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There are several customs that are universal on the island and should be respected throughout your travels. Respect of elders and authority figures in Madagascar is of utmost importance.

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Some Fady concern forbidden foods (i.e. pork, lemur, turtle) while others prohibit the wearing of certain color clothing, or forbid bathing in rivers or lakes.

With a little knowledge, and a lot of respect for customs and laws of the Madagascar people, your trip will be sure to provide a phenomenal opportunity to experience a one-of-a-kind trip on a one-of-a-kind island.

(One of the colourful locals - a tomato frog)

The Malagasy people disapprove of tourists taking photos without permission. As breathtakingly beautiful and fascinating as the surroundings may seem, be sure to ask prior to snapping your pictures. Be especially careful to never take photos of a tomb without permission.

Madagascar is not only known for its unique, one-of-kind plant and animal species, but is also home to many unique customs and beliefs. Each part of the island is populated by a different cultural group having their own distinct customs.

There is also a restriction on exporting vanilla with a limit of 100 grams.

Other groups such as Arabs, Indians, and Chinese continued to settle on Madagascar over time, each one making lasting contributions to Malagasy cultural life. The Malagasy way of thinking includes a mixture of cultures, as well as their appearance and fashion style. It is a melting pot. Madagascar is part of the African Union, but that is now being reconsidered due to the recent 2009 political turmoil regarding the African Union members.

Madagascar is regulated by numerous local taboos, known as "Fady". Because of the diverse cultural make-up, the Fady vary from region to region so you should educate yourself of any local taboos before entering each region in order to remain respectful and avoid offending.

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Madagascar recently introduced laws targeting prostitution which prohibits consorting with female prostitutes. She may look alluring, but you're best to stay away. In addition, a campaign against sexual abuse of underage children (under 18 years) is strictly enforced.

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Madagascar is primarily a cash-driven economy. Some higher-end establishments may accept credit cards, but usually only Visa cards. Most shops and restaurants are "cash only" so be sure to plan accordingly.

The Malagasy follow a vast, complex system of beliefs pertaining to all aspects of everyday life. These very from village to village and even family to family. The many taboos are called Fady.

This is not a lackluster vacation destination by any means but one that will always be remembered as an experience of a lifetime.

That said, it is essential to the people of Madagascar that tourism continues to thrive. There is no reason why it should not. There is no violence in Madagascar related to the political crisis and certainly nothing a tourist need concern themselves with.

When addressing anyone older than you or in a position of authority, such as military, police or government officials, use the word "tompoko" (toom-pook), which is similar to "sir/madame?"in English.

It is illegal to import or export food items (including fruit), protected plants and animals.

If you intend to go on a Madagascar trip you should know the Malagasy population is known for being pacifist and tolerant. They are strongly attached to their customs and practices, namely in villages and rural communities. Travellers should be respectful of Malagasy traditions; in particular those relating to elderly people, high-ranking members of society, and respect local “fady”, i.e. taboos and prohibitions.

Customs In Madagascar

As contrasting as the population of this beautiful country is, the geography and subsequent activities are even more diverse.

Tour sugarcane plantations with a taste or two from local rum distilleries, or explore the rainforest filled with rare and unique wildlife. Witness the migration of humpback whales, bask on a quiet, tranquil beach or observe several species of lemurs and other amazing animals as you trek through the many nature trails.

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But the fascinating mix of cultures also makes it necessary that travelers familiarize themselves with the local laws and customs prior to travel.

The first people arrived in Madagascar between 350 BC and 550 AD from Borneo on outrigger canoes. These Austronesian first settlers were joined around 1000 AD by Bantu migrants crossing the Mozambique Channel.

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If you're planning a trip to Madagascar you have just assured yourself one of the most amazing adventures you will ever experience. This country has something to offer everyone, from the extreme and adventurous traveler to the most relaxed and laid-back tourist.

If visiting a remote village, it is tradition to first meet with the head of the tribe or group prior to interacting or conducting business with other members.

The local currency is the Ariary but many locals still think in terms of the previous currency, the Malagasy Franc (FMG) so it is important to clarify whether the price is Ariary or FMG (one Ariary is equal to five FMG).

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In July 2010, the National Environment Office placed a ban on the export of all crocodile products.

Click on one of the following links to learn more about the culture, language, education, health & safety, economy, government, history, religion, gastronomy, visas, local services, climate, locations in Madagascar.

It is advisable to prepare yourself in advance of the main customs of Madagascar if you want to go in a Madagascar trip. Some examples include communities who do not like their children’s heads to be caressed, asking permission before taking photographs of a person or group. Lastly nudism is not allowed on beaches so take care to cover up while walking around town after visiting the beach. A sarong and top for ladies, and a T-shirt and shorts for men should be sufficient.

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Observance of Fady is mostly limited to rural areas and therefore, tourists staying in main towns are not likely to run into any problems. Larger towns such as Antananarivo do observe some Fady but are more apt to exempt foreigners from adhering to these taboos. These prohibitions may seem strange, but nevertheless, it is essential to respect them and avoid violating them.