Madagascar is a large unexplored Island off the coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean with an incredible diversity of wildlife and flora endemic to Madagascar. Madagascar’s landscapes, people, beaches and undiscovered areas will delight those with a taste for discovery. A holiday to Madagascar can expose you to mountains, rain forest, dazzling beaches & coral reef surrounded by clear warm waters.

Essential Information Madagascar

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Currency Language TIme and Electricity

Madagascar Money & Currency

new Ariary

from R per person

The pre-colonial Ariary (MGA; symbol Ar) replaced the Malagasy Franc (MGF) in 2003. Note that the new Ariary is worth five times the FMG amount, and both currencies are shown on the notes.

Notes are in denominations of Ar10,000, 5,000, 2,000, 1,000, 500, 200 and 100.
Coins are in denominations of Ar50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1.
Note: Malagasy Francs are no longer legal tender



Madagascar Money

Madagascar is currently changing its currency from the Malagasy franc (FMg) to the precolonial ariary (Ar), which is worth five Malagasy francs; the FMg will remain legal tender until 2009. Prices in most businesses are now quoted in ariary. Euros are widely accepted, and US dollars are sometimes accepted in Antananarivo, major cities and tourist areas.

There are ATMs in Antananarivo and other major towns. However, you can withdraw only around €150 per transaction, and at the time of research ATMs only accepted Visa cards.

Credit cards are rarely accepted, except at some upmarket hotels (with additional fees), at Air Madagascar offices and at some larger travel agencies. The most useful card is Visa, with MasterCard only accepted in a minority of places. Visa and MasterCard can also be used at some banks to obtain cash advances (in ariary). Major banks change travellers cheques and cash in major currencies.

The foreign-exchange counter at Ivato airport has exchange rates that are just as good as those at the banks, and is usually open for international flight arrivals.

Madagascar Business hours
Offices, post offices and banks are normally open from 8am to noon and 2pm to 3.30pm or 4pm weekdays. Most shops are also open until 5.30pm or 6pm on weekdays and 8am to noon on Saturday. Most restaurants are open from noon to 2pm for lunch, and from about 6.30pm to 8pm for dinner.

Madagascar Language

Official French - Magalasy

Languages: Malagasy and French (both official)
In main tourist areas English is spoken.

Off the beaten track a little French will go a long way




Madagascar Time

GMT + 3
Time is not that important

Time is 3 hours ahead of GMT
2 to 3 hours ahead of Europe
2 hours ahead of South Africa

Madagascar has no daylight saving or summer winter time change through the year




Madagascar Electricity

220 volt ish
Typical Madagascar Electric outlet socket

Caution using laptops in rural areas

Electricity in Madagascar is improving but can still be an issue, hours without electricity are part of life on the Island. Plugs are European two pin style and in many areas not earthed - meaning power surges can damage sensitive equipment such as laptops.
In most accommodation candles are standard bedside extras, taking a small torch with you is recommended.