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Madagascar Travel Advisory

Travel advisory july 31, 2023, madagascar - level 2: exercise increased caution.

Reissued with obsolete COVID-19 page links removed, and updates to crime information in the Tsaratanana, Tsiroanomandidy, Maintirano, and Betroka areas.

Exercise increased caution in Madagascar due to crime and civil unrest.   Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.

Reconsider travel to the following areas due to violent crime and banditry:

  • The area in and around the city of Tsaratanana in the Betsiboka Region;
  • The area along the unnamed road connecting the city of Tsiroanomandidy in the Bongolava Region with the coastal city of Maintirano in the Melaky Region; and
  • The area in and around the city of Betroka in the Anosy Region.

Country Summary :  Most criminal activity is non-violent petty theft, pickpocketing, and other crimes of opportunity predominately in urban areas and in crowded markets.  Violent crime, such as armed robbery and assault, occurs throughout Madagascar, particularly after dark, in remote areas, and along major national roads in the south and western areas of the country.

Read the country information page for additional information on travel to Madagascar.

If you decide to travel to Madagascar:

  • Avoid walking alone, especially after dark.
  • Do not travel on the roads between cities after dark. [SJ3]
  • Be aware of your surroundings.  Thefts of items from vehicles is common and may involve ruses or distraction, particularly when stuck in traffic.
  • Stay alert in locations frequented by tourists.
  • Do not display signs of wealth, such as wearing expensive jewelry or watches.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program ( STEP ) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter .
  • Review the Country Security Report for Madagascar.
  • U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations.  Review the Traveler’s Checklist .
  • Visit the CDC page for the latest Travel Health Information related to your travel.   

Mid-Sized Urban Areas   – Level 3: Reconsider Travel

Violent crime, such as armed carjacking, banditry, mugging, home invasion, and kidnapping can occur at any time.  Local police often lack the resources and training to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents in these areas:

Visit our website for  Travel to High-Risk Areas .

Travel Advisory Levels

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Home » Africa » Travel Safety

Is Madagascar Safe for Travel? (Insider Tips)

You’ve probably heard of Madagascar from the Disney Pixar film. Maybe you fancy a visit? Go for it, the giant island is beautiful, diverse and just perfect for adventures.

The natural world of Madagascar is absolutely fascinating. With millions of years of isolation from the African continent, animal species have evolved at developed uniquely, giving the island a well-known lineup of the most famous endemic fauna in the entire world: e.g. lemurs.

However, Madagascar can be a challenge to visit. There is crime,  cultural differences, a challenging political climate and a bunch of other potentially dangerous things makes the island actually fairly difficult to travel around.

So is Madagascar safe to visit? That’s the question we are going to be answering with our epic guide to staying safe in Madagascar. We will be covering just about everything from the safety of taxis to some in-depth stats about the country to make sure you know all there is to know.

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How Safe is Madagascar? (Our take)

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Madagascar has a lot going for it. There is a ton of potential on this island, with both incredible beaches and biodiversity to attract visitors.

Cut off from the African continent for 165 million years, the island’s native species attract – rightly so – a lot of outside interest. Everything from the aye-ayes to the red-bellied lemur is fascinating in Madagascar, which is why a lot of travellers want to take a trip here.

Whilst most people who do visit have a trouble-free trip, Madagascar isn’t as safe as the Disney film would have you think. It isn’t a dream paradise – in fact, many people would recommend that you only travel the island with an organised tour company or hire a guide to take you around.

Side note: When I visited in 2017, I had long term residents (my girlfriend and her family) to act as guides.

Even the National Tourism Office of the country advises foreign tourists that they should use a professional tour operator. Yep, backpacking Madagascar independently can be dodgy.

Crime, such as robbery and theft, are sadly rife in Madagascar. There has even been an increase in the number of kidnappings, targeting wealthy visitors to the country.

There was a coup in 2009, which led to much political instability. To this day the country is still not stable. In fact, it led Madagascar to be named “the poorest country in the world not in conflict” (according to the World Bank).

Let’s dive in to see what’s actually going on in this country…

There is no such thing as a perfect safety guide, and this article is no different. The question of “Is Madagascar Safe?” will ALWAYS have a different answer depending on the parties involved. But this article is written for savvy travellers from the perspective of savvy travellers.

The information present in this safety guide was accurate at the time of writing, however, the world is a changeable place, now more than ever. Between the pandemic, ever-worsening cultural division, and a click-hungry media, it can be hard to maintain what is truth and what is sensationalism.

Here, you will find safety knowledge and advice for travelling Madagascar. It won’t be down to the wire cutting edge info on the most current events, but it is layered in the expertise of veteran travellers. If you use our guide, do your own research, and practise common sense, you will have a safe trip to Madagascar.

If you see any outdated information in this guide, we would really appreciate it if you could reach out in the comments below. We strive to provide the most relevant travel information on the web and always appreciate input from our readers (nicely, please!). Otherwise, thanks for your ear and stay safe!

It’s a wild world out there. But it’s pretty damn special too. 🙂

Is Madagascar Safe to Visit? (The facts.)

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To be honest, currently, there are some parts of Madagascar that are perhaps not safe to travel to.

For example, 70% of Madagascans live below the poverty line. That means that the majority of the 22 million people who live across the 87,040 square kilometres of this island are living impoverished life.

Tourism, therefore, is very important to the country. It’s seen as a way to help reduce poverty and help economic growth, which makes sense.

Politically, the country is looking much more stable nowadays. There are still a few demonstrations every once in a while, but as long as you stay out of it, they won’t affect you at all.

In the north of Madagascar, there have been incidents that have targeted foreigners. In Nosy Be and Antsohihy, for example, robberies occurring in broad daylight have occurred on beaches. On the private island of Tsarabanjana, incidents involving tourists have been reported recently in crowded areas and at night.

Because of violent incidents in the area north of Fort Dauphin, as well as along the west coast between Belo Sur Tsiribihina and Toliara, as well as around the township of Betroka, there are armed forces involved in the area. It’s not recommended that tourists travel through this region independently.

In the “Southern Triangle” region the roads are not in very good condition and travelling at night is not advised. Attacks and violence have been reported in the southern and northern parts of Toliara, so it’s best to steer clear.

With all those things in mind, it’s fair to say that Madagascar CAN be safe to travel to right now, but you’ll have to be properly prepared.

Normally we’d be telling you about the safest places to visit in the country, but this one is a special case. Instead of focusing on one area, we’re going to present the top guided tours around Madagascar . It’s the safest and most rewarding way to see the country, so don’t hesitate to book!

Highlights of Madagascar – Plus

If you want to get a well-rounded experience of Madagascar, this itinerary from Gadventures does precisely that. You’ll encounter lemurs, wild landscapes (including the giant baobab trees), village culture, beautiful beaches – the whole works. The trip offers a fairly equal share of hiking and downtime. You can choose to add activities such as thermal springs and massages, and the final two days include time to lounge on the beach.

Highlights of Madagascar Plus map

  • Number of days: 8 days
  • Price: Pending new season prices
  • Group Size: 16 max
  • Accommodation type: Simple hotels (5 nights) and basic bungalows (2 nights)
  • How many meals included: 7 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 3 dinners

Northern Madagascar Explorer

The shortest trip we’ve found also takes you far off the beaten path when comparing other trips to Madagascar. Beginning in the far northern port city of Antsiranana (Diego Suarez) you’ll make your way south via the balmy Amber Mountains National Park. As you carve your way through the humid jungle, you’ll spot lemurs, native birdlife and reptiles, and cascading waterfalls. Plus, you’ll get that adrenaline kick you were looking for when you explore the limestone forest of ‘tsingy’ rocks.

travel to madagascar risks

Madagascar in Depth

Are you the kind of traveller who can’t leave a place until you’ve explored every single corner? This is the trip for you. 

Starting and concluding in Antananarivo, you’ll weave your way through remote rainforests, pristine beaches, winding rivers, and unique towns with a culture all their own. Note that this trip involves some camping and river cruises that are pretty rudimentary; it’s not a luxurious tour, but it is authentic. 

travel to madagascar risks

  • Number of days: 24 days
  • Price: $4,735 USD
  • Group Size: 12 max
  • Accommodation type: Hotels, lodges, camping, eco-lodges, simple guesthouses
  • How many meals included: 21 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 4 dinners

Madagascar Travel Insurance

ALWAYS sort out your backpacker insurance before your trip. There’s plenty to choose from in that department, but a good place to start is Safety Wing .

They offer month-to-month payments, no lock-in contracts, and require absolutely no itineraries: that’s the exact kind of insurance long-term travellers and digital nomads need.

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SafetyWing is cheap, easy, and admin-free: just sign up lickety-split so you can get back to it!

Click the button below to learn more about SafetyWing’s setup or read our insider review for the full tasty scoop.

20 Top Safety Tips for Traveling to Madagascar

Madagascar could seem like a dream destination. But as you might have been able to tell already, there is actually a lot to look out for if you are thinking of travelling to this country.

Whilst seeing the country with a guide or on a tour is recommended, this doesn’t make you immune from danger – which is why we have compiled this list of the best safety tips for travelling to Madagascar to help you out.

  • Learn Some French – Nobody in Madagascar speaks English. The official languages are Malagasy and French. Knowing how to communicate in one of them will make your trip a lot easier and safer.
  • Be vigilant – robberies, street crime and theft occur frequently, especially urban areas, beaches and nature reserves
  • Take extra care when travelling in a vehicle – car jacking and theft from cars is on the rise
  • Watch your belongings in crowded areas – these sorts of places are hotbeds for petty thieves
  • Do not walk around looking wealthy – cameras, jewellery, laptops, phones, designer clothes… Just don’t. You’ll make yourself a walking target
  • Don’t walk around by yourself after dark – the crime rate significantly increases after dark, especially in town centres and on beaches
  • Keep copies of important travel documents in a safe place – you don’t want these going missing; use a hotel safe
  • Carry your passport with you – but make sure to keep it very concealed and very secure
  • Be polite to the police – it’s important to show respect; don’t antagonise them
  • Ask police for ID – reports of fake police have been known, so if they want to talk to you ask them to show you their ID
  • Don’t resist if someone tries to rob you – consider taking a throwdown wallet so you can get away with losing a small amount of money. Whatever you do, don’t resist
  • Be culturally aware – in Madagascar, there are taboos known as “fady”; these vary across the country and are related to food, clothing and sometimes related to foreigners in general. You should respect the local fady and ask locals for advice
  • Be respectful to heads of villages – such as the Fokontany and the Ray aman-dreny. Not doing so will cause great offence
  • Stay away from drugs – any sort of use or possession is a big, big deal
  • Be careful what you take out the country – everything from pepper to jewellery; read up on quantities you’re allowed to take back home with you
  • Be aware that plague still exists here – 500 cases are reported annually and they mainly occur in the rainy season
  • Pay attention to the weather – monitor the progress of storms on weather website platforms.
  • Don’t take photos without permission – especially of a person or a tomb; this can be very offensive
  • Always have small cash on you – this is a cash based society and cards will not be widely accepted, if at all. Carry it around in a safe money belt
  • Keep a low profile – as a foreign tourist you are much more likely to be a target, so dressing obviously, talking loudly, anything like that, is not a good idea
  • Research tour companies well – not all of them are going to have your best interests in mind

There is a lot about Madagascar that you have to watch out for. Though it is probably best tackled with a tour, it is possible to travel Madagascar by yourself; it will just mean that you pay extra care to your surroundings and to what accommodation you stay at, for example. Keep our tips in mind!

Is Madagascar safe to travel alone?

Travelling solo anywhere in the world can be a blast. You get to do what you want, when you want, and you get to challenge yourself – and grow as a person.

Madagascar is definitely adventurous. However, the infrastructure isn’t so developed and there are a lot of challenges you’ll face along the way. You’ll have to be open-minded, and cautious, with how you travel, so to help you do so here are a few tips for travelling solo here…

  • A good place to meet other travellers is in the vibrant bars and other hangouts in Nosy Be, Nosy Borha and there’s a travel community in Taomasina and Tulear, too. Surfers will enjoy the socialising in Antsiranana and Taolagnaro.
  • Hit up tourist offices – these places are not your enemy and are, in fact, very helpful. You can get maps, advice and ask questions about where is safe to explore in these areas.
  • Join in a group activity . This can be something like a scuba diving excursion or heading out on a boat. These sorts of things are a good opportunity to not only see more of the country but also to meet a whole load of other travellers.
  • You probably may not be expecting this anyway, but don’t come to Madagascar expecting any sort of particular “ backpacking scene .” This simply doesn’t exist here – yet, anyway.
  • Choose your accommodation wisely . There is a very, very small handful of hostels on this large island nation, so make sure that you book yourself into the right place that will suit you will help your trip go more smoothly.
  • Ask at your accommodation for local advice on where you should go, what you should do, and where you should avoid. The local people will know where foreigners will be accepted, and where is safe (or not), and will be very worthwhile to your time in Madagascar.
  • Travel lightly . Trust us, bumbling around with a load of backpacks and gadgets when you’re by yourself isn’t just not fun, but it will also leave you at risk of becoming a target of crime.
  • Try not to stand out and attempt to blend in with what you’re wearing. Typical hiking gear or backpacking clothing is not the sort of thing that will help you do this, so take note of what locals are wearing and try your best to follow suit.
  • Don’t drink too much . It’s fun to have a few, of course, but being completely wasted impairs your judgement.
  • Keep emergency numbers in your phone saved with a symbol (such as “&” in front of the contact name) so you don’t have to scroll your contacts to find them. Also, you should note these down on a piece of paper and keep it with you because, you know, phones can run out of battery.
  • On that note, you should consider investing in a spare battery pack so that your phone always has a backup supply of energy. Always keep your phone charged, too – just in case.
  • Don’t wing it . Though other places in the world allow you to be free and easy with how you travel around (Southeast Asia, for example), but Madagascar requires planning and generally sticking to your itinerary as faithfully as you can.
  • Remove yourself from any type of vulnerable situation . If you suddenly realise that you may be at risk, or if a situation is just getting a bit awkward and uncomfortable, don’t feel like you have to stick around out of politeness.
  • Don’t go off grid ! It’s not safe. You may be doing something for you, and you alone, by travelling around Madagascar, but keeping in touch with friends and family back home – letting them know your itinerary whilst you’re at it – is the best way to go.

Is Madagascar safe for solo female travellers?

Madagascar is definitely a country of contrasts. The intense nature, rich history, poverty, culture and endangered wildlife all make for a pretty intoxicating cocktail that would attract any adventurous traveller. We can see why a solo female traveller would want to come here.

However, it definitely is not a trip that is going to be in any way normal. Whilst it can be safe for solo female travellers in Madagascar, you have to understand local customs, have some knowledge of the country and know a few insider tips on how to stay safe.

  • Locals will be curious about you – no doubt about it. You shouldn’t necessarily expect to be hassled or feel threatened, but it may be overwhelming.
  • There won’t be a lot of other solo female backpackers that you can rub shoulders within Madagascar. As long as you know that, and you’re fine with that, then that’s the first step to being at least half ready for this island nation.
  • That said, if you have the money, then it might be worthwhile booking yourself onto a tour for your entire trip of Madagascar. These do exist and it is not a cop out. This is, in fact, the most normal way to get around Madagascar.
  • Finding the right guide is important – especially if you’re by yourself and you’re a woman. There are a lot of guides to choose from in Madagascar, many of them friendly people who really know their stuff. Get online, ask questions, and get recommendations; this will really help you.
  • Get connected with other female travellers who have been there before you, or with people who live there – expats or Madagascan people alike. In the world of the internet, there are countless groups and sites dedicated to just this. Hit up places like Host A Sister or Girls Love Travel, or find another group you like, and then start making your connections. It will help open up the country.
  • Be kind to yourself . Just because you’ve saved up all this money and you’re making this big effort to explore Madagascar, it may not always be as awesome as you were hoping. That’s fine.
  • Err on the side of modesty when it comes to how you dress . This is helpful for wherever you travel in the world really, but in Madagascar, it’s going to help you stick out less as a tourist – and therefore, potentially, as a target.
  • Don’t disclose all the information about yourself to a stranger. If someone’s making you feel uncomfortable with their line of questioning, just tell some white lies, or remove yourself from the situation.
  • As we mentioned, people will be curious about you and your travels in Madagascar – that includes men. If someone approaches you and tries to make an advance, a firm no should be enough to ward them off. Men in Madagascar are usually quite respectful of women.

It may not be the most ideal destination for a solo traveller – let alone a woman by herself – but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t doable. Tours offer up a fantastic way to see the country and mean you get to connect with locals and see the sights safely and with fewer risks.

We’ve covered the main safety concerns already, but there are a few more things to know. Read on for more detailed information on how to have a safe trip to Madagascar.

Is Madagascar safe to travel for families?

You may think that visiting Madagascar would be like going to the best natural zoo ever. But it’s actually not very easy with children.

You’ve got to take into consideration a few things: it gets super hot, the accommodation can be pretty basic, the roads are not in very good condition, wildlife, like scary bugs and feral dogs, isn’t always amazing.

This is definitely a destination for adventurous families and not ones with young children, either.

Is Madagascar safe to travel for families?

Not a lot of tour companies will even accept children under 8 years of age because of the conditions of the country. It is definitely worth going through the pros and cons of visiting Madagascar before deciding to book a trip.

When it comes to things to do, of course, you could go on adventures to try and find those lemurs. There’s also kayaking, kitesurfing, camping and even visiting community and conservation projects throughout the country, which could be a real education experience.

It’s important, however, to really consider the safety of your children on a trip to Madagascar. You will need to get professional advice – i.e. from a tour company – before going there. Much of the country is very poor, underdeveloped and there are issues with things like disease. We strongly advise visiting your Doctor a few months before your trip to talk about vaccinations.

Infectious diseases include cholera, tuberculosis, bubonic plague and hepatitis; outbreaks of any of these diseases can and do occur without warning. It’s important that you read up on the state of things, in terms of epidemics, before planning to go on a vacation to Madagascar.

A good time to visit Madagascar with children would be May or June; the island experiences generally cooler temperatures at this time of year.

Basically, we wouldn’t say that Madagascar is especially safe for families to visit. For those who are really interested in nature and wildlife, it can be done, but it just takes a bit of planning.

Is it safe to drive in Madagascar?

Driving in Madagascar is pretty treacherous. In some areas, the road conditions of Madagascar are pretty good, but in other places, they’re awful.

If you do decide to rent a car we would recommend that you only drive during the day. There are a high amount of carjackings and other crimes related to vehicles that occur after dark.

Only 20% of the approximately 50,000 kilometres of road are sealed. Think huge potholes, impassable mountainous byways, hairpin bends and roads washed away by floods or landslips left in-situ.

Is it safe to drive in Madagascar?

If you really, really do want to drive yourself, then you have to be over 23 years of age and have an international driving license. However, you should be very experienced. We can’t stress this enough.

Note that fuel shortages are common. You will need to take a jerry can full of petrol along with you, fill up at every opportunity, and take a spare tire with you.

To hire a car with a driver (often mandatory), make sure you ask for recommendations at your hotel or accommodation.

When you hire a driver, the car comes with them. Pay careful attention to the vehicle as well as the driver; see how well the driver looks after it. If it looks good, it looks like it’s taken care of, then it’s probably a good option.

Basically, driving is not safe in Madagascar. Hire a driver, a good one who’s reputable, comes highly recommended and who knows what they’re doing, if you really want to get around by car.

Is Uber safe in Madagascar?

You might have seen this coming if you’ve read everything thus far, but Madagascar doesn’t have Uber.

Are taxis safe in Madagascar?

Taxis in Madagascar might be how you expect them to be – varied. There are two main types: city taxis (which operate in cities and towns, obviously) and bush taxis, known as taxi-brousse .

Almost all cities in the country have taxis that regularly work as part of the transport system. They used to indistinguishable from normal cars, but nowadays efforts have been made to make them look more taxi-like; for example, in Diego Suarez and Antsiranana they are painted yellow, whilst in Antananarivo they are beige.

Are taxis safe in Madagascar?

This kind of practice is slowly developing in the cities, making taxis in Madagascar a little more safe – but not all the time.

It’s not common to call up for a taxi. In fact, most taxis don’t have a phone number. To hail one down, you need to stand on the street and wave your arm. Usually, taxis are around 24/7, but there aren’t too many which operate at night time.

They operate by neighbourhood and not on an address or street name system.

As with many taxi systems around the world, you should make sure you have cash, and small notes at that, when you come to pay your taxi driver. Uniquely, in Madagascar they have to watch out for robbers as much as you do; having all that cash on them tempts thieves, so often there are partners in the car who act as security for the driver.

Be warned that inflated “tourist prices” will be charged to you, but usually, taxi prices are pretty affordable, hovering around USD $3, but can go up depending on the time of night, the traffic and peak hours. Also, note that fares are negotiable, so you can haggle – just make sure you set, and agree on, a price before you get in.

Don’t be surprised if other passengers get in: shared taxis are common in Madagascar. You can ask politely to not have this happen if you want, but this will cost you more money.

Is public transportation in Madagascar safe?

Much like the taxis, public transportation in Madagascar is… an experience.

There is a variety of things to use. The bush taxi/taxi-brousse we mentioned earlier isn’t just a taxi service, it forms the skeleton of much public transport around the island nation. It works much like a bus.

In fact, many of the drivers and the vehicles are employed transport companies called Cooperatives. They go all over the place in a system that is actually surprisingly well organised, regardless of how archaic the vehicles may look.

However, even though they are very cheap and easy to come by, they are often very uncomfortable, slow and are driven quite erratically. This leads to them being sometimes not so safe.

Is public transportation in Madagascar safe?

A good tip: you can actually book more than one seat (good for tall people) and actually choose the seat you want to sit on.

It’s the kind of thing where the vehicles leave when they’re full; the luggage goes on the roof, and it could take much longer, or quicker than you thought to get where you wanted to go – usually longer.

You shouldn’t travel at night time, which is when it’s much riskier. Even the taxi-brousses have to go around in convoys, too.

There is a train line that runs between Fianarantsoa and Manakara. You can get a 1st class ticket for this journey (must be reserved in advance); it takes 12 hours and is a cool way to see the landscape – especially if you’re a train fan.

Boats and river ferries in Madagascar operate somewhat irregularly throughout the country. However, you should watch out for these because they tend to be overcrowded, poorly maintained and by a crew with a lack of training.

In general, the best thing to do in Madagascar is probably to get your own driver. Public transport exists, but it’s not all that, and it’s not always safe. Alternatively, a tour will be able to take you around hassle-free.

Is the food in Madagascar safe?

We’re going to go out on a limb here and say that you probably don’t know much about Madagascan or Malagasy cuisine . It’s a real cocktail of culinary traditions, from the earliest Bornean influences and Arab twists on cooking, to French gastronomy later on.

Is the food in Madagascar safe?

Whilst there are a surprising amount of places to eat food – from local eateries called hotelis and street food, to restaurants and homestays – it’s not always easy to judge how safe it is to eat there. With that in mind, we’ve got some safety tips when it comes to Malagasy food.

  • Be careful of dietary changes. Go easy on local food and don’t try everything all at one time straight away.
  • We definitely recommend that you should wash your hands before you eat. This may seem like a simple thing to do, but you could easily forget to do so.
  • Only eat things that you can cook and peel yourself. Eating things from market stalls that have already been peeled are a good way to upset your stomach.
  • When choosing to eat from street vendors, be selective. Make sure that the place looks clean, that some level of hygiene standards are being practised by the vendor, and that you can see food being cooked at a high heat in front of you.
  • Be careful of dirty crockery and cutlery. A common way to get ill in Madagascar is by eating with plates or cutlery that hasn’t been washed properly or has been washed with contaminated water. Use a sanitising wipe if you’re unsure on the sanitary conditions of the establishment in which you’ve found yourself.
  • As a good rule of thumb, you should choose to only go to places that are busy with locals and have a high turnover of customers. This means a hot grill, fresh food being cooked up freshly; missing the lunchtime rush could mean that you end up with something that didn’t sell a few hours ago and has been sitting around for a while.

Whilst it can be a hit or miss, eating the food in Madagascar is – like many other things in this island country – quite the experience. Don’t let it pass you by!

Make sure you pack plenty of medicines from home.

Can you drink the water in Madagascar?

The tap-water in Madagascar is not safe to drink. You shouldn’t be drinking it anywhere in the country – even at top hotels.

Avoid ice in drinks as well, as this won’t be safe to drink and will make you ill.

Bottled water is readily available throughout the country, but a good idea is to bring along some water purification tablets and your own refillable water bottle to save from leaving behind too much plastic waste.

Is Madagascar safe to live?

The Indian Ocean island nation may not be the top expat destination on the list, but it’s definitely a consideration if you’re wild about nature.

With all the diverse nature and landscapes, as well as a vibrant culture, it’s definitely an interesting place to base yourself for a while. If you speak French, your life will be a lot easier here, as that will help you connect with locals, read important information and get around.

In terms of safety, there are obviously issues around the country related to crime – particularly with pickpockets – but this will vary depending on where you choose to live.

Is Madagascar safe to live?

The best place to live in Madagascar would be in a smaller city: this way you have access to all the amenities of a city but without the crime of the capital.

Choosing to base yourself in the capital, on the other hand, means power outages and traffic jams, but more options when it comes to eateries and accommodation.

Speaking of which, it’s not legal for foreigners to own land, so that will affect how you choose to live. Many houses are small and normally, families live in one single room. There are apartments, however, which are a little more classy. Do your research to find good places to live and base yourself when in the country.

Once you’ve found yourself here, you’ll find things affordable: everything from public transportation to things like rice will mean you’ll basically be able to live quite cheaply.

You’ll have to get used to a completely different lifestyle: watching out for crime, shopping at markets and not having good public transport readily available.

Madagascar is not the paradise it is painted out to be.

To conclude, we would recommend that you head online and talk to expats, get involved with NGOs, dig deep and talk to as many people as possible about how it is to live in Madagascar. It may change your mind, it may make you more determined to go there than ever, but either way, it’ll give you more of a solid grounding.

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Is it safe to rent an Airbnb in Madagascar?

While there might not be as many homes as we’d like to see, renting an Airbnb in Madagascar is a great idea. And it’s perfectly safe, as long as you read the reviews. Staying at an Airbnb during your trip will also open up new possibilities and options to experience the country.

The local hosts are known to take great care of their guests and give the absolute best recommendations of what to do and what to see. Local knowledge always goes a long way, so be sure to reach out to your hosts if you’re unsure about how to fill up your Madagascar itinerary!

On top of that, you’ll stay safe with the reliable Airbnb booking system. Both hosts and guests can rate each other which creates a very respectful and trustworthy interaction.

Is Madagascar LGBTQ+ friendly? 

While homosexuality is legal in Madagascar, we wouldn’t necessarily say it’s super safe for LGBTQ+ travellers. Public affection, no matter what kind of relationship, is a no-go.

So unless you and your partner are okay with keeping the affection behind closed doors, you will have to face quite a bit of discrimination. While the younger generation is generally more open-minded, most of the country is still stuck in a conservative and closed-minded mindset.

Here are some quick answers to common questions about safety in Madagascar.

What should you avoid in Madagascar?

Avoid these things in Madagascar to stay safe: – Do not walk around looking wealthy – Don’t walk around by yourself after dark – Don’t resist if someone tries to rob you – Avoid relying on people’s English skills and learn French instead

Is Madagascar dangerous for tourists?

Madagascar can be dangerous, but tourists are normally not targeted by violent crimes. As long as you keep your wits about you and use your common sense, you can have a great time in Madagascar. It still pays off to do a bit of research before you start your travels.

Unless you’re visiting with a guide or tour, Madagascar can get really sketchy for solo female travellers. Visiting and having a safe trip is possible, but it’ll require a lot of research and preparations.

What are the biggest safety issues in Madagascar?

These are the biggest safety issues in Madagascar. Note that most of them do not target tourists directly. – Gang activity – Robberies and break-ins – Kidnapping

Final thoughts on the safety of Madagascar

This is. a hard one. It CAN definitely be safe, but visiting Madagascar requires a lot of research and preparation.

To be called “the poorest country in the world not in conflict” is a pretty big statement. Even though Madagascar has such a wealth of biodiversity and some of the coolest endemic animals on Earth, as well as some interesting history to explore and even a load of amazing beaches to discover, it’s still a developing country that will certainly be a challenge to almost any visitor. It will also be very rewarding.

Madagascar is not easy to travel around. It isn’t always safe. You won’t always be able to meet up with fellow travellers if you plan on doing it independently. There are a lot of reasons why we definitely wouldn’t recommend travelling independently by yourself around Madagascar, one of which is simply getting around easily; tours just offer you a much easier way to see the country – and with a guide, too.

Then again, if you are a veteran backpacker and has been to many places before and you yearn for adventure and truly untouched, off the beaten track destinations, getting to meet interesting local people and seeing some diverse stretches of landscape – from deserts to rainforests – then you’ll love exploring Madagascar. You’ll have to research, stay alert, read up on customs and culture, and research some more.

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Exploring Madagascar: A Guide to Tourist Safety and Travel Advisories

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Advice for all destinations.

Read the information on the COVID-19: Health Considerations for Travel page for advice on travelling during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Vaccinations and malaria risk

Review both the Vaccination and Malaria sections on this page to find out if you may need vaccines and/or a malaria risk assessment before you travel to this country.

If you think you require vaccines and/or malaria risk assessment, you should make an appointment with a travel health professional:

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A travel health risk assessment is also advisable for some people, even when vaccines or malaria tablets are not required.

  • Do I need a travel health risk assessment?

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Many of the health risks experienced by travellers cannot be prevented by vaccines and other measures need to be taken.

Always make sure you understand the wider risks at your destination and take precautions, including:

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Make sure you have travel insurance before travel to cover healthcare abroad.

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If you feel unwell on your return home from travelling abroad, always seek advice from a healthcare professional and let them know your travel history.


  • Confirm primary courses and boosters are up to date as recommended for life in Britain - including for example, seasonal flu vaccine (if indicated), MMR , vaccines required for occupational risk of exposure, lifestyle risks and underlying medical conditions.
  • Courses or boosters usually advised: Diphtheria; Hepatitis A; Poliomyelitis; Tetanus.
  • Other vaccines to consider: Hepatitis B; Rabies; Typhoid.
  • Selectively advised vaccines - only for those individuals at highest risk: Cholera.

Yellow fever vaccination certificate required for travellers aged 9 months or over arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission and for travellers having transited for more than 12 hours through an airport of a country with risk of yellow fever transmission.

Notes on the diseases mentioned above

Risk is higher during floods and after natural disasters, in areas with very poor sanitation and lack of clean drinking water.

  • Diphtheria :  spread person to person through respiratory droplets. Risk is higher if mixing with locals in poor, overcrowded living conditions.

Risk is higher where personal hygiene and sanitation is poor.

Risk is higher for long stays, frequent travel and for children (exposed through cuts and scratches), those who may require medical treatment during travel.

  • Tetanus :  spread through contamination of cuts, burns and wounds with tetanus spores. Spores are found in soil worldwide. A total of 5 doses of tetanus vaccine are recommended for life in the UK. Boosters are usually recommended in a country or situation where the correct treatment of an injury may not be readily available.
  • Typhoid :  spread mainly through consumption of contaminated food and drink. Risk is higher where access to adequate sanitation and safe water is limited.

Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease transmitted by mosquitoes.You cannot be vaccinated against malaria.

Malaria precautions

  • Malaria risk is high throughout the year in all areas.
  • Malaria precautions are essential. Avoid mosquito bites by covering up with clothing such as long sleeves and long trousers especially after sunset, using insect repellents on exposed skin and, when necessary, sleeping under a mosquito net.
  • Check with your doctor or nurse about suitable antimalarial tablets.
  • See malaria map – additional information can be found by clicking on the Regional Information icon below the map.
  • High risk areas: atovaquone/proguanil OR doxycycline OR mefloquine is usually advised.
  • If you have been travelling in a malarious area and develop a fever seek medical attention promptly. Remember malaria can develop even up to one year after exposure.
  • If travelling to an area remote from medical facilities, carrying standby emergency treatment for malaria may be considered.

Other Health Risks

Altitude and travel, dengue fever, schistosomiasis.

There is a risk of exposure to coronavirus (COVID-19) in this country.

Please be aware that the risk of COVID-19 in this country may change at short notice and also consider your risk of exposure in any transit countries and from travelling itself. 

  • The 'News' section on this page will advise if significant case increases or outbreaks have occurred in this country.

Prior to travel, you should:

  • Check the latest government guidance on the FCDO Foreign travel advice and country specific pages for travel to this country and the rules for entering the UK on return.
  • Ensure you are up to date with UK recommendations on COVID-19 vaccination.
  • You can check this in the FAQ's.
  • If you are at increased risk of severe COVID-19 you should carefully  consider your travel plans  and consider seeking medical advice prior to making any decisions.

For further information, see  Coronavirus disease (COVID-19)  and  COVID-19: Health Considerations for Travel  pages.

Polio Vaccination Exit Recommendations

If you are visiting this country for longer than 4 weeks, you may be advised to have a booster dose of a polio-containing vaccine if you have not had one in the past 12 months. You should carry proof of having had this vaccination. Please speak to a travel health professional to discuss.

  • 62 additional items in the news archive for this country

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Travel safely to Madagascar with Passport Health's travel vaccinations and advice.

Travel Vaccines and Advice for Madagascar

Passport Health offers a variety of options for travellers throughout the world.

Set amid the varying spectrum of blue jewel-toned waters of the Indian Ocean is Madagascar. The island nation features a peculiar array of wildlife, plants and culture.

For those who like to experience destinations by their cuisine, Madagascar offers a wide variety of options. Restaurants specialise in French, Creole and native Madagascan dishes.

Whether you’re travelling to ‘The Red Island’, for the landscape, the culture or the food, adventure is not in short supply.

Do I Need Vaccines for Madagascar?

Yes, some vaccines are recommended or required for Madagascar. The National Travel Health Network and Centre and WHO recommend the following vaccinations for Madagascar: COVID-19 , hepatitis A , hepatitis B , typhoid , yellow fever , rabies , polio and tetanus .

See the bullets below to learn more about some of these key immunizations:

  • COVID-19 – Airborne – Recommended for all travellers
  • Hepatitis A – Food & Water – Recommended for most travellers to the region, especially if unvaccinated.
  • Hepatitis B – Blood & Body Fluids – Accelerated schedule available
  • Tetanus – Wounds or Breaks in Skin – Recommended for travelers to most regions, especially if not previously vaccinated.
  • Typhoid – Food & Water – Jab lasts 3 years. Oral vaccine lasts 5 years, must be able to swallow pills. Oral doses must be kept in refrigerator.
  • Yellow Fever – Mosquito – Required if travelling from a country where yellow fever is present.
  • Rabies – Saliva of Infected Animals – High risk country. Vaccine recommended for long-stay travellers and those who may come in contact with animals.
  • Polio – Food & Water – Recommended for some travellers to the region. Single adult booster recommended.

See the table below for more information:

There is a risk of contracting malaria in Madagascar. Your risk may vary based on where you are going. Share your itinerary with a travel health specialist to see if antimalarial are right for you.

There is medical care in larger Madagascan cities and towns. For those staying in rural areas, there may be a need to travel far to get to the nearest physician.

For more details on any of the above vaccinations, visit our vaccination pages or make an appointment with your local Travel Medicine Specialist. To book your appointment either ring or start booking online now .

Do I Need a Visa or Passport for Madagascar?

Visas for Madagascar are required and available on arrival. But, receiving your passport before travel is recommended. These visas are valid for three months at most. Passports must be valid for at least six months and have two blank pages on arrival.

Proof of yellow fever vaccination may be required if you are travelling from a region where yellow fever is present. Proof of onward travel is required for all travellers.

Sources: Embassy of Madagascar and GOV.UK

What Is the Climate Like in Madagascar?

Madagascar tends to have a hot and tropical climate. The country has two predominant seasons, hot and rainy from November to April, cool and dry from May to October.

While the island tends to experience a tropical environment, climate varies throughout due to the changes in elevation. The western coast tends to be drier than the east or the central, and the southwest and deep south have a drier, desert-like climate.

  • Antananarivo – As the capital of Madagascar has a humid and subtropical climate during the summer, with mild and dry winters.
  • Mahajunga – Located in northwestern Madagascar, this region has a wet and dry season. The rainy season lasts from December to February, during which the whole island experiences monsoon season.
  • Fianarantsoa – This southern city experiences less rain than the rest of the country. Warmer weather lasts from November through March and cooler climate ranges from May to September.

How Safe Is Madagascar?

While travel within the country is relatively safe, travellers should exercise caution during times of political turmoil.

Demonstrations and political violence are becoming more common in Madagascar. Track the news and information before leaving for your trip.

Madagascar armed attacks directed at citizens are on the rise. Travellers should keep a vigilant eye in highly populated areas.

Keep your purse, rucksack and belongings close to your body when walking during the day as pick-pocketing and and purse-snatching are not uncommon.

Travelling to the Avenue of Baobabs

Hundreds of Baobabs, which are trees native to Madagascar, line the world-famous Avenue of Baobabs. Living up to 800 years, these trees have given rise to myths and stories.

Located in Morondava, a city on the west coast of the island, travel time can vary. Flying to the city from Antananarivo takes about an hour, whilst motoring can take upwards of 10 hours.

Roads are narrow and winding. If you are planning on renting a car, be wary of sharp curves, cattle and avoid motoring at night.

What Should I Take To Madagascar?

Some essential items to consider for your trip to Madagascar include:

  • French/Malagasy to English Dictionary – There are a variety of different dialects in Madagascar, but its official languages are French and Malagasy.
  • Water Purification Tablets – If you have plans on camping or visiting remote areas clean water may be rare. Carry purification tablets and use bottled water to drink, and brush teeth.
  • Lightweight and Sun Protective Clothing – Heat, humidity and sun are abundant in Madagascar. Avoid wearing synthetic fabrics as they can become uncomfortable in the heat. Long trousers and long-sleeved tops will protect you not only from the sun, but also from the high supply of mosquitoes present everywhere.
  • Insect Repellent – Mosquitoes feast at night. Apply repellent whether you’re planning to go out on the town, or stay close to your lodging, especially during the country’s wet season.
  • Cash – Credit Cards are accepted throughout the capital at hotels, restaurants and some shops. Hole-in-the-wall machines tend to be out of order. Keep some cash in bills smaller than $100.
  • Raincoat – Tropical climate also means plenty of rain. Ensure to pack either a raincoat or umbrella to shield you from wet weather.
  • Headlamp – In many rural areas of Madagascar, there is no electricity. You may find yourself relying on a headlamp or a hand-held lamp to see where you’re going.

Embassy of the United Kingdom in Madagascar

If you are in Madagascar and have an emergency (for example, been attacked, arrested or someone has died) contact the nearest consular services. Contact the embassy before arrival if you have additional questions on entry requirements, safety concerns or are in need of assistance.

British Embassy Antananarivo Ninth Floor Tour Zital Ravoninahitriniarivo Street Ankorondrano Antananarivo 101 Madagascar Telephone: +261 (0) 2022 33053 Emergency Phone: +261 (0) 2022 33053 Email: [email protected]

If you have any questions about travelling to Madagascar or are wondering which jabs you may need for your trip, schedule an appointment by calling or book online now .

On This Page: Do I Need Vaccines for Madagascar? Do I Need a Visa or Passport for Madagascar? What Is the Climate Like in Madagascar? How Safe Is Madagascar? Travelling to the Avenue of Baobabs What Should I Take To Madagascar? Embassy of the United Kingdom in Madagascar

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What risks are there in Madagascar.

travel to madagascar risks

To further discuss exactly which risks apply to you contact us now.

What vaccinations/shots do I need for Madagascar?

travel to madagascar risks

Precautions and safety advice

Mosquito Safety. Mosquitoes spread a number of diseases such as Yellow fever, Malaria, Dengue and Chikungunya fever. Read more on mosquito bite prevention.

travel to madagascar risks

Personal Safety. While traveling be careful about attracting attention with flashy jewelry, fancy watches, large sums of cash and expensive electronics. They may easily make you a target for a robbery. Try to leave them at home, if you must have them store them in a secure safe.
In the event that they are stolen or you lose them, please carry a duplicate set of your medications and medical supplies in a different bag and a written list of your medications in your wallet / purse. If you have many medical issues, carry a summary letter from your doctor in your wallet. Avoid becoming intoxicated, you will become a very easy target. Watch and read the local news, so that you may be aware of any civil unrest or problems that develop. The Government of Canada website (https://travel.gc.ca/ travelling/advisories) also has useful information on this topic
Keep people informed and updated of your location and where you are going.

Document Safety. Write down your passport number only , and store it in one or more of your bags. Find the contact for the Canadian embassies for the countries you will visit. Go to the site (https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/advisories) select the country, then click on the assistance tab. Save these on your phone and write them down and store a written copy in your bags. Be vigilant when using free wifi when you travel. Make a note of your credit card details and the phone numbers of the issuing company in the event they are stolen or lost. If you have a yellow fever card / certificate carry a copy of it in a different bag. Keep the original with your passport.

Contact us now to book an appointment.

travel to madagascar risks

Malaria still poses health risks

Know the signs, take proactive steps if traveling.

Malaria is caused by a single-celled parasite of the genus Plasmodium. The parasite is transmitted to humans most commonly through mosquito bites. The malaria parasites enter the bloodstream and travel to the liver. When the parasites mature, they leave the liver and infect red blood cells. This is when people typically develop malaria symptoms.

Because the parasites that cause malaria affect red blood cells, people also can be infected by exposure to infected blood, including from mother to unborn child, through blood transfusions and by sharing needles used to inject drugs.

Each year, nearly 290 million people are infected with malaria, and more than 400,000 people die of the disease. The greatest risk factor for developing malaria is to live in or visit areas where the disease is common. These areas include tropical and subtropical regions of sub-Saharan Africa, South and Southeast Asia, the Pacific Islands, Central America, and northern South America. The degree of risk depends on local malaria control, seasonal changes in malaria rates and the precautions you take to prevent mosquito bites.

Symptoms of malaria

Signs and symptoms of malaria typically begin within a few weeks after being bitten by an infected mosquito. However, some types of malaria parasites can lie dormant in your body for up to a year. Some people who have malaria experience cycles of malaria “attacks.” An attack usually starts with shivering and chills, followed by a high fever, then sweating, and finally a return to normal temperature.

Signs and symptoms of malaria can include:

  • General feeling of discomfort
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Muscle or joint pain
  • Rapid breathing
  • Rapid heart rate

Treatment, prevention

Malaria is treated with prescription drugs to kill the parasite. The types of drugs and the length of treatment will depend on the type of malaria parasite you have, the severity of your symptoms, your age and whether you’re pregnant.

To reduce malaria infections, world health programs distribute preventive drugs and insecticide-treated bed nets to protect people from mosquito bites. Protective clothing, bed nets and insecticides can protect you while traveling. You also can take preventive medicine before, during and after a trip to a high-risk area.

In 2021, the World Health Organization recommended widespread use of a new malaria vaccine for children. WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called the long-awaited vaccine a “breakthrough for science, child health and malaria control,” and said that when combined with existing tools to prevent malaria, tens of thousands of children could be saved each year.

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Could your summer holiday be hit by strikes? These are the current odds

Travellers face a range of disruption, from more uk rail strikes to french air-traffic controller walk-outs – simon calder assesses the risks and gives his expert view, article bookmarked.

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T he one certainty of travel this summer: holidaymakers will be disrupted by strikes .

Travel depends on many individual groups of workers cooperating to deliver passengers to their destinations and enabling them to enjoy holidays. Because these functions are interlocking, trade unions have significant power to cause a lot of disruption through a relatively small number of workers going on strike.

The most extreme example: French air-traffic controllers, who normally handle many thousands of flights each day to, from and over France . But many other disputes potentially stand between you and your well-deserved and much-anticipated holiday – including the never-ending rail strikes, which could hit your journey to the airport or to a seaside resort .

For each of these possible threats, I have given my estimate of the percentage chance of it going ahead as well as a ‘Degree of Disruption’ score, from 0 to 10, for the effects.

UK: Rail strikes

We are now in the third summer of strikes by members of the train drivers’ union, Aslef. Industrial action in the dispute over pay and working arrangements began in July 2022. The union is demanding a no-strings pay award, but rail firms – directed by ministers – say any increase is contingent on radical reforms to working practices in order to reduce public subsidies.

Strikes have taken place every four to six weeks in the past 22 months.

While an olive branch has been extended by the Rail Delivery Group, representing train operators, inviting the union to informal talks, there seems no obvious solution in sight under the current government. More “rolling strikes”, targeting a different area of the country each day, seem likely.

Chance of strikes this summer: 90 per cent

Degree of disruption: 9 – thousands of trains will be cancelled on each day of a walk-out.

UK: EasyJet pilots’ dispute

“Summer of travel hell sparked by strike action after easyJet pilots reject £200,000 pay deal.” So reads one headline about the prospects for Britain’s biggest budget airline in the next few months, after an offer from easyJet was rejected by pilots belonging to the British Airline Pilots’ Association (Balpa).

But don’t panic if you are one of the millions with a booking on easyJet this summer. The airline says: “We are disappointed that the pilot pay deal was narrowly rejected. We remain in constructive dialogue with Balpa and no strike action is planned.”

Chance of strikes this summer: 1 per cent

Degree of disruption: 7 – while the UK is the main area of operations for easyJet, a significant proportion of its flights to and from British airports are operated by easyJet Europe and would be unaffected by a strike by UK-based pilots.

France: Air-traffic control strikes

French air-traffic controllers can wield more power than any other group of workers in terms of the disruption that a walk-out can cause. When they walk out, hundreds of “overflights” – such as Scotland to Italy or England to Spain – are typically cancelled, as well as flights to and from France . Many more flights are delayed as they wait for slots.

Les contrôleurs aériens walked out repeatedly in 2023, and have already flexed their muscles with “the strike that never was” in late April .

“There’s some improvement in air-traffic control this summer,” says Eddie Wilson. He is the man with the trickiest job in travel: running Ryanair DAC, the main operation of Europe ’s biggest budget airline.

At the root of the dispute is opposition to the restructuring of air-traffic navigation services, which many in aviation believe is essential to handle growing numbers of flights. Any changes to rosters are likely to be dependent on substantial pay increases before they are agreed.

Chance of strikes this summer: 70 per cent

Degree of disruption: 8

France: Paris Olympics transport strikes

Historically, many groups of transport workers see the Olympics as a good occasion to press their demands as the organisers – and government – battle to put on a good show. Transport workers belonging to the CGT-RATP union, devoted to the Métro, tram and bus services in Paris , are contemplating strikes – though new legislation is designed to ban strikes at key times, including the Games from 26 July to 11 August.

Chance of strikes this summer: 10 per cent

Degree of disruption: 3 – numbers attending the Olympics are expected to be very low .

Italy: Transport strikes

These are happening all the time in Italy , particularly in city transport, the railways and at airports. Most are short duration, as little as four hours. The next strike planned for Sunday 19 May on the railways is likely to go ahead and cause widespread problems, while taxi drivers plan a nationwide strike two days later in a dispute over issuing more taxi licences.

Chance of strikes this summer: 100 per cent.

Degree of disruption: 1-10 – depending on who exactly is striking and for how long.

Germany: Aviation strikes

Lufthansa, the national airline, appears to have settled its differences with pilots and cabin crew, but airport workers occasionally walk out and cause cancellations.

Chance of strikes this summer: 50 per cent.

Degree of disruption: 3 – assuming it is airport workers, rather than airline staff.

Germany: Rail strikes

Deutsche Bahn, the national train operator, is suffering extreme reliability problems ahead of the Euro 2024 football championships , held across Germany from 14 June to 14 July. Frequent short-notice strikes make trains even more unpredictable.

Chance of strikes this summer: 60 per cent.

Degree of disruption: 8.

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The latest on the massive solar storm

By Angela Fritz, Elise Hammond and Chris Lau, CNN

Incredible lighthouse picture from Maine

From CNN's Chris Lau

A long-exposure photo shows the aurora borealis over Portland, Maine, on May 10.

Among a flurry of surreal images capturing the dazzling auroras is one taken by Benjamin Williamson of a lighthouse in Portland, Maine.

"It's one of the most incredible things I've ever seen, the awe and wonder," Williamson told CNN.

He said he used a long-exposure technique to snap the shot, but did not edit it.

Watch the full interview with Williamson here .

Things could be about to ramp up

If you still haven't seen the aurora, hold on for another 30 minutes to an hour, according to CNN meteorologist Chad Myers.

The next wave of coronal mass ejections, or CMEs, which cause the aurora, is about to arrive, he said.

"Just wait a minute because things are going to start to ramp up here," he said, adding that the increase could arrive "anytime now." "When it comes, get outside, get ready, put your coat on."

For those who are too busy to witness the phenomenon tonight, Myers said the aurora is expected to last three nights.

Why does the aurora last for a weekend?

By CNN's Chris Lau

The northern lights can be seen from Eaton Rapids, Michigan, on May 10.

Generally, it takes just eight minutes for light to travel 93 million miles to the Earth from the sun, but astrophysicist Janna Levin said the energized particles causing the current wave of aurora travel a lot slower, causing the phenomenon to last for the weekend.

"Some of these mass ejections are trillions of kilograms," she said. "They're slower. So they're taking longer, but still hours, maybe tens of hours."

Here's how the solar storm looks in the South and on the East Coast

The aurora was visible across the East Coast and in the South Friday.

Here's how it looked in Chester, South Carolina.

Down in Florida, waves of color swam through the sky.

Up north in New Jersey, a purple-ish haze could be seen in the sky.

Will solar storms get more intense and risky in the future?

The answer is probably not in the short term, according to astrophysicist Hakeem Oluseyi.

He said scientists study what is constantly happening on the surface of the sun and have found a pattern.

“Geological data shows us that in the past the sun was way more active than it is today. It has cycles where it goes very quiet ... and you have events that show that the solar activity was much, much greater,” he told CNN. “So there's no evidence that we're going to see those big maxima this cycle." 

But the astrophysicist also spoke of a caveat - the limitations of modern science.

“Even though it's predictable in the short term, we still don't quite understand what creates the magnetic fields in the sun,” he said, adding: “That's why NASA has so many satellites looking at the sun.”

In Pictures: Auroras light the sky during rare solar storm

From CNN Digital's Photo Team

The northern lights glow in the night sky in Brandenburg, Germany, on May 10.

A series of solar flares and coronal mass ejections from the sun are creating dazzling auroras across the globe .

The rare solar storm may also disrupt communications. The last time a solar storm of this magnitude reached Earth was in October 2003, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Space Weather Prediction Center.

See more photos of the aurora from tonight.

Behind dazzling aurora could lie “real danger,” Bill Nye the Science Guy says

Bill Nye the Science Guy speaks to CNN on Friday, May 10.

The massive solar storm could present “a real danger,” especially with the modern world relying so much on electricity, according to Bill Nye the Science Guy , a science educator and engineer.

Scientists are warning an increase in solar flares and coronal mass ejections from the sun have the potential to disrupt communication on Earth into the weekend. Solar flares can affect communications and GPS almost immediately because they disrupt Earth’s ionosphere, or part of the upper atmosphere. Energetic particles released by the sun can also disrupt electronics on spacecraft and affect astronauts without proper protection within 20 minutes to several hours.

In comparison to tonight's event, Nye drew comparisons with another incident in 1859, known as the Carrington Event, when telegraph communications were severely affected.

“The other thing, everybody, that is a real danger to our technological society, different from 1859, is how much we depend on electricity and our electronics and so on,” Nye said. "None of us really in the developed world could go very long without electricity."

He noted that there are systems in place to minimize the impact, but “stuff might go wrong,” stressing that not all transformers are equipped to withstand such a solar event.

“It depends on the strength of the event and it depends on how much of our infrastructures are prepared for this the sort of thing,” he said.

Bill Nye breaks down significance of the solar storm | CNN

Bill Nye breaks down significance of the solar storm | CNN

This post has been updated with more details on solar flares' impact on electronics.

Here's where clouds will block the view of the northern lights in the US

From CNN's Angela Fritz

An infrared satellite image taken around 10:30 p.m. ET.

After an incredibly stormy week, most of the Lower 48 has clear skies to see the northern lights. But there are some areas where clouds and rainy weather are spoiling the view.

A deck of clouds is blocking the sky in the Northeast, from parts of Virginia into Maine, as an area of low pressure spins off the East Coast.

In the Midwest, the aurora will be hard to see through thick clouds in parts of Wisconsin, Michigan — including the Upper Peninsula — and Illinois.

A stripe of clouds is tracking across Texas, including Dallas-Forth Worth, and into Louisiana.

And in the Southwest, patchy clouds across the the Four Corners region could make the northern lights difficult to spot.

Aurora seen at least as far south as Georgia

Barely visible to the naked eye, the aurora can be seen in Atlanta in the 10 p.m. ET hour. 

It is easier to see through photographs using a long exposure. The photos below, taken by CNN's Eric Zerkel and Emily Smith, used 3- and 10-second exposures.

Aurora seen in Atlanta around 10:15 p.m. ET.

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travel to madagascar risks

  • Passports, travel and living abroad
  • Travel abroad
  • Foreign travel advice

Regional risks

This section has safety advice for regions of Madagascar. It only covers regions where FCDO has specific advice.  

You should also read FCDO ’s overall travel advice and safety and security advice .  

Central Madagascar 

In 2022, over 30 people were killed when criminals (often referred to as ‘dahalo’) set fire to buildings in a village in Ankazobe District, north-west of Antananarivo. Armed forces are active in the area. Dahalo have not targeted tourists but you should seek local advice before travelling there. 

Northern Madagascar 

Use an official local guide if you’re visiting the Montagne des Français protected area. Take local advice if visiting beaches as there have been opportunistic attacks on tourists. 

Cyclone Gamane 

Cyclone Gamane struck areas of north and northeast Madagascar on 27 March, causing damage to the road network in the districts of Analanjirofo, Diana, Atsinanana and Sava. Check the latest information if planning to drive through these areas.

Southern Madagascar 

Violent incidents involving cattle rustlers (‘dahalo’) in southern Madagascar have resulted in fatalities. Tourists have not been targeted, but you should avoid staying in rural areas without security arrangements. Madagascar’s armed forces are active in southern Madagascar. 

In 2021, a large-scale attack on 3 villages in Midongy District resulted in the deaths of 17 civilians and 2 military officers. Other attacks have taken place: 

  • to the north of Fort Dauphin 
  • around the township of Betroka 
  • along the west coast between Belo sur Tsiribihina and Toliara (Tuléar)  
  • in the Commune of Ilakakabe (near Isalo National Park) 

The security situation in the southern triangle between Ihosy, Toliara (Tuléar) and Fort Dauphin remains tense, and the roads are in a poor condition. You should use a recognised tour operator and avoid travelling at night in this area. If travelling to Fort Dauphin, you should travel by air. 

Criminal gangs have attacked vehicles travelling in convoy on the RN7 (between Antananarivo and Toliara (Tuléar).  

Be vigilant when visiting night clubs in Toliara (Tuléar). 

On 3 July 2023, demonstrations in the Lanirano area to the east of Fort Dauphin turned violent with reports of gunfire and injury to civilians. 

Western Madagascar 

Due to the risk of violent highway robberies, you should use a recognised tour operator when travelling in the region between Besalampy and Morombe, including the RN35 and RN1 (between Tsiroanomandidy and Maintirano). You should also maintain a high level of vigilance if you travel on the following roads: RN7, RN27, RN10 and RN34. Avoid travelling at night. 

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