It might happen that you are stricken with a dumbfounding wanderlust and thus going places is your number 1 resolution for 2017. The sheer ardor of getting your resolution fulfilled will push you closer to actually doing so. Madagascar has some pretty marvelous views, but before planning out a trip there, you ought to ask yourself one simple question: Is Madagascar safe to visit? We will hereby offer you 10 reasons why Madagascar isn’t safe for tourists and why it isn’t a safe place to visit regardless of whether you are a tourist or not, for that matter.
For the last couple of years, Madagascar has been subjected to numerous acts of violence and aggression. Tourists have been the main victims. For instance, the Anakao region has been put under an orange warning in the aftermath of a group of tourists being mugged. Some other ones have been held with knives at their necks and robbed on the island of Nosey Be by a group of vigilantes. They were robbed of all their possessions. Sadly, child trafficking and child prostitution are present there, as well, and there is no sign they are going to stop too quickly.
- Political instability
Political disequilibrium is not a fresh topic of discussion. It’s been there since the ‘60s, when Madagascar gained its independence from France and plummeted into chaos. There have been a lot of political manifestations and these kind of riots are always a far cry from being safe. The most recent economic crisis hit Madagascar in 2015, when the then newly-elected president Hery Rajaonarimampianina failed to improve the economic situation of the country. Even now as we speak, Madagascar is a silently boiling cauldron.
- The economy
This might not be an issue per se if you have a reasonable amount of money, but it is when you put the aforementioned instability as a background for your finances. It has been shown that an unsurmountable percentage of Malagasy people leave in utter poverty. This is the main reason behind the ceaseless thefts, death threats and extreme violence that occurs throughout the country. Always think twice before flashing money or walking with exposed jewelry on you. This is a main concern when it comes to why Madagascar isn’t a safe place to visit.
Pollution is a major issue in Madagascar. Maybe not as severe as in, say, parts of China, but nonetheless. The city of Antananarivo, especially, is the crux of all of it. It was industrialized and “westernized” in the early 2000s and thus has a lot of traffic. Pollution also affects the quality of the water in many other cities.
- Denominational uncertainty
You surely wouldn’t expect to want to go to a certain area and end up in the middle of nowhere. Sadly, that is the case with some Malagasy regions. There has always been an unstopped attempt to get rid of the Colonial names for the sake of the indigenous ones. To give you an example, what was known as Fort Duphin is now Taolagnaro. The same goes for other places in Madagascar, as well, as locals try to lynch the Colonial influence once and for all.
Scorpions, spiders and mosquitoes really are pests in Madagascar. Although mosquitoes may not be dangerous (but they still can borne diseases), scorpions and spiders are, needless to say, dangerous for sure. Ankarana, a natural park, is home to countless scorpions, so pay attention what you step on if you visit it. Also, never leave your shoes outside, since they might find shelter in there.
- The poor medical system
There have been a lot of Malagasy hospital reports of so-called “professionals” that have managed to put people in their graves. The medical system per se may not be that faulty, but the medics are not that experienced. It is better to be cautious than end up in a slum where you would not be helped with your issues. You might also want to carry a first-aid medication kit with you wherever you may go. It can come in handy.
- Wild animals
Madagascar is home to the cute, chaotic lemurs. They’re not as cute, though, when they jump in your apartment. To put it nicely, the Madagascar has an epidemic of these nice little fellows. Apart from the lemurs, there is a far more disgusting species you have to avoid: leeches. They are not dangerous, but their bites can irritate the skin and subsequently produce itching. Also, you may get dizzy if these small vampires manage to suck enough of your blood. As you can see, there are eclectic reasons why Madagascar isn’t safe for tourists.
- Drinkable water
According to certain research, potable water in Madagascar is polluted in a proportion of 60%, with the overall water pollution increased to as much as 65%. If you do visit Madagascar, make sure that you only drink bottled mineral water. You should also resist the urge of eating salads, because the vegetables were most likely washed in that water and they’re full of bacteria. You should consider refraining from drinking any beverage prepared with local water.
- The garbage
Garbage disposal is another major issue in Madagascar. 80% of people are dissatisfied with this environmental problem. There are just a few recycling companies that do not have enough power to satisfy the demand on their own. The waste is mainly handled by NGOs, but that still does not solve the problem, maybe just alleviates it.
Every place on Earth has its own beauty and originality to it, but these two may be dwarfed by the “inconsistencies” you may find there. Madagascar is undoubtedly not an ugly place, not at all, but certain infrastructure and political issues have made tourists a little more cautious than they used to be in the past. If you decide to go there, don’t forget to keep the aspects we’ve enumerated in mind, and you will be safe.