First impression in Madagascar was NOT too good…. We’ve encountered a scary theft incident to one of the girls in our group the first night we arrived to Antananarivo; But of course, never judge a country by its capital.
Having said that, I thought of writing this post and advising on the best ways to try to stay safe in Madagascar.
First thing i’d like to advise NOT TO TRAVEL SOLO in Madagascar. Especially for women. We were three ladies and really felt unsafe whatsoever.
If possible, travel with established organisations or travel companies who know the terrain and have the capacity to warn of potential hazards.
Never leave your bags unattended.
DON’T carry large amounts of money. Keep your money out of sight when walking outside.
Never carry all your cash in one place. Leave some in your bag, wallet, hotel, socks, whatever.. just don’t put it all in one place.
Keep your camera, compute and phones out of sight when walking outside.
Make sure you take the necessary vaccines (please check the official health websites to stay up to date with vaccines needed). In our case, we had the yellow fever shots document/shot proof with us.
Be cautious when traveling in bush taxis (taxi-brousse) as there have been an increased number of robberies of passengers.
Make sure your passport is in a secure place. Keep it in the safe if you are staying in a reputable secured hotel, or in an out of sight place while walking around. Make sure you take copies of all your important documents before hand and keep a hard copy/accessible soft copy with you incase of emergencies.
Many people carry a “steal-me” wallet/ phone. This wallet usually includes an expired credit card, some “filler” cards, and about $10-20 cash. When visiting Madagascar, it is a good idea to consider this as well.
Be sceptical of any strangers who are being a little toonice, within reason.
Keep a credit card back in your big luggage just incase of emergencies.
There has been an increase in violence, including armed robberies, around the capital, Antananarivo and southern districts of Toliara and Fianarantsoa provinces. If you plan to travel to these areas, again, I advise you to consider hiring a reputable guide.
Since a lot of people visit Nosy Be as it is a popular destination to visit, please also be aware:
A number of incidents involving violence and robberies to foreigners have occurred in Nosy Be and in Antsohihy, the port for Nosy Be on the mainland. Incidents have occurred during the day on beaches, on the private island of Tsarabanjana and at night in crowded areas. Again, be vigilant and avoid carrying large amounts of money.
At the end, sometimes these things are inevitable. So make sure you know your measures in case such things happen.. For instance; if your iPhone is stolen make sure you access Find My iPhone from any other iPhone near you or through a computer iCloud.com/find to Erase the information on your iPhone and report it lost. (Not sure what is the other phones process, but research it to know..)
Incase your wallet is stolen, make sure you inform your bank immediately to stop all your cards and issue you new ones to receive them as soon as you’re back home.
It always also helps to know the important emergency numbers of anywhere you visit. Contacting local police would not do any help to be honest and from my experience, but if you want, give it a try.
If you have any other tips that you think I forgot, please feel free to add it to the comments section below.