Madagascar – the miracle of Africa


Madagascar – a miracle island in the Indian Ocean, which lies not far from the shores of West Africa. We want to warn you right away that you will not find luxury hotels on the island, but there are plenty of adventures and experiences. A relatively small island is very diverse in terms of landscapes. Beaches and jungle, rivers, lakes, mountains, plains and volcanoes – there is almost everything. The island is isolated from the mainland and because of this its nature has developed differently, other forms of flora and fauna were able to survive here. In addition, although the climate on the island and a mild, the conditions are pretty tough, because before here all the time “puffed” volcanoes, and now there are periodic eruptions, and the ocean terrorizes the coast of storms and strong cyclones do not allow anything wildlife to relax. Tourists most often go to the national parks and reserves of Madagascar. Montagne d’Ambre is the most visited park on the island. The area of the park is 18,000 hectares, it often turns out that the animals and plants inhabiting the park are the privilege of only this place and nowhere else on the planet. There are 70 species of birds alone in the park. Walking through Montagne d’Ambre is a real pleasure, especially during the dry season. The caretakers have taken care of the walkers, and have made 20 km of paths stretching through the most interesting and exciting places of the reserve. You can reach the park by cab, from the town of Antsiranana. De Ranomafana is a must for photographers or lovers of beautiful horizons. It is considered by the locals to be the most beautiful. There are a lot of lemurs, butterflies and other animals in this park. There are trails too, so don’t worry about getting lost in the greenery of the local forest! The nearest town is Fianarantsoa, 65 km from the park. Cingy de Bemaraha is very different from the others because its aim is to protect not only a few species of lemurs but also to preserve the amazing rock formations called “stone forests”, which are karst formations that have appeared under the influence of water and acid precipitation. It is not easy to walk here, rocky needles stick up to 40 meters in height and besides lemurs and birds here, hardly anyone can walk peacefully, because the pillars of the “stone forest” are very close to each other. The total area of the reserve, not little, not much, but 150,000 hectares. There are many such parks on the island, there are almost everywhere some reserves, which is not surprising, given that the nature is absolutely unique. A total of 615 species have been registered in Madagascar, during the period from 1999 to 2010, unknown before this science! For example, the island is home to the tiniest primate on the planet – a mouse lemur, whose length is only 27 cm, but the animal was discovered not long ago, in 2000. Another interesting animal – the glamorous chameleon, which was first recorded in 2009. This miracle of nature has a very unusual coloring, and the fact that before this reptile was not known very surprised zoologists, because the region is always being researched! And the chameleon Calumma tarzan was discovered a year later, and rightfully deserves the title of “king of chameleons”. It was named after Tarzan, the remarkable hero of the Burroughs novel. Scientists hope that this name will help draw attention to this creature and help save the endangered species. Madagascar is still full of mysteries that nature poses to scientists. The island is rich not only in wildlife and plants, but also in fossils, there are many mines working here to mine the jewels hidden in the bowels of the earth.

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As for accommodation, most tourists settle in a kind of bungalows – tiny cottages, designed for one family, no more. It can be a hotel of this peculiar type, as well as cottages for independent rent. In general, hotels here are not even classified by stars, and the only five-star hotel is located in the capital of the island state – Antananarivo. Living conditions in hotels Madagascar – it is a real extreme, because the owners, not infrequently saving on electricity, simply turn it off in the rooms after midnight, and instead of the usual shower there is a small fence and buckets of hot and cold water. It’s like this. And you can cook for yourself or order in the hotel. In general, if you like not only a spicy experience, but spicy food – be sure to try the traditional cuisine of the island. It is very hot, usually Europeans can not even eat such spicy dishes. But it is not polite to leave the country without trying the local dishes. As for the beaches – here, too, Madagascar would not be a mistake. The beaches of the island included in the 20 best beaches in the world, which are good for all kinds of water activities, from diving to lying on the sand. First place by all measures is taken by the bay of St. Augustine and Tuleare, the beaches are just heavenly. The underwater world here is colorful and exciting, the famous coral reefs of Madagascar is a real boon for divers. What should know about the customs at the border of Madagascar? Importation of currency, any – is not limited, but the export of local – is strictly prohibited. You can not take out gold or precious stones produced on the island, but 500 cigarettes, 50 cigars and 1 liter of alcohol you can easily be forgiven. Strictly prohibited and the import of animals, because the island has a strict quarantine.

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Madagascar – the miracle of Africa

Madagascar – the miracle of Africa

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Madagascar: an island of living treasures

There once was a continent Gondwana. A piece of it split off, a mini-continent where lemurs and descendants of glorious pirates live. There stapler pierce the eyes of American presidents on the banknotes, once a year they pull the bones of their deceased relatives out of the crypts and wash them. Life there flows poco-poco (taking your time). Once upon a time, poco-poco built socialism. Now, periodically there are upheavals during which buildings are burned, making the once beautiful cities built by Europeans look like ruined aristocrats: proud, but with holey boots. This wonder island is called Madagascar .

What do we know about the island of Madagascar:

That it is owned by one state, which also occupies several neighboring islands (Nusi-Be, Nusi-Miciu, Nusi-Wuruna, Nusi-Wau, Nusi-Mangabe, Nusi-Lawa).

That it is separated from the Black Continent by 400 km of the Strait of Mozambique.

That lemurs live there.

That we hardly know about the island of Madagascar:

That the local sacred animal is a small humpbacked zebu cow (emphasis on the last syllable).

That the sacred animal can be eaten: one portion with a side dish can cost from 20 thousand francs.

That the main predators on the island are man and blood-sucking insects.

Of course, the local “kings of nature” – lemurs. According to local belief, the souls of dead people or hermits, who voluntarily went to the jungle, move into these animals. As the legend goes, there used to be only lemurs on the island. Then some of them found out that it was possible to work the land, and they liked it. The others did not like the work and preferred the free life in the trees. In addition, Madagascar has ferret cats, several species of endemic butterflies and 32 species of unique mammals. Near the coast inhabited by sharks, so you can swim in the ocean only in lagoons, and where the access to the shore of predators block the coral reef.

The eastern part of the country is the rainiest. The island used to be “all green,” but now most of the forests are cut down. Little green is left only in the east, where the unique rain forest grows. It cuts through the Pangalan Canal, which stretches from Tuamasina to Manakara on 700 km. The channel, in contrast to the Dead Lake (near the capital), is very densely populated with millions of birds and fish, and the surrounding forests are full of rare animals. The southern part of the country, by contrast, is very arid. The main volcanoes in the north is the volcanic array Tsaratanana.

In the XVIII century. in the center of the island on the high plateau formed the kingdom of Andrianampuinimerina. Now here is the capital with a shorter name – Antananarivo (“City of a Thousand Warriors”), or simply Tana. The city stretches between two hills, houses clinging to the slopes and present a real maze of streets and alleys, over which the overhang of the arches, terraces and balconies. The main local cultural attraction is the palace ensemble of Ruwa Ambuhimanga. It consists of four palaces: Manzakamiamadana (XVII century), Mahitsilafandzaka, Tranavaluna, Manampisoa (1866) and the tomb of the Madagascar monarchs. All other “attractions” are administrative buildings. On the island of lemurs is best to admire the nature. For this, tourists are at the service of tourists Tsimbazaza Park with a botanical garden, Besareti Garden in the quarter Andravuhanga, Center for fur farming Mazurevu Farm, Museum of Archaeology and Paleontology and the best farm for breeding crocodiles – Krok Farm.

Around the capital are rice fields, hills, volcanic lakes Andraikiba, Tritriva and Tatamarina, waterfalls Antafufu. Here are the ruins of King Ralambu’s castle (16th century) on Ambuhidrabibi Hill and the fortress and palace of King Andrianampunemerina (18th century) on Ambuhimanga Hill. You can enjoy the beauty along with treatment at the thermal resort of Antsirabe. Not far from the resort is a Madagascar miracle – Dead Lake, a very small area (50×100 m) and very deep (400 meters). The “black” and perfectly clear water does not accept any living creature: no one lives in the lake, and no human has been known to swim across it.

Tuamasina is the second largest city and the largest port in Madagascar. All the ships traveling on the Indian Ocean and around Africa reach here, so the city is primarily famous for its bazaars: a huge central market (“bazaar-be”) and a large market Koli. If the markets do not appeal to you, the colonial-style attractions abound: the town hall on Independence Avenue, Column Square, the miraculous tomb of Belaseti, the Palace of Children, the University Museum and the old colonial quarters. Around Tuamasina there is a zoo, the sacred grotto of Andavakandrehi, and in Farafati there are the ruins of the largest fort in the region. There is also a balneological resort here – Fulpointe (Mahaveluna). Not far from the port capital are two islands “nousi”, Ile aux Prunes and several other islands, all with excellent beaches.

Fianarantsoa is the “gateway of the south,” a town where grapes and tea are cultivated and goodness is taught. Grapes in Madagascar are not very appreciated The natives drink dew, which the women collect on the Үtras, and from the hop drinks prefer sugarcane babetsu (“baby” moonshine, strength of only 4-5%) with the addition of decoction of tree bark. In Taulanara, located in the southeast, go swimming and sunbathing: there are wonderful beaches in Lucaru, Libanuna, St. Luce (Manafiafi), in Tali Bay and the lagoon Evatraha. Toliara is the southwestern port gate of the island and is home to the famous Bay of St. Augustine, made famous in his novels by Daniel Defoe. North of the capital is the oldest town, Mahadzanga. Here there is a sacred hill Duani with a reliquary of the kings of Bouyne, a huge 500-year-old baobab, the “graveyard of ships” in the old port and many other attractions, which usually lead interesting and not very interesting excursions. Most of the cities are surrounded by nature reserves, which live lemurs and other animals which are found nowhere else on earth.

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