Madagascar, Tana – all is quiet.

5 02 2009

We are sure that you have heard the bad news about the riots in Madagascar lately, and a few countries have already advised people to avoid travelling to Madagascar. However, this is the current report on the Madagascar riots, and we are pleased to report that there has been no violence there recently and everything is calm – the Malagsy people and the military are working hard at maintaining the peace.

Currently the situation in Antananarivo is calm, there have been no reported incidents since last Thursday. Since the 2 days of rioting there has been a curfew in place which has been respected by all inhabitants in Tana.  There have been a few political demonstrations which have attracted many in support – all of them have been peaceful.

All of the major businesses and supermarkets etc are now open and trading/functioning as usual. All government ministries and public service, including the French Embassy, have re-opened. The situation in all the provinces of Madagascar is now calm and the military has remained neutral throughout the past 7 days… they have also stated that they will do their utmost to preserve the peace and ensure the safety of all Malagasy and foreign citizens.

There is an overwhelming feeling amongst the Malagsy people that the violence of the riots was detrimental to the country and the economy of Madagascar.

How it affects people travelling to Madagascar:

Jenman Safaris would like to express our concern at the riots in Madagascar, but we are also cautiously pleased to report that nothing has occurred since last Wednesday. If you are unsure about traveling to Madagascar on your Jenman Madagascar holiday then contact us. Clients who are due to travel in March/April/May or later in the year – we suggest they keep an eye on the situation to see if it has calmed down and decide in the coming weeks if they would still like to travel.

When the riots occurred there were no tourists harmed or any put in danger. Riots WERE only occurring in the Tana centre. The airport hotels are quiet, as well as all tourist highlights, in the inner country and on the surrounding islands like Nosy Be and Isle St. Marie.

What happened in Madagascar to cause the riots?

The Malagasy population had a lot of hope when the current president came into power 7 years ago. He improved the roads, built schools and things started to look positive for the country. But he also became extremely rich as the years went on. His companies flourished and the people say he began to block out ‘fair competition’, he also started to acquire land in ways that some refer to as ‘forceful behaviour’.
Recently, the government shut down the TV station owned by the Mayor of Tana – after they had broadcasted a full interview with the former president (Ratsiraka) of Madagascar who is living in Exile in Paris. This interview contained the former president’s diplomatic opinion about the current situation in the country. The Malagasy people considered the TV station closure as a strike from the president against the Mayor of Tana (who belongs to a different political party). The Mayor then called the people to a demonstration in Tana on Saturday, January 17th. A week later another gathering was initiated by the Mayor asking for the president and government to step down. At this moment the president and the government didn’t seem to be open to any negotiations. On Monday, 26th January, vandals started to loot shops (especially ones owned by the president).

At this very moment the situation is quiet in Tana and talks have been taken up between the mayor and the president to restore the order but no official statement has been made yet.

If you have any questions, concerns or comments please do not hesitate to contact us on
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10 responses to “Madagascar, Tana – all is quiet.”

6 02 2009
Lisa (08:00:15) :

It’s good to know that everything is quiet. Other reports that i have read are very postive about the peace been restored to this area. Lets hope an agreement is found soon!!!

6 02 2009
Hamburger "Patti" (11:24:16) :

As South Africans I am sure most of us can relate to the situation in Madagascar as we have been confronted with similar challenges in the past and can see the situation in it’s right context. In the interest of the Malagash people hopefully an agreement will be found soon as every day wasted could mean potential tourists lost as well.

6 02 2009
Paul (15:20:20) :

Nice article on what is happening in Madagascar at present. This looks like it is a political situation that will not effect tourism or tourist while they travel around the country. I was over in Mada in October last year and didn’t feel threatend in any of the areas I traveled around. Hopefully for the locals sake it will stay calm from now on.

7 02 2009
John H (01:25:33) :

My son is an American student currently studying in Madagascar. He’s been in country for almost four weeks, and is at this moment in the city of Antananarivo. His mother and I have been following the proceedings in Madagascar very closely, and have been in contact with the U.S. Embassy regarding his health and welfare. So far, he is in good hands and has not felt personally threatened by the riots and looting. However, he and the rest of the American students in the program there have been careful to avoid areas of unrest until things quiet down. So far he loves the country and its people, and he would be very disappointed if the violence caused he and the other students to be evacuated. We hope that will not happen.

8 02 2009
John H (18:48:00) :

The violence has increased since yesterdays demonstrations in Tana. Rajoelina vows to press on until the “final victory.” A reported 30 were killed and 300 injured when police fired into the crowds at Ravalomanana’s home. It could get a lot worse before it gets better. My son and the other students are on the move now to get out of Tana, in order to hunker down and wait out the unrest. They are not fearful, but they are keeping low profiles as well they should.

9 02 2009
Josh (14:06:11) :

Seems that the situation can go either way, i really hope that peace or some sort of agreement is found. And John – i hope that your son and his mates leave tana safely and find a relaxing beach to ‘chill’ on :)

11 02 2009
Katja_Jenman Safaris (13:04:45) :

Dear John H,
thanks a lot for your comment and also we from Jenman Safaris hope that your son is safe. Hopefully the situation will calm down and he can enjoy Madagascar the way we know it.
All the best

11 02 2009
John H (17:59:02) :

Thanks Josh and Katja for your well wishes regarding my son. From everything he’s written and said to me, the people of Madagascar are some of the most engaging and outgoing people he’s met anywhere in the world. For two weeks he traveled alone throughout the southern parts of the country, and never felt threatened by anyone. In fact, many people have approached him in earnest, just to meet him and help him along his on his personal journey. From what he says about the people, it seems so out of character that many would resort to violence.

He is in the safe hands of his coordinators from the University of Antananarivo, and we’re confident he and the other students will be able to stay under the radar during the nation’s unrest. From the photos he’s sent home, it’s easy to see that Madagascar is beyond beautiful, and the people are warm and friendly. I hope to go there myself before my son’s program ends in May.

20 02 2009
Nikolas Tournier (13:48:18) :

There are dead people over there. These people demonstrate because they are hungry. How can you talk about tourism? Are you completelly out of your minds?

20 02 2009
Shaun_D (15:00:17) :

I don’t necessarily agree with the last comment from Nikolas. The problems in Madagascar are political and tourism is the biggest income generator and thus helps to uplift the local community. Tourism is probably one of the only income generators that actually brings money to the local community outside of the big cities or the mining towns.