According to Bridgat, the capital of Madagascar is Antananarivo (more than 2.5 million people).
About 24 million people Approximately half of the country’s population professes the cult of ancestors, traditional for Austronesian settlers. About 45% of the population professes Christianity, belonging to the Roman Catholic Church and various Protestant denominations (Assemblies of God, Lutherans, Anglicans, Adventists). Most believers are trying to combine the cult of ancestors with Christian traditions. Since the 90s of the XX century, Orthodoxy began to spread on the island.
The rest of the population (about 7%) practices Islam, brought to the island around the 10th century by Arab traders. Recently, there has been a trend towards an increase in the population professing Islam.
For persons traveling to Madagascar on a short trip, Malagasy consular offices abroad issue two types of visas – ordinary (single, double or triple entry for a total stay of up to 90 days) or permanent (multiple entry for 3 years with each stay up to 90 days). Ordinary visas can also be obtained directly from airports serving international flights. The price of a single entry visa for up to 30 days is approximately 23 euros; a visa for up to 90 days can also be issued at the airport, its cost is approximately 40 euros. When crossing the border, you must have a return ticket with you, as well as an international certificate of vaccination against yellow fever (for persons who have been in a country that is disadvantaged in this regard for the last 6 days).
Duty-free importation of cigarettes is allowed – up to 20 packs or blocks, alcoholic beverages – no more than 2 liters. Foreigners are allowed to import jewelry and jewelry with a total weight of up to 1 kg, residents – up to 250 g. The export of precious stones must be accompanied by an appropriate certificate issued by the Ministry of Mining (issued upon purchase). Jewelry must have a seal. A customs declaration is obligatory if the total weight of the exported products exceeds 250 g. An export permit issued by the Ministry of the Environment is required for the export of valuable wood products. In the case of weapons and ammunition, an import permit obtained from the country of origin is required; subject to customs clearance.
Import/export of the national currency in the amount not exceeding 400,000 ariary is not declared. The import of foreign currency is not limited, however, when importing significant amounts of foreign currency, it is recommended to issue a declaration in order to avoid problems with customs control when leaving the country. When exporting foreign currency, it is subject to mandatory written declaration if the total amount in the equivalent exceeds 10,000,000 ariary. Foreign currency purchased in Madagascar must be accompanied by the relevant exchange receipts.
Export of meat products duty-free up to 5 kg. The export of fish and seafood is duty-free up to 2 kg of each product with a total weight of up to 10 kg. Export of vegetable products: 1) onion, pepper, coffee up to 1 kg of each product; 2) grains, cereals, beans up to 5 kg; 3) culinary vanilla (in pods or ground) up to 2 kg.
Prohibited for import/export are species of flora and fauna, as well as products made from them, native gold, raw precious and semi-precious stones, industrial minerals.
Travel and transport
The economy of Madagascar belongs to the category of developing, however, due to the growth of the tourist flow, the government of Madagascar began to pay special attention to the development of transport, including: aviation, rail, public, as well as taxi and car rental services.
The state of roads on the island is ambiguous. The central highways are in excellent condition, unlike the roads connecting small settlements.
Airplanes are the most optimal and fastest way to travel around the republic. Madagascar has 83 airports of various sizes. This makes it easy to move around the country itself and the nearby islands. The largest, and therefore the busiest, airport on the island of Madagascar is Ivato, located 45 km from the capital. The main carrier is Air Madagaskar.
The total length of railways on the island with a gauge of 1000 mm is 850 km. Their construction began in 1901 and lasted only 8 years. Most of the rail transport in the Republic of Madagascar is operated by Madarail.
Buses are the cheapest way to get around the island. At each airport or train station in Madagascar, you can find the schedule of public transport routes. Especially popular here are taxi-brousses (taxi-brousse) – minibuses accommodating up to 25 passengers, and taxi-be (taxi-be) – their counterparts, but designed for 9 people.
Inside the cities it is possible to travel by taxi. But it should be taken into account that both licensed and private carriers work here. Their fares differ significantly, so you should find out about the cost of the trip in advance.
You can rent a car only in large resort centers and it is better to do it in advance. And sometimes it is cheaper to rent a car with a driver who is well versed on local roads.
On the island, there is another unusual type of transport called pus-pus. These are, in fact, local rickshaws – carts moving by the effort of a single person who pulls a two-wheeled structure designed for 1-2 passengers. Accordingly, this means low speed, but it also costs much less than a traditional taxi.
Tourists should be careful. You should not demonstrate expensive photo and video equipment, valuables or documents, as well as leave things unattended. It is not recommended to walk alone at night through the streets. You should always carry a photocopy of your passport with you, and keep your passport, money and air ticket in a safe place, for example, in a safe in a hotel. Do not carry large amounts of money with you, avoid crowded places – markets, stadiums, demonstrations, festivities, etc., exchange currency only at official exchange offices or banks, requiring an appropriate receipt. In addition, be sure to respect the customs and mores of the Malagasy.