Hi, we are traveling to Madagascar next week. We've been reading the US and Australian government web pages which really advise you to avoid going to Madagascar. Is the situation that bad? It said that crime is getting worse and they discourage you from taking any cameras, ipods etc... My husband has a reflex camera which he bought specially for the trip and now we are thinking of leaving it at home. Could anyone tell me their recent experience, please. We are solo travelers, and we'll be traveling by taxi-brousse to our destinations. Besides being uncomfortable and probably not on schedule, should we expect problems like crime on the roads? Also we are bringing our tent to camp in the parks. Is it safe at all? Does anyone have any experience? Any tips? And the last thing: we are spending our last days in Ille St Marie. Are there any problems to pay by card in the island? Thanks so much!!
Hi I was in Madagascar with my family in June 2010, and had absolutely no problems. To my mind, it's a 'must do' destination for people with an intrepid and rnquiring spirit, provided that you take sensible precautions. We stayed in Tana for a few days and spent the rest of our time on Ile St Marie. Se my travel pages for a more detailed write up on the political situation and other logistical challenges, and let me know if you'd like any further information. Regards Cathy
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P.S. Madagascar will provide you with some of the most spectacular photo opportunities that you are ever likely to be presented with, so my advice is that the camera should definitely go with you, or otherwise you'll regret it! Just make sure you carry adequate travel insurance and take several smaller photo cards rather than one big one, so that if your camera gets lost/stolen, you hopefully won't lose all your photos as well. (Our experience is to take twice as many photo cards as you anticipate using, as they teake up next to no space, and this is not the time to be rationing your photos). We have not experienced violence of any sort on either of our trips to Madagascar, and nor have we met anyone else who has. However, as in most poor nations (and plenty of rich ones) pickpocketing is rife - particularly in Tana - so keep all valuables out of sight and out of easy reach. A South African couple were killed on Ile St Marie earlier in the year, but they were residents, not tourists, and the incident seems to have been the result of a contractural dispute (I know that doesn't make it acceptable, but it presents rather a different context). I am not aware of any tourist murders in recent years. Obviously the foreign press has picked up on this - and fair enough - but would the high murder rate stop you going to Washington D.C.? Credit cards are probably OK for Tana and some of the major towns, but outside these, I would not rely on this form of payment, so rather draw cash before you venture forth and keep it concealed in several hard-to-access places (preferably on your person). Just keep in mind that the reserves can be very humid, so make sure that whatever you keep your money in is fully waterproof. So, in conclusion, my suggestion is that you stop worrying and start eagerly anticipating the trip of a lifetime! Bon voyage!
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