbreviations

ISO 3166 Alpha 2: MG

ISO 3166 Alpha 3: MDG

ISO 3166 numeric: 450

Top Level Domain: mg

IOC country code: MAD


Source: Abbreviationfinder


Telephone connections: 72,000

Cell Phones: 680,000

Radios: 3,960,000

TV: 540,000

Computer: 240,000

Internet users: 170,000


Railway lines: 883 km

Paved roads: 6,690 km

Cars: 77,000

Merchant fleet (ships over 1,000 GRT): 9


Number of doctors: 1,730

Daily food intake: 2.120 kcal / resident

HIV- infected people: 170,000


Illiteracy: 29%


Foundation: 1760

Last sovereign since: 1960


Main religious group: Natural religions


Prison inmates: 21,300


Armed forces (troop strength): 14,000

Defense Spending: $ 289.7 million


Arriving by plane

Madagascar’s national airline Air Madagascar (MD) (Internet: offers flight connections to destinations in the region (including Réunion, Mauritius, Kenya, Tanzania, the Comoros and the Seychelles) and Europe (Paris). Air Madagascar (MD) flies to Antananarivo from Paris. Air France (AF) offers feeders to Paris from Munich, Stuttgart, Frankfurt, Düsseldorf, Hamburg and Berlin as well as from Vienna and Zurich (Internet: Lufthansa (LH) (Internet: flies from Germany, Swiss International (LX) (Internet: from Switzerland,Austrian Airlines (OS) (Internet. from Austria in cooperation with other airlines.

Flight times

Frankfurt – Antananarivo: 13 hours 30; Zurich – Antananarivo: 13 hours 20; Vienna – Antananarivo: 13 hours 40;

Arrival by ship

The island’s main port is Toamasina. Passenger ships call at Madagascar as part of cruises through the Indian and Pacific Oceans.


Traveling by plane

Most of Madagascar, with the exception of a few cities in the central highlands, can be reached by plane, there are over 200 airstrips. Air Madagascar (MD) flies to numerous cities and towns on the island.

On the way by car / bus

3500 km of the road network are tarred. Many roads are in need of repair. Asphalt roads connect the cities of the central highlands and continue to the east and north-west coast. The three main roads lead from Antananarivo to Mahajanga (RN4), to Toamasina (RN2) and to Fianarantsoa (RN7). Other parts of the country have some paved roads, but the majority are unpaved roads, many of which are impassable during the rainy season (November to April).

Long-distance buses
are often overcrowded and rather unreliable. Unit fares. Madabus buses (Internet: are more comfortable and run from Toliara via Antananarivo to Soanierana Ivongo and from Morondava to Antsirabe.

Standard fares apply except in Antananarivo and Fianarantsoa. In these two cities, prices are calculated according to whether you want to go to the upper or lower town. Taxis come in two types: taxi-bes are faster and more convenient; Taxi brousses (bush taxis) are cheaper, but slower, as they stop more often and also drive to rural areas. Prices should be agreed in advance.

Pousse-Pousses carry passengers everywhere. The fare should be negotiated in advance. Carriages: There are still some passenger carriages in operation in Antananarivo.

Rental car 
only found in the larger tourist towns; Inquire about insurance conditions in advance. Motorcycles can also be rented.

International driver’s license is recommended.

Note on traveling by road

The Ministère du Tourisme de Madagascar (see addresses) offers a wide range of tours that can last up to a month. If you want to travel on your own, you should keep in mind that there are bandits in certain mountain regions. The climate and rough terrain also make overland travel difficult in many regions almost all year round.

On the go by train

All four railway lines in Madagascar are currently not regularly served. There are passenger trains from Toamasina (east coast) via Antananarivo to Antsirabe (a branch line leads to Lake Alaotra), from Manakara (also on the east coast) to Fianarantsoa and from Moramanga to Ambatondrazaja. (Internet: The northern route is to be expanded, the southern route leads through dense rainforest. 1st class wagons are air-conditioned.

Out and about by ship

The most important port is Toamasina. Rapids make many rivers impassable. The Ministère du Tourisme de Madagascar (see addresses) offers photo safaris in small boats on the Betsiboka and Tsiribihina rivers as well as sailing trips. The Pangalanes Canal runs parallel to the east coast for 600 km.