- Reviewed: 19 March 2020, 14:07 NZDT
- Still current at: 29 March 2020
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Political tension/civil unrest
Political instability has been ongoing in Madagascar since 2009. Despite a transition back to democracy in early 2014, the political situation remains fragile. Demonstrations and civil unrest in response to political developments could occur with little warning, particularly in the capital Antananarivo. In the past, there have been small explosions in Antananarivo linked to political tensions, some of which have killed and injured people. On 21 April 2018, security forces opened fire on protesters causing the deaths of two people. On 26 June 2016, a grenade attack killed two people and injured 86.
New Zealanders in Madagascar are advised to avoid all demonstrations and political gatherings, as even those intended to be peaceful have the potential to turn violent. You should adhere to any instructions and restrictions issued by the local authorities, and monitor local media for updates.
Violent crime, including muggings and robberies, is common in Madagascar. New Zealanders are advised to exercise a high degree of vigilance in Madagascar. Keep a low profile and avoid remote locations, especially if travelling alone. Walking alone or after dark is not recommended. No resistance should be given if you are the victim of an armed robbery or carjacking, as this could lead to an escalation in violence. New Zealanders are advised against all travel to Batterie Beach, where there have been violent attacks including fatalities. Other areas that have experienced violent crime include Antananarivo, Nosy Be, Fort-Dauphin, and the Anosy region.
New Zealanders should also be aware of the possibility of petty crime, such as pickpocketing or bag-snatching. As victims of violent and petty crime are often targeted due to their perceived wealth it is advisable to avoid wearing or displaying items that appear valuable, such as mobile devices and jewellery.
There have been a number of instances of kidnapping for ransom in the past. Foreign nationals and expatriates have been targeted. There have also been violent attacks and robberies involving tourists visiting national parks, including Andohahela, Montagne d’Ambre and Ankarana in northern Madagascar. Seek local advice from your tour operator or park administration in advance of your visit.
There is a significant risk when travelling by road in Madagascar. There have been armed robberies and carjackings on main roads and highways, especially at night. There have been regular bandit attacks on vehicles carrying goods and people, including taxis (taxi-bes and taxi-brousses) and public transport. It is advisable to keep doors locked and windows up at all times and avoid driving at night. If travelling to Fort Dauphin you should fly rather than taking the RN13 due to the risk of violence.
Piracy remains a threat in the Gulf of Aden and western Indian Ocean. Somali pirates have attacked vessels as far as 1000 nautical miles from the Somalian coast. Mariners are advised to be vigilant and take appropriate precautionary measures in these waters. For more information view the International Maritime Bureau's piracy report.
General travel advice
Plague is a known risk in Madagascar with cases reported every year in the rainy season between September and April. In the three months from 1 August 2017 - 31 October 2017, the island experienced a serious outbreak of both pneumonic and bubonic plague, with 113 deaths reported across various regions, including densely populated coastal cities. New Zealanders are advised to follow public health guidelines, to practice good hygiene and seek medical attention if unwell with flu like symptoms.
As there is no New Zealand diplomatic presence in Madagascar, the ability of the government to provide consular assistance to New Zealand citizens is severely limited.
We offer advice to New Zealanders about contingency planning that travellers to Madagascar should consider.
New Zealanders travelling or living in Madagascar should have a comprehensive travel insurance policy in place that includes provision for medical evacuation by air.
New Zealanders in Madagascar are encouraged to register their details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
See our regional advice for Africa