Madagascar

Madagascar

Madagascar

The Republic of Madagascar (Repoblikan’i Madagasikara or République de Madagascar) is an island nation with a unique natural world, friendly aborigines and a rich history. The country attracts exoticists from all over the world, because only here there are so many endemics on the planet. Travelling around the island will be not just interesting and informative, but also full of various adventures.

The geographical position of the country

The map shows that Madagascar is located in the Indian Ocean and belongs to Africa. The state is separated from the southeastern coast of the mainland by the Strait of Mozambique. The island is the 4th largest in the world.

The state has an area of 587040 sq. km, a width of 600 km and a length of 1600 km. The highest point is the peak of Marumukutru, an extinct volcano 2876 m above sea level. It is located in the north of the island and belongs to the Tsaratanana mountain range.

On the map Topography

Climatic features

The eastern part of Madagascar is represented by low-lying plains, the central part by mountainous uplands and the western region by hills. This is the main reason why the climate here is quite varied. It is formed by a southerly trade wind and an Indian anticyclone.

In Madagascar, the seasons are clearly defined – wet and dry. Madagascar has three climatic zones: tropical, temperate and desert. The average annual rainfall is about 3000 mm and temperatures are +20°C.

Because of the intensive deforestation and swamping of water bodies the climate in the country is constantly changing. Rare animals are becoming extinct and plants are disappearing.

Plains

Form of Government

The island of Madagascar is governed by the National Assembly, a bicameral parliament of 127 deputies. Most of them (about 100 seats) are chosen by the people, and one-third are appointed by the president.

    On which these elements are present:

The colors on the Madagascar flag have a history:

  • Red and white were used on the kingdom’s banners until the conquest of Madagascar by France in the late 19th century;
  • Green is considered the color of the Hov tribe – they were active participants in the national liberation movement of the Malagasy people.

The country has natural symbols: a baobab and a lemur.

Cities on the island

Administratively the state is divided into 22 regions and 6 autonomous faritania (provinces). Among the largest cities of the island can be noted such settlements:

Only one-third of the population lives in cities. The rest of the population prefers the countryside.

Resort towns.

Tourists come to Madagascar to get acquainted with the life of aborigines, to relax on white sandy beaches, as well as to swim in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean and visit the national parks.

The most popular resort towns on the island are:

Today in Madagascar is actively developing tourism: built hotels, restaurants, equip the beaches and organize all kinds of excursions.

Population and religion

The number of inhabitants of the island is equal to 24.2 million people. This figure is constantly increasing, since Madagascar has a high birth rate. The average life expectancy for women is 65 years, and for men 63 years.

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Most of the natives are Malagasy, consisting of 18 ethnic groups: Betsilelu, Merina, Sakalawa, etc. There are also Indians, French, Comorians and other nationalities.

The official languages in Madagascar are Malagasy and French. The latter is spoken by more than 25% of the population.

Aborigines practice several religions, which are closely intertwined with each other. More than half of the inhabitants are Christians and belong to the Roman Catholic Church. Ancestral faith, which relies on the connection between the living and the dead, is also alive on the island. Approximately 7 percent of Malagasy residents are Muslim and Orthodox.

Description of attractions in Madagascar

The island has a huge number of must-see places for tourists and fascinating attractions. The most popular of these are:

  1. The capital, Antananarivo – various museums, sculptures and ancient buildings of the country, such as the royal stone palace Ruwa, are concentrated here.
  2. The Tsiribihina River is a picturesque place with waterfalls that is ideal for kayaking.
  3. Humpback whale watching – from June to September they come to the eastern part of the island to mate.
  4. Baobab Alley is the most recognizable road on the planet, and the age of the trees growing here is over 8 centuries old.
  5. The uninhabited island of Sainte-Marie – in the Middle Ages, pirates buried their treasure here. Today it’s a perfect place for a beach vacation.
  6. The sacred hill of Ambohimanga is a historic complex where the royal family lived. Today, the artifacts of the monarchs are stored here.
  7. Ankaratra Volcano is 2,644 m high.
  8. Dead Lake near Antsirabe is a body of water in which there is no life, although the conditions for the existence of organisms here are ideal.

The island has a unique and extremely rich nature, so it is worth highlighting the national parks of Madagascar:

  1. Montagne D’Ambre – the most visited reserve, which is famous for its waterfalls, reservoirs and attractive landscapes.
  2. Isalo is a sacred place for the Bara tribe. The park is famous for its various landscapes: canyons, fields and cliffs.
  3. Cingy du Bemaraha , or Stone Forest, has unusual karst-like sharp limestone layers, among which there are trails.
  4. Ranomafana – the reserve is covered by a dense forest with numerous streams and hills. The park is home to rare varieties of the bamboo golden lemur.
  5. Masuala – 400 km area is covered by rain forest, including 3 marine parks. It is home to the largest nocturnal primate, the lemur Da Da.
  6. Andasibe-Mantadia – the park is located in the center of Madagascar, consists of 2 parts and is famous for the largest lemur of the island – Indri.
  7. Kirindi is a forest, ideal for exploring the nocturnal life of animals and birds.

Oddly enough, but Madagascar has no zoos, but the photos here are original and very bright. You can meet all the mammals in the reserves or national parks.

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Hotels

Madagascar is a poor country, so often in hotels there are two prices: one – for locals, and the second – for foreigners. There are few luxury hotels, and they are all located in the resorts or in Antananarivo.

These establishments have fitness centers, swimming pools, luxury restaurants with international cuisine, babysitting, concierge and laundry services. The most popular five-star hotels are Carlton Madagascar, Eden Lodge, Laguna Blu – Resort Madagascar, etc.

Hotels

Budget hotels have private parking, internet, services for people with disabilities, and accommodation with pets is allowed. Equipped rooms have a bathroom, mini bar and TV. The most popular among tourists are such establishments as Constance Tsarabanjina, The Citizen, Home Madagascar The Residence.

Where to stay

Cuisine and restaurants

Traditions of Madagascar have developed on the basis of two cultures: African and Asian. Especially it is noticeable in the national cuisine. The natives are very fond of rice and eat it almost every day. Meat, vegetables, spices, sauces, fish or seafood (crayfish, urchins, crabs) are often added to this product. Many recipes include garlic, green hot peppers, and other spicy ingredients.

The most common dishes in Madagascar are:

  • roo salad – rice with local herbs;
  • anana salad – rice with shrimp and vegetables (corn, beans, tomatoes);
  • filet zebu – meat of antelope cooked on coals with spices.

Drinks include coconut wine, lychel or local rum such as Dzama, Tuaka Gras or Cazeneuve. Prepared food is better to buy in specialized stores, and buying food on the street can be dangerous to your health.

The best restaurants in the country are considered La Varangue (in Antananarivo), Le Relais de la Reine (in Fianarantsoa) and La Table d’Alexandre (in Nosy Be).

Restaurant

Shopping on the island

Madagascar stores are open weekdays from 08:00 to 17:30, Saturday until 13:00, and Sunday is usually a day off. Daytime siesta lasts from 12:00 to 15:00 or from 13:00 to 16:00. To haggle in the stores is necessary, though for foreigners the prices are not overpriced.

The unit of currency is the Malagasy ariari (MGA). It is equal to 5 iraimbilanyams. Banknotes in denominations of 10,000, 5,000, 1,000, 500, 200 and 100 MGA are used in the country.

Exchange offices are located only in major cities and are open from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm. Money can also be exchanged at banks, hotels or airports and it is best not to do so in the street.

Shopping

Security on the Island

Crime in Madagascar is quite calm, but caution is still necessary. Valuables and documents are best kept in a safe, attractions should be visited in a group or with a guide.

On the island, it is forbidden to drink raw water, even for bathing and brushing teeth is better to boil it. In the sea, beware of sharks and coral reefs, and the reservoirs are inhabited by dangerous reptiles. Before you go to Madagascar, it is worth taking a course of anti-malarial pills, and in the country avoid mosquito bites.

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Transportation System

The cheapest and most convenient way to travel around the island is by bus. They run strictly on a schedule, which is posted on special stands. Within the city is most comfortable to travel by car or cab. The latter come in 2 types: licensed with a meter or unofficial with fixed prices. The cost and distance must be negotiated in advance.

Buses

In Madagascar, “taxi-be” and “taxi-brusi” are also popular. They are a cross between a minibus and a car, and stop at bus stops. There are rickshaws in all towns.

Cab

Car rental on the island is not widespread and is available only at the airport. You can book a car in advance, before you arrive in the country. You will need a credit card and an international driver’s license.

Customs control

To citizens of Ukraine, Russia and Belarus to get to Madagascar, they need a visa, which can be obtained at the embassy or directly at the airport of the island. Entering and leaving the country, you should follow certain rules.

Visa

  • Large sums of money, jewelry, but they must be declared;
  • tobacco – 500 grams;
  • cigars – 25 pieces;
  • cigarettes – 500 cigarettes;
  • alcohol – 1 l.
  • local currency;
  • gold nuggets;
  • plants;
  • animals.

Certificates will be required for some items, such as precious stones, gold, animal skins and horns, plant seeds, etc.

If you need to call for emergency service, call:

  • 225-66 for the fire department;
  • 229-72 – police;
  • 211-70 – ambulance.

The telephone code of the country is 261.

How to get to the island?

There are no direct flights from Europe to Madagascar, so you have to fly here with connections in Paris, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Mauritius or another country. Flight time is up to 15 hours excluding transit.

The country’s main airport is Antananarivo, which receives international flights. There are domestic flights to the adjacent islands of the state.

28 facts proving that Madagascar is a world like no other

The Wonder Island: Getting to know one of the most interesting places in the world

What do most people know about Madagascar? That it is an island . Something else to tell about it, we think not many can. And so today we at 1Gai.ru will conduct a small informative tour of Madagascar, during which you can learn the most interesting facts about this island state.

1. Location of Madagascar

Madagascar is located in the Indian Ocean, 250 miles (400 km) from the east coast of Africa.

2. Madagascar is often referred to as the eighth continent

Madagascar separated from India about 165 million years ago, before separating from the supercontinent Gondwana. Because of this separation, it has a distinctive fauna and flora.

3. 90% of Madagascar’s wildlife is endemic and found nowhere else

If you want to see lemurs, the country’s most famous animals, in the wild, the only place you can see them is Madagascar. Madagascar is also home to animal species you probably haven’t heard of before.

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4. The only animals we see in the movie Madagascar that actually live in Madagascar are lemurs and pit

Zebras, lions, or penguins do not live in Madagascar, even though they are included in the movie.

5. There are no giraffes in Madagascar as in the movie, but there are giraffe lice

Yes, there are giraffes in the movie, but there are actually fascinating 2.5 cm long insects called giraffe lice in the rainforests.

6. The lemur in the movie “Madagascar” was a king, that is, a man, but this is incorrect

In Madagascar, lemurs are led by females, so the movie should have made a queen.

7. Giant lemurs used to live on Madagascar

560 years ago, giant lemurs, as big as gorillas, roamed the island. Unfortunately, they became extinct, probably because of the presence of humans. Six of the 25 primates threatened with extinction on Earth are on Madagascar.

8. Madagascar is the 4th largest island in the world

The island has an area of 581,540 square kilometers and is larger than France.

9. Madagascar’s culture is as diverse as its wildlife

There are 18 known Madagascan ethnic groups/tribes with different traditions and beliefs, so there are different cultures in different places in the country.

10. Madagascar used to be a French colony

The island was under French rule from 1897 to 1958. Thus, French is still one of the official languages and is spoken by the educated population. The other official language is the local language, Malagasy.

11. The French are very fond of visiting Madagascar

The French make up 60% of those who travel to Madagascar. After the French, the most frequent visitors are Germans, Americans, and the British, respectively.

12. Before Madagascar became a French colony, it had a queen

Queen Ranavalona III was the last ruler of the kingdom of Madagascar. She ruled until 1897 before being overthrown by French colonial forces. While she fought bravely against the French, she was also known for her cruelty toward Christians, neighboring kingdoms, and their political opponents.

13. Some plants found in Madagascar are used to treat cancer

Madagascar has more than 12,000 plant species, and the people of Madagascar, who do not have access to medical care, use these plants for treatment. In addition to plants, creatures such as the Madagascar sea snail are collected to produce drugs used to treat Hodgkin’s disease, leukemia, and other cancers.

14. There are taboos in Madagascar called fadi

The traveler in Madagascar needs to know the most common rules so as not to offend the locals. For example, wearing red to a funeral and wearing an empty basket on your head is fadi.

15. Madagascar has 3 places on the World Heritage List

They are the Cingy de Bemaraha Nature Reserve, the Royal Hill of Ambohimanga, and the Atsinanana Rainforest.

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16. Wildlife in Madagascar is “friendly.”

Unlike Africa, which is full of hungry predators and unpredictable wildlife, Madagascar is safe to roam. The Yamka, the largest mammalian predator living in Madagascar, weighs no more than 9 kilograms. There are no deadly snakes or spiders here. Even scorpions in Madagascar are not deadly. Crocodiles inhabit the coasts, but are extremely rare.

17. Madagascans worship their ancestors in a rather unique way

They take their buried relatives out of the grave, wrap them in clean burial clothes, and dance around the grave with them. Through this ceremony they stay in touch and pay homage to their departed relatives and ancestors. They find it rather rude for travelers to comment on this.

18. Traveling takes a lot of time

While in Madagascar, be prepared to spend a lot of time driving. Even seemingly short distances can take longer than expected due to poor road conditions. It is also not advisable to travel after dark for safety reasons.

19. Madagascar is home to more than two-thirds of the world’s vanilla plantations

You can buy vanilla as a souvenir for yourself and your loved ones to support the local economy.

20. The geography of the island is rather unusual

Madagascar is sometimes called the “Big Red Island” because of its iron- and aluminum-rich soils, which produce bright red colors.

21. At one time it was a pirate’s paradise

Madagascar has many isolated coves that once made the island a haven for pirates.

22. Madagascarans did not originally migrate from Africa

Madagascarans are descended from people of Asian and African descent, and various foreign cultures are prevalent on the island. The main foreign countries represented in Madagascar are France, India, Pakistan, China, and the nearby Comoros. Malagasy people generally do not consider themselves Africans.

23. More than half of the world’s chameleons can be found in Madagascar

More than half of the world’s 150 chameleon species are found in Madagascar. Fifty-nine of them are native to Madagascar. Many are endangered due to the pet trade.

24. Madagascar has 7 ecoregions.

25. Madagascar’s flag is red, white, and green.

Some historians argue that red symbolizes sovereignty, green symbolizes hope, and white symbolizes purity.

26. The population of Madagascar is constantly growing

Madagascar currently has a population of over 26.5 million people. About 1.5 million people live in the capital Antananarivo (abbreviated to Tana). 40% of the population is under the age of 15.

27. Madagascar is one of 17 countries considered “megadiverse”

Conservation International has identified only 17 countries as “megadiverse.” One of them is Madagascar.

28. Madagascar is also one of the 12 poorest countries in the world

The government of Madagascar proposes tourism as an economic development strategy. More than 70% of the country’s population lives in poverty, and tourism is seen as a means to reduce poverty and stimulate economic growth.

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