Madagascar is a unique place to explore, especially if you are an outdoor enthusiast. If you enjoy outdoor activities and you are into adventurous exploration, Madagascar would be your heaven. But it doesn’t mean that the place doesn’t have its own downsides. Despite all the natural beauties and the exotic flair, poverty is the biggest problem in the country. The infrastructure is poor and not all well-maintained. That’s why it would be wise to know some real facts about the place.
It would be best to use cash instead of credit card and ATM. Although the latter ones are increasing in popularity, most people (especially the locals) still prefer the cash. Moreover, you may not be able to find the ATM easily. If you have US$ and Euro, it would be super easy for you to exchange them. The rate for Malagasy Ariary is pretty low. The biggest note (around 10,000 MGA) is only worth €2. Be prepared to handle a tall stack of money when you exchange your money. It is advisable to bring smaller denominations in many rural locations because not everyone has the smaller changes for big denomination.
Because of the poverty and the political instability, safety is the biggest concern in the country. Most travelers who like idnplay poker need to stay alert and not let their guards down. You need to be extra prepared and be extra careful. Never leave your personal items unattended and always trust your guts. There are many cases of scam and stolen items – you don’t want to be one of them.
The biggest health issue in Madagascar is malaria. Be sure to bring your malaria tablets everywhere. Don’t forget to have your travel vaccinations as well. Tap water is a big no-no – NEVER drink it. If your drink comes with ice, you’d better be sure that it is made from filtered water. Never travel without your first aid kit. You want to bring medicines for scratches and cuts, as well as diarrhea and insect bites. Aspirin and antihistamines should always be in your kits.
Madagascar consists of rivers, deserts, dry forests, mountains, beaches, and rainforests. The weather can be unpredictable. Light and comfortable clothes are okay for daily wear. Be ready to wear clothes in layers in case the weather is a bit chilly. A light raincoat, a hat, a waterproof jacket, a scarf, sunscreen, and good pair of walking shoes would be your best friends during the trip.
Taboo or Fady
It is always a good idea to follow the forbidden or taboo rules. In the local language, it is called a fady. It may influence the local belief and behavior related to places, people, or food. If you are hiring a local guide, it is wise to ask him of the fady so you can avoid making mistakes. For instance, all Tsingy of Bemaraha guides will inform you that pointing something with the forefinger would be disrespectful. It is more polite to point with five fingers. If you are being respectful to the fady, it is a gesture that is much appreciated and respected by the local people.