Madagascar

October 19, 2015 - November 6, 2015

Activity Level

For most activities, a moderate level of exertion is required. Our itinerary includes walks and nature hikes, sometimes over uneven terrain, including some hilly areas. Should you have any physical limitations, please notify us in advance of your departure.

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Climate

Madagascar’s climate varies noticeably from north to south, east to west, and from coastal to highland regions. As we travel through the island, expect it to be warm, with temperatures ranging from the 70ºF to low 80ºF during the day and dipping into the 60sºF in the early mornings and evenings. Slightly cooler temperatures are likely at higher elevations, including Antananarivo. Berenty, in the southeast, is drier than the rest of the island and can be very hot, with temperatures during the day reaching into the 90ºF.      
                                                
If you wish to do your own research on the region’s climate, you may want to check local weather conditions on the Internet, the Weather Channel, or Accuweather shortly before departure.

The following are average high/low temperatures in October and November for selected locations on our itinerary:

 

High

Low

Antananarivo

77º

58º

Fort Dauphin 78º 58º
Ankarana 72º 68º

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Currency

As of January 2014, the exchange rate is as follows:

                $1 US dollar = 10.90 South African rand (ZAR)
                $1 US dollar = 2,269.99 Malagasy ariary (MGA)
 

It is not possible to buy Madagascar currency before arriving in the country, but it can be purchased at the airport upon arrival or in the hotel at any time.

ATMs are a good option for obtaining local currency in South Africa if you have a Visa or MasterCard debit or credit card. Ensure you have a four-digit PIN for your debit or credit card if you wish to obtain currency at ATMs. Please have some cash available as back-up.

While readily accepted in most of South Africa, major credit cards are far less common in Madagascar. They are accepted at the Hotel Colbert in Antananarivo.

Most of your expenses have been paid for; therefore, we suggest that you carry cash (preferably U.S. dollars) only in smaller denominations. Traveler’s checks can be exchanged at banks and major hotels. Exchange rates are basically uniform. Be sure to have your passport with you when exchanging currency.

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Documentation

You will receive your Pre-Departure Packet—including a Personal Information Form that will need to be returned to Zegrahm, a complete packing list, reading list, gift certificates, and visa kit—approximately five months prior to departure. Final documents—including a final itinerary, contact list, and staff biographies—will be sent approximately one month prior.

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Electricity

Electricity in Madagascar operates on a 220-volt AC with European-style 2-prong plugs. A converter, as well as a plug adapter, is necessary for all North American electronic devices.

PLEASE NOTE: Some appliances, such as video camera battery packs, require heavy-duty converters rather than the normal travel type. Please check your equipment to be sure you bring what is necessary for your personal needs.

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Extending Your Stay

Interested in extending your stay? Speak with one of our Expedition Advisors to find out how easy it is for you to stay an extra night or two. Or, our Private Travel department is available to design customized extended stays for individuals, families, and groups of friends—the same horizon-broadening adventures and life-changing experiences as our group expedition, but on a flexible, intimate, and personalized scale. Call 800.628.8747 or 206.285.4000 for more information. 

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Flight Information

International flights are not included in the cost of expeditions; however, Zegrahm has a fully-staffed air department that can assist you with flight arrangements.

You will need to purchase airfare from your home city/Johannesburg/Antananarivo and Antananarivo/Johannesburg/home city. For more detailed information, please contact our in-house Air Department for fare quotes, reservations, or other air-related questions.

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Internet and Phone

To help you in the event that you must be reached during our expedition, you will be provided with a complete list of our local offices, group hotels, and lodge information with your final departure documents. Please bear in mind that we will be in remote areas, and communication can be very difficult at times. Various locations do not offer telephone, fax, or radio service, except in emergencies. International telephone calls, faxes, and e-mails can easily be sent and received from our hotel in Johannesburg.

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Local Time

Following are local times that apply to this expedition when it is 7:00a.m. on the North American west coast:

7:00a.m.

Seattle, Washington (PDT)

10:00a.m. New York, New York (EDT)
5:00p.m. South Africa
6:00p.m. Madagascar

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Meals

Should you have any dietary needs, please let us know on the Personal Information Form included with the Pre-Departure packet, and we will do our best to prepare for them.  Unfortunately kosher meals cannot be accommodated.

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Packing Suggestions

General Information

It is essential to maximize the versatility of your travel wardrobe by packing clothing that can be layered. Wash-and- wear, lightweight, natural fabrics are recommended. As you pack, consider your own internal thermostat and personal tastes and adjust accordingly.

Laundry service is available, and by using it, you can limit yourself to just four or five outfits and not be inconvenienced by an overabundance of clothing.

Expedition Clothing

Lightweight, casual clothing is highly recommended for our Madagascar expedition. Bring several pairs of pants and/or shorts, and light, comfortable shirts. The evenings can be cool, so you may want a light sweater or jacket. Comfortable and sturdy hiking or walking shoes are essential for our nature hikes and walks.

Your clothes for wildlife viewing should be in neutral, muted colors such as tan, khaki, and bush green. Camouflage fabric is not allowed as it is associated with the military. Bright colors and white should be avoided, as they alert wildlife to our presence and can cause them to shy away (denim is discouraged). Remember, your hat should be neutral-colored as well.

You will receive a complete Packing List with your Pre-Departure Packet, approximately five months prior to departure.

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With Our Compliments

We are pleased to offer complimentary amenities to our explorers so they can be fully prepared before departing on one of our expeditions. Gift certificates to our Zegrahm Store and Longitude Books will offer you the opportunity to choose one of several specially selected items from our store along with books or maps suggested in the highly recommended titles sent. The certificates will be sent in your Pre-Departure Packet approximately five months prior to departure. Please refer to the gift certificates for more details.

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