Packing List for Madagascar

The following is a list of items that I used during my three-week trip to Madagascar in April 2019. These are obviously very specific to my needs (for example, women or children may require different items). Nonetheless, this list may be useful when you start thinking about the things you want to take to Madagascar yourself.

Despite having some experience with this country, I again brought along too many things that I didn’t need. Because you may fall into the same trap, I’m also highlighting the things that were not needed as well as why. It’s usually better to travel light.

Personally, I prefer bags or backpacks to hard shell suitcases. They often need to be put onto buses or into trunks with other bags and that usually works better when they are a bit more flexible. That said, I’ve seen people travel with hard shell suitcases who I guess didn’t have major problems.


Most of the good hotels offer laundry services. You give them your clothes in the morning and usually get them back in the evening or the next day (depending on how fast they dry in the humid air). So you won’t need to bring fresh clothes for every day of your trip. I had fresh clothes that would last for 10 days and I could have even brought less.


Electronic Devices

Sockets in Madagascar are Type C / E at 220 V / 50 Hz. I would suggest that you don’t take too many valuable electronic devices as they like to get stolen. If you are seen using a smartphone, you are making yourself a target. There are even reports of car windows getting broken so they can snatch the phone from you. Hotel rooms also don’t provide good ways to lock your stuff safely. (We found a safe in our room once but it was not attached to anything so it could’ve easily been taken away.) I would say, only take what you can carry with you all the time. I brought an iPhone and a DSLR camera (in a bag). No laptop (although I did see tourists with laptops).

Don’t forget the chargers for all of your devices.

Malaria Protection

There is currently no effective vaccine against malaria (there is one since 2019 but it’s only about 30-40% effective and at this point, it’s not readily available) so this is still a major problem for residents and travelers. What you do in terms of medication is a matter of how risk averse you are and how much money you want to spend. On their last few trips to Madagascar, my parents have not taken malaria medication regularly but only kept Doxycyclin ready in case they get sick. That’s the cheapest option and if you only spend time in Tana, I would say this should be enough. (There is not a lot of malaria in Tana.) I took Atovaquon/Proguanil (e.g. Malerone) on a daily basis, to be safe. It’s a lot more expensive but it gives me some peace of mind.

But whatever you do, the medication will never be enough. The most important rule is: Don’t get bitten my mosquitos! If you can avoid mosquito bites, you will be mostly safe. If you do get bitten, don’t freak out. It happens from time to time. Simply keep it to as much of a minimum as you can.

Most hotels will provide mosquito nets now. I didn’t bring my own but I’ve met tourists who have. The hotels’ mosquito nets often have holes or are difficult to put together seamlessly. You may want to bring some tape to fix those holes.

In 2019, judging from news and people’s reports, Madagascar was less safe than when I was there in 2007 and 2000. It is always advisable to not attract too much attention. Don’t display wealth. As mentioned above, a smartphone is a very coveted item. Any electronics are. Money is — well, duh. It’s best if you look like you’re not carrying anything valuable on you. Watch the people around you, espcially when you get distracted by someone. You don’t need to be overly paranoid, just a bit cautious. Most people will be quite peaceful and nice.

Money and Traveling

Other Items