Tips for being a responsible traveller in Madagascar:
· Please do not hand out sweets, pens, money, etc. This not only encourages begging and aggression from children, but also promotes expectancy well into later life. If you want to positively give during your holiday, ask us to incorporate a visit to a school during your trip, or to arrange your donations to go to a school or hospital via your hotel.
· Purchase handicrafts from the artisans in their respective villages if you can, rather than from a large craft shop in town.
· In markets, spread your buying around various stalls, so that your money benefits many families rather than one.
· Remove all excess packaging before you arrive. Recycling and responsible waste disposal is difficult in remote places.
· Try to buy local produce rather than imported goods.
· Do not buy products made from endangered species, hard woods or ancient artefacts.
· Use fresh water sparingly – it is very precious.
· Do not pick flora, remove seashells, or disturb wildlife.
· Learn basic phrases from the local language, such as “please”, “thank you”, and “can you help me?” Travelling with respect earns you respect. See our basic English – Malagash Dictionary here
· Bargain fairly and with respect for the seller. Be aware of the economic realities of where you are. Haggling is the norm in many cultures, but don’t feel upset that, as a visitor who potentially earns many more times a local’s salary, you are expected to pay slightly more than the local price.