Is it safe to travel in Madagascar?
Updated: Nov 6, 2018
Madagascar is a safe place in general, and Malagasy people are welcoming and nice. However, as in any other place in the world, there are things to be careful about.
For Madagascar, there are 3 of them:
First, the capital, Antananarivo
People moved from the countryside to the capital over the last 50 years, but most of them are jobless, and the poverty has intensified over the last decade due to the political instability, this has increased the insecurity as people are very poor. So here is what you need to remember:
If you decide to have a walk around the capital or go to the market, or take the bus, DO NOT bring any valuable things with you (phone, camera, wallet, expensive jewellery, etc. ), bring the minimum cash possible, and hide it really well, pickpocketing is pretty advanced there, so ALWAYS be vigilant.
Antananarivo has some nice night clubs, so if you decide to go out at night, always take a taxi. The same rules apply: do not bring any valuable possessions, and the minimum cash possible. If you are a girl travelling alone, do not wear tops that are too short, or show cleavage when you go out at night.
You will encounter many beggars, most of them are children. It could happen that if you give some money to one of them, you will find yourself surrounded by 20 others in no time, so you will have be careful, watch your things, some of them might have bad intentions.
Personally, I do not like going around the capital, because of all the things I have to be careful about when I am there, and I don’t think it’s worth it. I sometimes go out for clubbing with my friends, and that’s it.
The other big cities are generally fine, but it is always better to be careful.
Dahalo means a group of young men stealing zebu from others. This concept originally comes from the tradition of a tribe called Bara, located in the south west of Madagascar: to prove his courage, a young man has to steal zebus and give the stolen zebus to his in-laws as a present before getting married. A real dahalo does not have any interest in robbing travelers. But if you find them in the road, they sometimes ask for some coffee, salt, soap, or sugar. So it will be great if you have some of these with you.
Third, fake Dahalo
These are the dangerous ones, they would block the road, and rob travelers. But this only happens if you travel during the night on RN7 (route national #7). So to be safe, avoid travelling during the night on any road (travel only while the sun is out).
If you are not in the capital, and if you travel during the day, there should not be any problem. The remote places are peaceful and you will be amazed by Malagasy people‘s hospitality. Do not hesitate to contact us or post a comment if you have any questions.
Many thanks to Jean Elisée Christian Rakotondrajoa for helping us drafting this article.