Madagascar

Category: Resorts » International » Africa | Author: biker | Views: 8942 | 26-07-2012, 02:30
Madagascar

Official name: "The republic of Madagascar" (ancient name "Malagasy Republic");

Сapital of Madagascar: Antananarivo;

Geographical position  the island of Madagascar (south-east Africa, the western Indian Ocean);

Area of Madagascar: 587,040 square km.;

Climate of Madagascar: tropical and equatorial-monsoon;

Population of Madagascar: 20 Million people;

The form of government: provisional government;

Official Language  : малагасийский и французский;

Religion in Madagascar: the traditional beliefs and Christianity;

Currency : Ариари (code "MGA");

Internet domain: .mg;

Telephone code: +261;

Local time:  +3.

 

 

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Madagascar

Flag of Madagascar

Madagascar

Map of Madagascar

Madagascar

Coat of arms of Madagascar

 

General information about Madagascar

Madagascar associated with evergreen forests, lots of lemurs, mountains, beautiful canyons with waterfalls and mountain lakes, emerald lagoons and romantic coves, white sandy beaches, unique culture of the local population, and fine cuisine. Madagascar is an ideal place for those travelers who want to experience an unforgettable adventure. So many landscapes are concentrated on the relatively small area of Madagascar, no wonder that the island is called "Little continent". 

 

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Geography

Madagascar is an island state located on the island of Madagascar and other small islands in the southeastern part of African continent in the western Indian Ocean. Madagascar is located 400 miles by sea from Mozambique. The island of Madagascar is the fourth largest island in the world and its terrain is very varied. In the central part there is the highland plateau "Andzhafi" with extinct volcanoes, mountains, hills, valleys and rivers. The eastern part mostly covered with dense tropical forest. In the west there is the flat terrain, and in the northwestern part - savanna, which turns into semi-desert in the south-west. Madagascar's highest point is the extinct volcano Marumukutru (2876 m), which is located in the northern part of the island. The island has three large lakes: Alaotra, Kinkony and Ihotry. The largest rivers are Manguki and Ikupa.

 

Madagascar

 

Photos of the island of Madagascar

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Madagascar Madagascar Madagascar

Climate of Madagascar

The island has three climatic zones: tropical (east coast and the northern part), moderate (central part) and dry (in the desert in the South ). The average annual temperature on the coast is 24 - 26 C, there are hurricanes. During the rainy season (December - February) there are frequent floods in the south-west, in winter (May - December) the rivers dry up. The hottest areas on the island is the northwest coast and the plateau of Bemaraha, where the average temperature is - 34 C, the coldest regions - mountains, where can be frosts and  the temperature can reach -16 C. The best time for traveling to Madagascar is the period from April to October.

 

Flora and fauna of Madagascar

Flora and fauna of Madagascar is one of the most unique in the world. From the 200,000 species of plants and animals, 150 000 are unique. This is due to the long isolation of the island from the mainland and the absence of dangerous predators that saved from the disappearance some small mammals.
Hallmark of the island are the lemurs (50 species), chameleons, large butterflies, orchids and thousands of baobabs (7 species). In tropical forests grow Raven (tree of travelers), iron and black tree, breadfruit, jacaranda, ylang-ylang, rubber and many ferns, in savannas - baobabs and palm trees. Agriculture is represented by plantations of rice, coffee, cocoa, vanilla and cloves. The island has no large mammal predators and no poisonous snakes (but there are boas, which can be dangerous). From fauna you can meet here a wide variety of lemurs, the small insectivorous animals, mongooses, dugongs, zebu, tortoises, mini hippos and wild cat. The Madagascar spider champion "Caerostris darwini" should be also noted - it is capable to make the largest web in the World. The largest spider web was spotted in the national park, Andasibe-Mantadia. Its size (length) is 25 meters. And it is very strong.
Lemurs are a symbol of the island. They belong to a group of primates which once inhabited the entire Earth, but in the struggle for survival were defeated and survived only on the isolated island of Madagascar, where there are practically no large predators, except for crocodiles.
Madagascar is also characterized by an abundance of reptiles - crocodiles, lizards and chameleons. On the island there are many birds : ibis, parrots, pigeons, eagles, and so on. Madagascar is famous for its huge butterflies (3000 species), there are also spiders and scorpions. Aware of mosquito bites - they can cause malaria. Coastal waters are full of life. Here you can see octopus, stingrays, moray eels, blue and black marlin, sea eels, groupers, tuna, sharks, giant lobsters, and even if you're lucky, you can watch the whale shark or humpback whale.
The island of "Madagascar" is the perfect place for botanists and zoologists, scientists who study flora and fauna of the different continents of the Earth.


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Madagascar Madagascar Madagascar
Madagascar Madagascar Madagascar
Madagascar Madagascar Madagascar

Madagascar Madagascar Madagascar

 

History of Madagascar 

According to historical records, Madagascar was settled about two thousand years ago by Austronesian tribes, who got there by canoe. Even today one can observe the similarity between the Malagasy and Austronesian culture: special type of canoes, the cultivation of rice, as well as the observed relationship of language. African Bantu tribes came to the island a little later. They settled on the coast, while the central area occupied by Austronesian tribes. As a result of mixing the two tribes the Malagasy nation appeared. In the 14th - 15th century the state Imerina flourished on the island and in the 19th century Malagasy kingdom was established. In 1500 the first Europeans landed on the islanded. European missionaries converted many people to Christianity. In 1895, Madagascar became a French colony. The favorable geographical position contributed to the development of piracy and the slave trade. Pirates attacked the ships that transported gold and silver to India, or spices and silk to Europe. On the island there were constant wars between the tribes and the prisoners were sold to slave traders, and sometimes the leaders of the tribes sold their own people. In 1943, after the long reign of France the Autonomous of Malagasy Republic was proclaimed, and in 1960 - the independence of the Malagasy Republic, led by Social Democrats. In 1975 the country changed its name into Democratic Republic of Madagascar.

 

Culture of Madagascar  

Historically, the national culture of Madagascar has absorbed elements of Austronesian, African and European culture. The language has written form since the 15th century, it is rich on tradition of oral folk tales and legends. Hira extinguish is the national popular form of theater in Madagascar. It is a unique idea - amateur folk troupes gather in any place and compete in poetry, music and dance. Also Madagascar is famous for its art of wood carving. The best cutters are Zafimaniry forest people, who produce unique carved furniture. Locals love the holidays. In March they colorfully celebrate the New Year of Malagasy. Christian holidays (Easter and Christmas) are also widely celebrated, to the holidays of the traditional beliefs belong - Fisemana (colorful ritual of purification) and Famadihana (ritual ceremony honoring the dead). The traditional music festival is held in Nosy Be in May - June, in May there is the festival of rice, and in October - November - Jazz Festival "Madadzhaskar".
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Where to go in Madagascar
  1. Antananarivo is the capital of the country. Local residents also called it Tana. The city is situated in a valley between two hills. Numerous parks and cozy terraces, fabulous palaces and museums make the city unique and colorful. The most important architectural landmarks are the palaces and the tomb of Ruva Ambuhimanga monarchs. Also you should visit the park Tsimbazaza with large botanical garden (which is home to lemurs, numerous birds, turtles and crocodiles), the museum of archeology and paleontology, the center of farming "Mazurevo-farm" and "Croc-Farm" - a farm for breeding crocodiles. From the skin of crocodiles, which are grown on the farm, people make handbags, belts, and from meat - delicious dishes. In addition you can also see here ostriches and lemurs. The entrance ticket to the park is 10 U.S. dollars. If you want to buy original gifts, then go to the market Zuma.  The neighborhood of Antananarivo are also worth visiting: the ruins of the castle of King Ralambu, the fortress and the palace of King Andrianampuynemerina, thermal spa of Antsirabe, volcanic lakes Andraykiba and Tritriva, waterfalls, Pierina Park (where you can see the rarest lemur Indri and about 800 species of frogs, as well as admire the millions of orchids), picturesque lakes Itasi and Kavitaha . Not far from Antsirabe you can visit unique place - Dead Lake, where there is absolutely no life and according to local legends no one was able to swim across the relatively small lake.
  2. Toamasina - Madagascar's largest port. The colonial-style houses and traditional bazaars give special atmosphere to the city. Tourists like to visit the zoo Ivuluina with botanical gardens, royal castles and sacred grotto in Ambalatranu. The most popular tourist areas are Fulpuent spa resort, beach resorts Manda Beach, Mahambua and numerous islands with finest beaches. We recommend you to visit natural complex at Cape St. Mary, where, under the influence of winds trees formed a dense ground cover of the millions of stranded barrels. Visit Sambava and Antalaha - centers for the species. 
  3. The island of St. Mary's - once it was a refuge for pirates, nowadays it is a major tourist center. On the west coast there are a lot of hotels and restaurants with wonderful beaches. Locals say that there are hidden treasures on the island, but no one could find it. In the bay Forbans you can still see remains of sunken pirate ships.
  4. Fianarantsoa - old houses and winding streets give special atmosphere to the town. The town has Catholic cathedral and several churches. In the vicinity there are plantations of grapes and tea. 
  5. Taulanaru (Fort Dauphin) - Taulanaru Botanical Garden, the old fort, the picturesque lake Anuni, Reserves Berent and Manduna and the mysterious valley Ranupisi belong to the main attractions of the town. Beautiful beaches can be found in Lucar, Libanuna, Sainte-Luce, in the bay Tali and lagoon Evatraha. The lagoon Vinani-Bee is the centre of water sports, and Lafitsiana and Ambinanibe - Hunting and Fishing Center.
  6. Toliara - one of the most beautiful cities in Madagascar. It is interesting to visit the Museum of Culture and Museum of the culture of peoples Sakalava and Mahafaly, oceanographic station, the tomb of kings, the sacred grotto Sarudranu, reserves Bezaha-Mahafaly, Berent and Ambuasari. Relax on the beaches in Batra and Anakau.
  7. Mahajanga - one of the oldest cities in the country. The city has an interesting architecture and it is a tourist destination. The main attractions are - many colonial  buildings, Arabian mosques  in the Old City, sacred hill Messika, the ruins of the royal fortress Ruva,  a huge 500 hundred years old baobab  and "ship cemetery" in the old port. In the city there are several nature reserves with sacred lakes, beautiful waterfalls, gorges, caves and canyons. The beaches are located on the island of Radama, the Grand-Gavua Amburuvi in Buena cove.
  8. Murundava - attracts tourists with beaches, nature reserves and lush forests. Be sure to visit local markets and mosques. Baobab forest is an amazing sight which you should see with your own eyes. Kurindi Forest is one of the best places in Madagascar to observe nocturnal animals. In the forest you can find a lot of lemurs, rare species of mammals, thousands of orchids and baobabs. And you can rent carved from wood canoe and go fishing with locals. On the coast there are many beaches, coral reefs and blue lagoons rich in marine life. In the ocean there are numerous islands.
  9. The island of Nosy Be - a center of international tourism. It is the island of golden beaches, coconut palm trees, luxury hotels and nightclubs. The favorite tourist sites are oceanographic research center, diving center "Ocean Dream" and falls in Ambatuluake, reserve in Lukube, volcanic lake, the town Dzamandzari, where the high quality rum is  manufactured, the reserve of the island   - Kumba  and  the National Park of the island Nosy Tanikeli.

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Madagascar Madagascar Madagascar

 

What to do in Madagascar

  • Ecotourism:
    Because of its isolation, the flora and fauna of the island "Madagascar" is unique. There are many   national parks and reserves there.
    The biggest nature reserve park on the island is Tsingi de Bemaraha, the area of 152 hectares is home to 53 species of birds, 8 species of reptiles and six species of lemurs. The reserve Montagne dambr is also very popular among the tourists. Seven species of lemurs, chameleons, snakes and tropical frogs are registered here. It has more than 20 km of footpaths which run along the beautiful waterfalls and lakes. At 140 km from the capital of the island there is Perinet Nature Reserve. It is home to short-tailed lemurs, Indri, the largest of the lemurs, more than a hundred species of frogs, and you also can admire here the millions of beautiful orchids. The reserve is a great place to observe nocturnal animals. Yifat Reserve attracts bird lovers from all over the world. We recommend you to visit the "channel Pangalan" (south of Toamasina), it is a system of rivers, lakes and wetlands, surrounded by tropical forest. On the island of Sainte-Marie from July to September, you can observe the seasonal migration of humpback whales from the Antarctic. In the national parks you can travel on foot or by bicycle.  The Best time to visit – the periods from October to November and from April to May, when there is no heavy rain. Lemurs usually hid in the bush, and guide calls them with special whistles. If you look at bushes, you can see the chameleons, which, because of fear, immediately change color. Locals do not like these lizards, and believe that the meeting with them brings bad luck. But for some money rewards, they will forget about superstition and show you dozens of chameleons.
  • Beach tourism:
    The coastline of Madagascar is 4,800 kilometers. All along the coast of Madagascar there are quiet lagoons with white sand beaches surrounded by coral reefs with rich marine life.
    The best beaches are located on the western shore of the island; on the east coast there are more chances to meet sharks. The most popular beach resort is Nosy Be.
    Another popular beach resort is Toliara. Sandy beaches are surrounded by baobabs, and in coastal waters there is 250-kilometer coral reef.
    The most popular tourist resort of the east coast is the island of Sainte-Marie. Previously the island was a refuge for pirate; legend tells that there is a hidden treasure on the island. Along the coast there are beautiful sandy beaches, surrounded by groves of coconut palms.
  • Diving:
    The coastal waters of  Madagascar are surrounded by coral reefs with rich underwater life .. The most interesting dive sites are located near the island of Nosy-Be. The favorite place for divers and snorkeling enthusiasts is the marine park Nosy Tanikeli. Here you can watch the turtles, octopuses, stingrays, fish, parrot fish and groupers.
    The resort Toliara in the south-west coast of Madagascar is surrounded by 250-km-long coral reef. Here you can see 250 species of corals, 750 species of fish, sea turtles, dolphins, humpback whales, whale sharks and ancient species of fish - coelacanth, which appeared 70 million years ago. Also, the island of Sainte-Marie attracts diving enthusiasts.
  • Deep-sea fishing. Marine fauna of Madagascar is rich and diverse. There are many opportunities for sport and trophy fishing. You can catch here the giant karanksa, tuna, sailfish, black marlin, barracuda, giant groupers, Dorado, and some species of sharks and other marine fish. The best time for fishing is the period from May - December. The biggest fishing centre is located near Taulanaru.

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Madagascar Madagascar Madagascar

 

Cuisine of Madagascar 


 

Malagasy cuisine is based on the Malasian and African traditions. The main ingredient is rice, served with meat, cheese, vegetables, seafood and a variety of spices and sauces. Salads are served as a garnish, the most popular is "Ro" (a salad of rice and herbs), "Annan" (rice, spices, and shrimp), and among the vegetables you can find tomatoes, corn, beans, and a special kind of banana. The most popular  meat dishes are   fillets of Zebu  with tomato-garlic sauce grilled on charcoal ,  stew beef  with tomatoes and spices (rumazava), smoked and cured meats (kitoza), meat on skewers (Paus masikita), as well as roast chicken with bananas and foie gras.
In coastal areas there is a wide variety of seafood (lobsters, crabs, oysters and sea urchins). For dessert you can enjoy pudding made of rice and coconut and a variety of pies.
An abundance of fruit is really impressive - exotic lychee, Hanun, persimmon, mango, guava, strawberry, pineapple bananas and coconuts.
As for drinks take fruit juices with ice or local mineral water.

 

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Madagascar Madagascar Madagascar
 Madagascar Madagascar Madagascar

 

What to buy in Madagascar:

- Souvenirs in the form of lemurs;
- Butterflies - bright tropical butterflies in  beautiful rosewood frame ( 4 euros), but keep in mind that you need an export certification for its exporting, require it from sellers.
- Precious stones (buy in large stores, requiring a check and certificate to avoid problems at customs).
- Hand-made Soap with herbs, as well as local cosmetics with essential oils.
- Spices. Madagascar is the largest exporter of spices. In the colorful bazaars of Madagascar spices are sold on weight, and their flavor can be smelled at distance.
- Wall masks and carved figurines of animals and humans.

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Madagascar Madagascar Madagascar

 

Useful information about Madagascar

Tourist visa for up to 90 days is issued upon arrival; you must provide a valid passport, round-trip tickets and pay a fee of 140,000 Malagasy francs. Import of foreign currency is unlimited. The import of wild and domestic animals, drugs, medicines without proper certification is forbidden. Do not remove native gold and jewels, goods made of crocodile skin, rare species of plants and animals (including articles of horn, bone or skin and seeds of plants), export of animal skins is permitted only under license from customs or other government agencies.
The standard of living in Madagascar is low, so do not tempt the locals, showing them a large sum of money or expensive equipment. Do not travel alone. Make immunization against malaria, and avoid mosquito bites. Use boiled water, even for brushing your teeth or washing vegetables. Swim only in special swimming areas.


Important to know: The five-star hotel in Madagascar is at the same service level as three star rating by international standards. In the high-level hotels in Madagascar there are two types of tariffs: for local citizens and higher - for foreigners. There is also a system of cheap hotels "ravinalu, » they are more similar to camping.  There are camps at national parks and reserves. 

 

The cost of food - in U.S. Dollars (USD):
Low level: 1 - 3 [USD];
Mid-Range: 3 - 10 [USD];
High: more than 10 [USD];

 

Housing costs - in U.S. Dollars (USD):
Low level: 4 - 10 [USD];
Average level: 10 - 60 [USD];
High: more than 60 [USD];


In the countryside, you'll spend about 10 - 15 dollars per day for meals and accommodation, but the cost in the capital Antananarivo and in resort areas such as Nosy-Be is much larger (on average 30 - $ 50).

 

Interesting facts about Madagascar

  • According to the historical data the first settlers came to Madagascar in canoes from Indonesia.
  • 80% of plant and animal on the island are unique.
  • Lemurs - the symbol of Madagascar. Once these primates inhabited the entire Earth, but in the struggle for survival were defeated and survived only on the isolated island of Madagascar, where there are no large predators, except for crocodiles.
  • The soil of Madagascar is red. That's why; the island is also called the "Red Island".
  • In ancient Rome the word lemur meant the soul of the dead, when the Europeans first came to Madagascar they met small animals with enormous eyes glowing in the dark, so they called them lemurs.
  • On the island of Madagascar lives the spider-champion "Caerostris darwini". It is capable to make the largest web in the World. The largest spider web was spotted in the national park, Andasibe-Mantadia. Its size (length) is 25 meters. It should be noted that a web of "Caerostris darwini" is very strong.
  • Madagascar is the world's largest producer and exporter of vanilla.
  • Queen of Madagascar Ranavalona executed her servants if they came to her in dreams without permission.

 

Conclusions 

Madagascar is an island with amazing variety of landscapes and the most diverse and unique flora and fauna. Therefore, the island of "Madagascar" can be considered one of the most interesting places for scientists studying nature and wildlife. Madagascar is the island of bright red soil and emerald greenery, extinct volcanoes, deserts, snow-white beaches and many national parks. The parks Dambr Montagne, Parc de Ranomafana and Pierina Park are the most popular among the tourists; here in the rainforest you can admire the numerous lemurs, birds, butterflies and rare reptiles. Lovers of architecture and history will be amazed with the ensemble of palaces Ambuhimanga in Antananarivu and the former residence of the Royal Family in Ambositra. The main resort for beach vacation is Nosy-Be, here you will enjoy the beaches with the cleanest water and soft sand. Also there are all conditions for water sports - diving, snorkeling and deep sea fishing. Fans of adventures can take part in safaris, mountain climbing and rafting. It is important to know that there is not many luxury hotels on Madagascar, five star hotels in Madagascar are equal to international third-class hotels. There are many camps at national parks and reserves.
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Madagascar Madagascar Madagascar



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