Threat level: Medium
Although the terror threat is relatively low in Madagscar, foreign visitors should be away of the extremely high crime rates in the country at present. Tourists often fall victim to muggings and assault so should remain on high alert at all times.
Kidnapping for ransom in Madagascar has increased in recent years with expatriates working in the country being particularly at risk as they are often seen to be wealthy and valuable targets.
Antananarivo has experienced a number of grenade attacks that are linked to civil unrest, the most recent being in June 2016. Be vigilant when travelling around the city, and avoid large gatherings where political demonstrations might be starting.
Recent security risk events
On the 27th June 2016, as the country celebrated its 56th anniversary of independence from France, there was a grenade attack at the Mahamasina municipal stadium in Antananarivo. This attack killed three people and 91 people were injured. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Batterie Beach has very strict policies and local customs when it comes to foreign visitors (also known as Fady, in Madagascar). There have been numerous violent and fatal attacks on foreigners in recent years and it is advised you avoid the Toliara region altogether if possible.
Criminal gangs have also been known to attack vehicles between Antananarivo and Toliara. It is highly advised to only travel in a convoy where possible. Although this does not eliminate the threat, it may reduce it. The security situation in Toliara region remains tense and the roads are in a very poor condition.
The popular tourist island of Nosy Be and in the city of Antsohihy have experienced high rates of violence and robberies to foreigners. These attacks have occurred in the daytime and in crowded areas. You should be vigilant at all times and avoid carrying large amounts of money.
If you wish to visit a National Park in Madagascar, you should seek advice from a tour operator or from the park administration well in advance of your trip. Visiting alone can be very dangerous and there are many cases each year of armed attacks and robberies.
Andohahela National Park has experienced an increase in attacks on foreign visitors. The park had to shut down due to this issue but has recently reopened. Maintain vigilance if you plan on visiting Andohahela.
The political situation remains fragile in Madagascar. The coup of 2009 was followed by 5 years of political unrest, during which Madagascar became the poorest country in the world who was not in conflict.
Madagascar is a member of the Indian Ocean Commission, the Organization of African Unity and the Non-Aligned Movement. Strong diplomatic relationships are maintained with Europe, especially the UK, France, and the United States. The country also receives a considerable amount of donations from many western countries which aid in the conservation of Madagascar’s valuable rain forests.
To drive in Madagascar you must have an international driving licence or apply to convert your driving licence to a Madagascan one. Many secondary roads are impassable and bridges are often washed away during the wet season.
There are frequent armed robberies on main roads, which mostly occur at night. Do not stop if you’ve been involved in, or seen an accident. If possible you should drive to the next town and report it to the police directly.
It is also advised not to travel after dark, and to ensure that all journeys are well planned and thought through.