Several specificities related to Madagascar are to be taken into account once you arrive on the spot, whether it is language, currency, or exempt or to avoid purchases. Here is a list of information and advices you may need during your journey in Madagascar.
The main language of Madagascar is Malagasy, but English and French are also recognized as official languages, with a preference in use for French.
The currency of Madagascar is Ariary. This is not convertible and it is advisable to carry out the change on the spot. Currency exchange offices are available in town, in airports, and some hotels. Avoid black traders in the street. Banks are mostly equipped with vending machines that accept international VISA and Mastercard cards.
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora stipulates that it is forbidden to bring back from your stay in Madagascar lemur, dugong, tortoise, boa, Bemaraha chameleon, Antongil red frog or Euphorbiaceae, didieraceae or apocynaceae. It is forbidden to bring back also objects classified National Patrimony like the aloalo, the shutters of windows Zafimaniry and the old documents.
At the end of your stay in Madagascar, you can freely bring back 2kg of vanilla, 250g of punched jewelery and 4 different crocodile skin items purchased from authorized vendors (with vouchers and invoices). In addition to the airport, Duty Free shops are available in town on presentation of a return ticket and ID.
If you want to take pictures or videos professionally in the parks and reserves, you need to obtain permission from Madagascar National Parks. As elsewhere, ask for permission before photographing.
Adminstrations are open from Monday to Friday, the post office and telecoms have a permanence on Saturday morning. The holidays are those of the Christian calendar, in addition to May 1, March 29 (commemorating the events of 1947) and June 26 (National Day).
As the banking sector is in strong development in Madagascar, the network is becoming more densely populated and covering the whole island. All banks combined, the network will allow you to pay and withdraw with a VISA / MASTERCARD bank card in many cities of the island. Agencies are mainly equipped with vending machines and companies are increasingly equipped with electronic payment terminals, which will greatly facilitate your travels.
Electricity is generally at 220V. Most hotels have their own generators. Provide a battery-operated device for extreme cases. For your calls, the code of Madagascar is 261, and the broadband internet is generalized in the hotels.