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Old 28-07-2015, 10:00   #1
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Cruising in Madagascar

Hi everyone. My partner is very keen to visit Madagascar on the way to the East coats of South Africa. I hadn't originally planned on doing so due to a number of (probably) unjustified fears, but she's been very persuasive and sold me on it if it's doable. I'm aware that infrastructure is lacking but that's fine. My concerns are more security-related. What practical considerations are there for cruising there? I know nothing of the geography and it's a really big place! Where are good places to visit? What are the customs and immigration policies? Are there big security problems? I'd be most grateful if anyone has answers to these questions, in addition to any other pearls of wisdom you might be able to impart! Cheers!
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Old 23-08-2015, 07:17   #2
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Re: Cruising in Madagascar

Seems like no one has replied to your questions. Email us at africo111@gmail.com and we'll be willing to give you as much info as we can.
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Old 23-08-2015, 10:39   #3
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Re: Cruising in Madagascar

We are presently in the Nosy Be area for 3 months before we cross over to S Africa in Oct. I have been pleasantly surprised by Madagascar and I can assure you that, today, your fears are unjustified! Ourselves, and other cruisers, here have not reported any security concerns. But its wise to take normal precautions as you would in any foreign location. Clearing in is straight forward and should not entail any bribes but they do exist, on a minor scale, how you handle this is up to you. Most cruisers arrive at Hellville for clearance and then move to Crater Bay and move about from here. Its a great cruising ground, plenty of beautiful islands and land to explore, people are wonderful, excellent purchasing power, good selection of provisions, clean fuel. Bring useful things to trade with the villagers for local produce, fish, lobster, duck, chicken, etc. Fishing is plentiful. Diving is first class. We are enjoying every moment of it. www.sailblogs.com/member/emeraldsea



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Old 23-08-2015, 11:25   #4
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Re: Cruising in Madagascar

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Originally Posted by KKat View Post
Seems like no one has replied to your questions. Email us at africo111@gmail.com and we'll be willing to give you as much info as we can.
Why not share it here, so other cruisers can benefit. It might not be right away, but often members will search for topics.
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Old 23-08-2015, 11:52   #5
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Re: Cruising in Madagascar

Yes^^^ I too would love info on this iconic island as far as sailing goes.
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Old 24-08-2015, 06:25   #6
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Re: Cruising in Madagascar

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We are presently in the Nosy Be area for 3 months before we cross over to S Africa in Oct. I have been pleasantly surprised by Madagascar and I can assure you that, today, your fears are unjustified! Ourselves, and other cruisers, here have not reported any security concerns. But its wise to take normal precautions as you would in any foreign location. Clearing in is straight forward and should not entail any bribes but they do exist, on a minor scale, how you handle this is up to you. Most cruisers arrive at Hellville for clearance and then move to Crater Bay and move about from here. Its a great cruising ground, plenty of beautiful islands and land to explore, people are wonderful, excellent purchasing power, good selection of provisions, clean fuel. Bring useful things to trade with the villagers for local produce, fish, lobster, duck, chicken, etc. Fishing is plentiful. Diving is first class. We are enjoying every moment of it. Enjoying Coastal Madagascar | Aroundoceans with SV Emerald Sea

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Hey Steve. Thanks very much this is exactly the kind of info. i'm looking for. I'm very much obliged and have made a note of everything you've said. It's nice to have a starting point. Thanks again!
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Old 24-08-2015, 06:28   #7
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Re: Cruising in Madagascar

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Why not share it here, so other cruisers can benefit. It might not be right away, but often members will search for topics.
I have written to KKat and will re-post any appropriate info that they don't mind sharing here for the benefit of others.
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Old 24-08-2015, 16:13   #8
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Re: Cruising in Madagascar

Do you speak French? If not you are a prime target of corrupt immigration officials who will feign an inability to understand English so they don't have to respond when you ask pesky questions about fee schedules. They will charge what they believe they can get away with and the sky's the limit!
Do you have a strong immune system? Human sewage dumps directly into the bay where you anchor. So, if you eat fish...
Will you feel safe in a place like Nose Be where two French men were hacked to death by a mob because they were suspected of killing a child for body parts?
Do you feel secure in a country with open insurrection in some places? The potential for violent political conflict at any time?
How will you feel when told by locals you should bypass someplace else "because they're not like us". It's not safe.

Just a few things to consider.
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Old 25-08-2015, 05:21   #9
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Re: Cruising in Madagascar

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Originally Posted by Wrong View Post
Do you speak French? If not you are a prime target of corrupt immigration officials who will feign an inability to understand English so they don't have to respond when you ask pesky questions about fee schedules. They will charge what they believe they can get away with and the sky's the limit!
Do you have a strong immune system? Human sewage dumps directly into the bay where you anchor. So, if you eat fish...
Will you feel safe in a place like Nose Be where two French men were hacked to death by a mob because they were suspected of killing a child for body parts?
Do you feel secure in a country with open insurrection in some places? The potential for violent political conflict at any time?
How will you feel when told by locals you should bypass someplace else "because they're not like us". It's not safe.

Just a few things to consider.
Thanks Wrong. Very interesting. Are you speaking from personal experience? Yes i do speak French well enough and i'm very familiar with corrupt customs and immigration officials (transnistria was probably my favourite ). When was the incident with the French men that were killed? The sewage doesn't bother me. The same thing happens in Halifax Harbour in Nova Scotia and in a number of US cities when the sewage treatment plants get over-run (whenever it rains.....). The last time i was in Guadeloupe someone drove a bulldozer into a gun shop and then started shooting tourists while the country was on strike. People in the States are constantly getting robbed and shot, sometimes in mass killings. In fact, i suspect the US has a greater number of random or unmotivated shootings over any given time period than anywhere else on the planet. I don't think it's fair to judge a place based on isolated incidents or one-off nutjobs. Rather, i'm more interested in the mentality of the population as a whole, and the general way that cruisers are treated in Madagascar. Robberies happen nearly everywhere, but what is the general feeling of the place? Do you need to watch everyone on the street like a hawk and constantly be on edge or can you travel around feeling at ease? Can you land your dinghy on a beach and still have it there when you get back? Do you need to lock it to a tree? Or is even that insufficient? Will people steal an engine, or break onto your boat when you're sleeping? It's these kinds of general security concerns that i'm interested in rather than isolated incidents. Cheers!
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Old 25-08-2015, 07:27   #10
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Re: Cruising in Madagascar

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wrong View Post
Do you speak French? If not you are a prime target of corrupt immigration officials who will feign an inability to understand English so they don't have to respond when you ask pesky questions about fee schedules. They will charge what they believe they can get away with and the sky's the limit!
Do you have a strong immune system? Human sewage dumps directly into the bay where you anchor. So, if you eat fish...
Will you feel safe in a place like Nose Be where two French men were hacked to death by a mob because they were suspected of killing a child for body parts?
Do you feel secure in a country with open insurrection in some places? The potential for violent political conflict at any time?
How will you feel when told by locals you should bypass someplace else "because they're not like us". It's not safe.

Just a few things to consider.

Prime target if you dont speak French? No so at all. This is not ours or other cruisers that are passing here this year. You will find broken English spoken and a translator available.
Strong immune system? Have you ever travelled to a third world country? You take precautions that are well documented. Madagascar is no different.

I think you best stay home. Madagascar is an amazing culture and country for those adventurous enough seek its beauty. And it IS SAFE. Take normal precautions.



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Old 25-08-2015, 07:49   #11
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Re: Cruising in Madagascar

I have sailed on the South West coast (Tulear) from Durban and had little problems with customs but nothing unusual just the town itself can be a bit rough with thievery, small/young groups apprehending people at night if you in the wrong areas - but I suppose that goes for anywhere in the world.

The Northern cruising area of Nosby Be are great and had nothing but good times. Good diving and good fishing.

The East coast can be a bit weather beaten with rough seas from Fort Dauphin to Santa Maria but still beautfil. We had no problems with not speaking French.

The Southern tip can be dangerous with strong currents and bad seas/weather coming in from the east and going over to the Mozambique channel.
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Old 25-08-2015, 07:52   #12
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Re: Cruising in Madagascar

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wrong View Post
Do you speak French? If not you are a prime target of corrupt immigration officials who will feign an inability to understand English so they don't have to respond when you ask pesky questions about fee schedules. They will charge what they believe they can get away with and the sky's the limit!
Do you have a strong immune system? Human sewage dumps directly into the bay where you anchor. So, if you eat fish...
Will you feel safe in a place like Nose Be where two French men were hacked to death by a mob because they were suspected of killing a child for body parts?
Do you feel secure in a country with open insurrection in some places? The potential for violent political conflict at any time?
How will you feel when told by locals you should bypass someplace else "because they're not like us". It's not safe.

Just a few things to consider.
Change the names and you've just described every country I've ever been to, including the one I live in. Can you name a country that does not have corruption, crime, or political problems? I can't and I've been to over 40 of them. A certain level of paranoia is healthy, but everything in moderation.
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Old 25-08-2015, 08:26   #13
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Re: Cruising in Madagascar

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Thanks Wrong. Very interesting. Are you speaking from personal experience?
Yes. I stopped into Nose Be twice. Once in 2002 or so. Again in 2012 or so. You'd think immigration operations would improve with time. Not so in Nose Be. Immigration officials in Nose Be are from a different island and are actually policemen. To the point. The head of immigration - who was a woman in 2012 - is assigned to the airport. But, guaranteed, whatever the take from you by the policeman/immigration official, she'll get half. I know, because I was only able to get back half once I learned by how much I'd been overcharged...

Quote:
Yes i do speak French well enough and i'm very familiar with corrupt customs and immigration officials (transnistria was probably my favourite ). When was the incident with the French men that were killed?
Madagascar mob kills Europeans over 'organ trafficking' - BBC News

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The sewage doesn't bother me.
Yeah? Well I recommend you don't wash your plates and utinsils in the Bay like I did before I discovered human waste and every other kind of refuse goes directly into it. Was not fun!

Quote:
The same thing happens in Halifax Harbour in Nova Scotia and in a number of US cities when the sewage treatment plants get over-run (whenever it rains.....). The last time i was in Guadeloupe someone drove a bulldozer into a gun shop and then started shooting tourists while the country was on strike. People in the States are constantly getting robbed and shot, sometimes in mass killings. In fact, i suspect the US has a greater number of random or unmotivated shootings over any given time period than anywhere else on the planet. I don't think it's fair to judge a place based on isolated incidents or one-off nutjobs.
Cruisers use this kind of rationalizing at their own peril. You'll see it often in various forums. Carry on.

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Rather, i'm more interested in the mentality of the population as a whole, and the general way that cruisers are treated in Madagascar. Robberies happen nearly everywhere,
Google is your friend. Or Bing, or DuckDuckGo, or... But, you may want to search for incidents affecting locals and tourists. It's not recommended to think because you're a "cruiser" you'll somehow be treated special... Even if you think you're special.



Quote:
....but what is the general feeling of the place? Do you need to watch everyone on the street like a hawk and constantly be on edge or can you travel around feeling at ease?
Ya'll never really know, will you? A general sense of things can be deceiving. Walk down one street and you'll be o.k.. Down another...?

Quote:
Can you land your dinghy on a beach and still have it there when you get back? Do you need to lock it to a tree? Or is even that insufficient? Will people steal an engine, or break onto your boat when you're sleeping? It's these kinds of general security concerns that i'm interested in rather than isolated incidents. Cheers!
There is no beach at Nose Be. Other islands, probably. The answer to your other worries is most likely if you don't hire one of the thugs who're in your face at the get go to watch your stuff for a fee.
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Old 25-08-2015, 08:35   #14
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Re: Cruising in Madagascar

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Prime target if you dont speak French? No so at all. This is not ours or other cruisers that are passing here this year. You will find broken English spoken and a translator available.
Strong immune system? Have you ever travelled to a third world country? You take precautions that are well documented. Madagascar is no different.
Quote:
I think you best stay home.
I'm not going to share my credentials with you, 'cause on CF folks sometimes feel they need to bring you down a notch jus cause you said so. But, I think your out of your league here. The "be nice" rule prevents me from saying more, which I did but...

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Madagascar is an amazing culture and country for those adventurous enough seek its beauty. And it IS SAFE. Take normal precautions.



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Old 25-08-2015, 12:53   #15
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Re: Cruising in Madagascar

These guys.
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