Madagascar Travel Advice & Safety

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Crime, including violent crime, is a serious issue in Madagascar. Crime rates are significantly higher than in Australia.

Be alert.

Crime in Madagascar includes:

Foreigners have been the target of armed robberies, muggings and theft. 

Petty crimes, such as bag-snatching, pick-pocketing and other crimes, happen across the country.

To protect yourself:

  • be vigilant in tourist and transport locations
  • don’t go out alone after dark especially on foot
  • don’t leave luggage and valuables unattended
  • don’t display cash or valuables
  • always keep your vehicle and accommodation locked
  • always use authorised adn experienced guides and tour operators

If you’re attacked or robbed, don’t resist. Criminals are often armed, and you can be seriously injured or killed. Stay calm and consider surrendering a small sum of money.

Avoid actions that might antagonise security personnel, such as taking photos of them. They could respond with excessive force. Some individuals have been known to falsely claim they are from the police. If you’re stopped by the police, stay calm and show respect. Ask for identification to confirm who they are without antagonising them. 

Police resources are stretched, and you may not get the level of service you would in Australia, especially for less serious petty crimes.

Regional crime

There have been reports of violent clashes and crimes, resulting in deaths, across all regions of Madagascar. Some regions include:

  • Northern Madagascar: in the beach and crowded areas of Nosy Be, Ankify Port and Ambanja
  • Western Madagascar: on National Routes around Besalampy, Morombe, Tsiroanomandidy and Maintirano
  • Southern Madagascar: in the Southern triangle between Ihosy, Toliara and Fort-Dauphin

Seek local security advice before travelling to regional areas.

Don’t visit national parks alone. Be alert to your surroundings and circumstances.

Carjacking

‘Smash and grab’ thefts from vehicles and carjacking are common. This includes taxi bes (urban minibuses), taxi brousses (rural minibuses), and river ferries. This is particularly prevalent: 

  • on national routes
  • at major intersections
  • during traffic congestion
  • after dark

To prevent theft when travelling by car:

  • keep doors locked and windows up, even when driving
  • keep valuables out of sight
  • avoid driving after dark

Kidnapping

Kidnapping for ransom is a risk in Madagascar. This includes foreign nationals and expatriates working for international companies. Monitor the local news. If risks elevate, take extra precautions. Maintain a high level of vigilance. Watch for suspicious or unusual activity.

The Australian Government’s longstanding policy is that it doesn’t make payments or concessions to kidnappers.

More information:

Cyber security

You may be at risk of cyber-based threats during overseas travel to any country. Digital identity theft is a growing concern. Your devices and personal data can be compromised, especially if you’re connecting to Wi-Fi, using or connecting to shared or public computers, or to Bluetooth. 

Social media can also be risky in destinations where there are social or political tensions or laws that may seem unreasonable by Australian standards. Travellers have been arrested for things they have said on social media. Don’t comment on local or political events on your social media. 

More information:  

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