Before travelling | During your journey

Quick Facts

  • President: Democratically chosen president Marc Ravalomanana resigned on March 17 2009 due to a seriorus political conflict and was substituted by the former major of Antananarivo, Madagascar's capital, Andry Rajoelina, as head of a transitional government. On 9 August 2009 the main Malagasy parties signed an agreement to form an inclusive transitional government by mid-September and to hold elections  within 15 months.  This agreement broke down at the end of       August with the anouncement of a new government, leading to renewed unrest. In December Rajoelina did not assist to a new negotiation attempt in Mozambique in order to establish a unity government, and he set parliamentary elections for 2010 March 20. The former president Ravalomanana has so far not accepted Rajoelina plan.
    The political situation remains unstable and subject to change.
  • Land Area: 587,040 km², 4th largest island in the world, comparable to the size of Kenya

  • Population: 20,650,000 (2009 estimate) with 0,15 % foreign residents and 30 % living in urban areas

  • Capital: Antananarivo, 1,750,000 inhabitants

  • Other cities: Fianarantsoa, 300,000; Antsiranana (Diégo-Suarez), 220,000; Toamasina, 230,000; Antsirabe, 220,000; and Mahajanga (Majunga), 200,000

  • Life Expectancy: 60 years for males, 64 years for females

  • Population growth: 2,84 %

  • Time: Sunrise is in Madagascar at 6:30 am in winter and at 5:30 am in summer. In winter the sun gets down at 17:30 pm and in summer at 18:30 pm. The time difference is during summer only +1 hour and in winter +2 hours (one hour more for UK).

  • Electricity: Electrical current is 220 volts AC, 50Hz. Plugs are generally two-pin. Power blackouts are usual so take a torch with you. In rural areas there is still no electricity, so that most hotels operate an own generator, which runs normaly in the late afternoon and in the early morning.

  • Weights & measures: Metric

  • Currency: Ariary (Ar)

  • Language: Malagasy is the official language, but French is used in business and government and is widely spoken in the main cities. A few people involved in the tourism industry might be able to speak some English, but it is not widely spoken.

  • Religion: About 45% of the Malagasy are Christian, divided almost evenly between Catholics and Protestants. 8-12% of the population are Muslim. The rest of the country's population practices traditional religions.