Madagascar

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Madagascar is a country that occupies a large island of the same name, located in the Indian Ocean off the eastern coast of Africa. It is the fourth largest island in the world.

Population: 22,599,098 people
Area: 587,041 km2
Highest point: 2,876 m
Coastline: 4,828 km
Life expectancy: 64.85 years
GDP per capita: $1,000
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  • Small city 5-20 hotels
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  • Beach Beach
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  • Casino Casino
  • Civic property Civic property
  • Education Education
  • Entertainment Entertainment
  • Golf course Golf course
  • Green space Green space
  • Harbor Harbor
  • Historic site Historic site
  • Interesting place Interesting place
  • Medical Medical
  • Monument Monument
  • Museum Museum
  • Shopping Shopping
  • Skiing Skiing
  • Sports facility Sports facility
  • Theater Theater
  • Winery Winery

About Madagascar

Climate

The climate is tropical along the coast, temperate inland, and arid in the south. The weather is dominated by the southeastern trade winds that originate in the Indian Ocean anticyclone, a center of high atmospheric pressure that seasonally changes its position over the ocean. Madagascar has two seasons: a hot, rainy season from November to April; and a cooler, dry season from May to October. There is, however, great variation in climate owing to elevation and position relative to dominant winds. The east coast has a subequatorial climate and, being most directly exposed to the trade winds, has the heaviest rainfall, averaging as much as 3,500 mm (137.8 in) annually. This region is notorious not only for a hot, humid climate in which tropical fevers are endemic but also for the destructive cyclones that occur during the rainy season, coming in principally from the direction of the Mascarene Islands. Because rain clouds discharge much of their moisture east of the highest elevations on the island, the central highlands are appreciably drier and, owing to the altitude, also cooler. Thunderstorms are common during the rainy season in the central highlands, and lightning is a serious hazard.

Antananarivo receives practically all of its average annual 1,400 mm (55.1 in) of rainfall between November and April. The dry season is pleasant and sunny, although somewhat chilly, especially in the mornings. Although frosts are rare in Antananarivo, they are common at higher elevations.

Activities

  • Kite and Windsurfing, Emerald Sea (Fly to Diego). Between April and November there is a constant 30 knot wind making this one of the best surfing spots in the southern hemisphere.
  • Guided Kayaking, Ile Sainte Marie. See the country from a different angle. Explore the coastline of beautiful Sainte Marie with a local guide. Overnight at different local hotels each night and interact with the people. Explore villages and relax in hidden coves. Crystal clear and calm water - no experience required and one does not have to be ultra fit.
  • Deep Sea Fishing, Nosy Be. Get away from the overfished waters of Nosy Be and head out, in luxury, to the Radamas or Mitsio islands. Sailfish, Kingfish, King Mackerel and Wahoo all waiting for you.

Food

The cheapest way to get a meal is to eat at a "hotely". For about 1300 ariary (or a little less than $1) you can buy a plate of rice, laoka (malagasy for side dish accompanying rice) like chicken, beans or pork, and rice water. For 200 ariary extra you can get a small glass of homemade yogurt.

Bananas (hundreds of varieties) and rice cakes (Malagasy 'bread') are staple 'street food' and available everywhere. Coffee is very good, usually hand-made by the cup and served very sweet with condensed milk. Steak-frites is available in restaurants in the larger towns.

Supermarkets - In Tana there is a supermarket chain called Jumbo Score. This Western style supermarket is well stocked with but the expensive prices reflect the need to import just about everything. There are many Casino (a French Supermarket) branded goods but also some more local produce (veg, spices etc., far cheaper from any the street markets). Shoprite is a slightly cheaper but usually smaller alternative.

Drinks

There is no safe tap water so be prepared with bottled water, which is usually easily obtainable. The only other option is ranon'apango (RAN-oo-na-PANG-oo) or rice water (water used to cook rice, which will therefore have been boiled). It's particularly important to plan ahead if visiting rural areas. It is worth taking with you some chlorine tablets, which can be used to make the local water drinkable.

In towns, roadside drink stands, stores and bars are plentiful. Most sell a range of drinks including bottled water, Fanta, Coca Cola and Madagascar's beer, Three Horses Beer ("THB"). You can also try the bubblegum flavored soda 'Bonbon Anglais' (similar to South American Inka Cola, if you are very brave!). Be warned that this may be sold as 'limonade' - leading you to think it may be lemonade.

Home brewed rum, and creme de coco, is also available - in many flavours!

Shopping

The unit of money is the ariary. 1 € is about 2900 ariary and 1 US$ is about 2000 ariary as of 2010. The value of the ariary has been rather stable for a few years. The currency system was overhauled in 2006. Prior to 2006 the unit of currency was the Malagasy Franc (Franc Malgache) and was worth 1/5 of an ariary, for example, 1 Francs = 1,000,000 Ariary. However, old banknotes in Francs are still legal tender. Whenever negotiating a price, always confirm the amount in ariary. Unscrupulous merchants have been known to state the amount due without specifying the currency so that buyers are duped into paying 5 times the amount due because of Franc/Ariary confusion.

You can withdraw money from ATM's in the cities, using a Visa or Visa Electron card. Mastercard can be used with ATM's of the BNI bank.

Vanilla and other spices are cheap in Madagascar compared to Europe or elsewhere, and the quality (especially of vanilla) is very good. (Vanilla is about €2 for 10 pods in Mada, compared to €3 for 2 pods in France.)

This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Madagascar on Wikivoyage.

Cities in Madagascar

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Antananarivo (City of a Thousand), also known as Tana, is the capital of Madagascar.

Interesting places:

  • Rova
  • Prime Minister\'s Palace
  • Ambohitsorohitra Palace
  • Faravohitra Church
  • Mahama Sina Stadium
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Nosy Be is a small island off Madagascar.

Interesting places:

  • Nosy Tanikely National Park
  • Natural Reserve of Lokobe
  • Madirokely Beach
  • Lemuria Land Park
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Interesting places:

  • Ile Sainte-Marie Pirates Cemetery
  • Ile Ste Marie Beach
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Mahajanga is on the West coast of Madagascar.

Interesting places:

  • Jardin d\'Amour
  • Antsanitia Beach
  • Grand Pavois Beach
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Interesting places:

  • Amber Mountain National Park
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Toamasina is a port city of approximately 145,000 on the east coast of Madagascar. It is still commonly called Tamatave, which was its official name until 1977.

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Interesting places:

  • Mitsio Island
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panoramio Photos are copyrighted by their owners

Points of Interest in Madagascar

  • Tsingy de Bemaraha is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is Madagascar's largest reserve (152,000 hectares). The fascinating raised limestone plateau is decorated with a frail, chaotic razor-sharp collection of pinnacles, the “Tsingy”, also called the Labyrinth of Stone. Areas of deciduous forest also provide the chance to see brown lemurs and a variety of bird life, we may also meet the rare all white Decken’s sifaka. The great variety of flora includes: aloes, orchids, numerous pachypodium and baobabs. The deciduous forest is home to over 50 species of birds; 7 species of lemurs (including the all-white Deckens sifaka) and the rare stump-tailed chameleon (Brookesia perarmata). The site of Bemaraha is managed under special UNESCO and access is restricted and the areas you are allowed to visit vary from time to time. Located approximately 180 km north of Morondava.
  • Avenue of the Baobabs is an extraordinary stand of huge baobab trees. Located 45 minutes north of Morondava on Madagascar's west coast it is one of the most visited sites in the Menabe Region. A candidate as one of the 7 Wonders of Africa; efforts are underway to protect this unique grove of more than a dozen trees. Some of the trees, Adansonia grandidieri, are over 800 years old and reach a height of 30+ meters. Truly a photographers paradise and especially beautiful at sunset.

Antsirabe Cathedral Church - Antsirabe

Nosy Iranja - Ambanja

Nosy Tanikely National Park - Nosy Be

Mantadia National Park - Vatomandry

Morondava Beach - Morondava

Anakao Beach - Anakao

Ifaty Beach - Toliara

Ile Sainte-Marie Pirates Cemetery - Ile Sainte-Marie

Ranomafana National Park - Fianarantsoa

Amber Mountain National Park - Antsiranana

Andohahela National Park - Ft. Dauphin

Lake Tsimanampetsotsa - Efoetse

Andringitra National Park - Ambalavao

Mitsio Island - Tsarabanjina

Ankarafantsika National Park - Marovoay

Marojejy National Park - Andapa

Lake Kinkony - Soalala

Lake Ihotry - Morombe

Lake Alaotra - Ambatondrazaka

panoramio Photos are copyrighted by their owners
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