madagascar reopening

Madagascar Reopened its Borders to Tourism – [Latest Update]

Have you ever been to Nosy Be? Nosy Be is one of Madagascar’s islands also known as “The island of perfumes”, home to volcanic lakes, playful lemurs, ylang-ylang plantations, and rum distilleries. If you haven’t been to this hidden gem, this may be your chance to visit its natural beauty while escaping from your country’s “new normal” routine. Madagascar is also considered to be one of the safest countries in Africa.

Andry Rajoelina, the President of Madagascar has recently announced this island will be open for tourism from October 1st. The government is also working on increasing its capacity from 80,000 to 200,000 tourists a year.

But first things first – Is it safe to travel to Madagascar now? Do you have to take a COVID-19 test? What airlines will be serving this route and what restrictions are they going to have? 

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Is it safe to travel to Madagascar or Nosy Be regarding the pandemic?

Update: 19 OCT

Madagascar has 16,810 confirmed COVID cases and only 238 deaths caused by COVID. The situation is under control and there are only between 0-30 daily cases in the last 7 days. (Source: Wikipedia)

Well, it’s hard to tell for sure. When you look at the data, it seems the country has managed to flatten the curve and reduce the death toll over the last weeks.

So far, official health authorities have recorded almost 16,000 infections and 211 deaths as of September 15th. However, the pandemic response and management have not been totally transparent to the public eye. 

A few weeks ago, the ex-Health Minister Ahmad Ahmad, contacted some international agencies asking for equipment due to his concerns about the shortage of medical supplies in the country. The President Andry Rajoelina, who has officially been promoting “COVID-Organics (CVO)”, an organic herbal concoction to cure COVID-19, has decided to fire the Minister and criticize the World Health Organization for not endorsing this COVID-19 home-made herbal cure.

What should you expect if you decide to visit Madagascar now? 

Unfortunately, the specific requirements and restrictions for tourists visiting Nosy Be haven’t been announced yet. Keep in touch and we will share this info with you as soon as it is made available by governmental sources.

What we do know is that the whole of Madagascar is still under quarantine and some of these restrictions will still apply in Nosy Be as they do in the rest of the territory.

Requirements: 

  • A negative COVID-19 test (PCR or serology) upon entering the country
  • You will have to pass health screening protocols at the port of entry. 
  • It is possible you will have to quarantine and/or take a second test at the airport.

Restrictions:

  • There are curfews in place in all the territory. 
  • There are restrictions for interstate and intercity travel.
  • It is mandatory to wear a mask in public, if you refuse you could face 24-hour jail time.

Which airlines are flying to Madagascar now?

Ethiopian Airlines is the official airline that will be serving this route from October 1st.

You can check this link for updated information about the rules and protocols required to travel with this carrier. These are some requirements you can expect.

  • You will be asked to keep your mask on at all times.
  • It is also a good idea to use contactless methods for check-in, payments and other services.
  • As a transit passenger in Ethiopia, you will need the original and a printed copy of a negative COVID-19 test taken within the 5 days previous to your arrival. 

Additional advice – Fellow travelers have given us a couple of tips that might be useful for you

  • Make sure you carry Euros and the local currency. Local money may not be accepted at certain shops.
  • Custom officers might demand you money for their services. Don’t fall for that. 

Tourist and relaxing activities you can do in Nosy Be

Well, if despite learning of everything that is going on in Madagascar you still want to visit, or if –on the contrary- you are feeling curious about their herbal cure, these are some of the things you can’t miss when in Nosy Be.

  • Plan a hike to the sacred mountain Nosy Sakatia and enjoy the beautiful views of blue volcanic lakes.
  • Go visit the ylang-ylang plantations and learn everything about essential oils
  • Relax in the shade of the palm trees while you forget about all of this pandemic hassle. 

For further information about restrictions and requirements, please contact Ethiopian Airlines at +251 116 179 900. E-mail: [email protected]