Madagascar: Unique In The World

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Madagascar is Located off the east coast of Africa, Madagascar is the world’s fifth largest island; at 144 million acres, it’s almost the size of Texas.

Places To Visit

  • Nosy Be: Nosy Be is an island eight kilometers off the coast of the mainland of Madagascar, so it’s a short boat ride from the port of Ankify. It is the perfect place to spend the day in crystal clear waters as the surrounding coral reef is ideal for diving and snorkelling. Fishing and sailing boats are also organized to take tourists around the island.
  • Isalo National Park: One of the most picturesque sights in this breathtaking national park is the cave overlooking a waterfall tumbling down into a deep pool, surrounded by overhanging screw pines. There are around 80 different species to spot, including the rare Benson’s rock-thrush and beautiful crested ibis. However, you’re likely to hear them before you see them, so brush up on your bird calls.
  • The Avenue of Baobabs: where the unique Grandidier’s baobabs stand out along both sides of the RN8 road, is considered one of Madagascar’s most recognisable sights. It consists of 25 trees lining a 260-metre stretch of road, some over 800 years old, standing 98 feet tall and 36 feet wide.
  • The Marojejy National Park: It consists of 550 square kilometres of stunning, mountainous rainforest. It covers the awe-inspiring Marojejy massif, providing hikers with striking views of the surrounding scenery.
  • Nosy Boraha: Also known as Île Saint-Marie, it’s a narrow sliver of paradise, where you’ll discover palm tree-lined beaches and shaded rainforest areas. A highlight of visiting this island is the regular sight of humpback whales from June to September in between both coastlines. They’re said to come here to calve and nurse their young because the waters are sheltered.

Life

More than two-thirds of the population in Madagascar lives below the poverty line, with most living on less than $1.90 a day. Madagascar is no stranger to natural disasters, and the island experiences three or four devastating cyclones each year. Cyclones cause massive structural and property damage.

Cost Of Trip

A trip to Madagascar for two people for one week costs on average MGA4,293,595 ($1,129). All of these average travel prices have been collected from other travelers to help you plan your own travel budget.

Cultural institutions

The main libraries and museums, located in Antananarivo, include the National Library, the Municipal Library and the National Archives. There is also the library of the Madagascan Academy, the university library and the university museum. There are museum collections of Malagasy culture and archeology. The natural science collections include a zoo with animals unique to Madagascar.

People And Community

The diversity of the island can be seen everywhere. Madagascar is home to over 21 million people with a wide range of beliefs and customs. The Malagasy (as the Malagasy people are known) are descendants of settlers from Borneo and East Africa and derive their cultural heritage from South East Asia, India, Africa and Middle East. More than 20 ethnic groups coexist on the island. Their common language, also known as Malagasy, is more closely related to a language spoken in Southeast Borneo. A majority of the population – 80 percent of whom are believed to be living below the poverty line – depend on subsistence agriculture for their survival.

Languages

Most of the inhabitants of Madagascar speak Malagasy, the national language, which is written in the Latin alphabet. Although Madagascar is geographically close to Bantu-speaking Africa, Malagasy is a standardized version of Merina, an Austronesian language. Nonetheless, there are a number of Bantu words in the language, as well as a few phonetic and grammatical modifiers of Bantu origin.

Income Generation

Despite the importance of intensive rice cultivation, the land is mainly used for pastoral purposes. Cattle are kept in all parts of the island; although less abundant in the dense forest areas of the eastern escarpment, elsewhere pastoralism predominates, most often in coexistence with the cultivation of subsistence crops. On the plateau, the valley bottoms and irrigable slopes are mainly used for growing rice. The people of the forest traditionally cultivated the rice of the hills, after having cut and burned the forest; this practice continues, even if it is discouraged by the government which favors the creation of permanently irrigated rice fields.

What To Do Before Going

  1. Visit a travel doctor well in advance. There are vaccinations you may need to be administered. These may take weeks to become effective. Refer to your vaccination records. Make sure you are up to date on the following: Typhoid, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Meningitis, Polio, MMR, Tuberculosis (BCG) and/or Tetanus (DTP).
  2. You should discuss a Malaria prophylaxis prescription with your doctor. This is especially true if you are travelling between September and May.
  3. In addition to long pants/sleeves, they are the obvious methods of limiting mosquito bites. But they also help prevent flea bites. The bubonic plague is still present in Madagascar.
  4. You should have antibiotics, such as Ciprofloxacin. It will be useful in the event that you get a bacterial infection.
  5. You can never bring too much hand sanitizer! Sometimes there won’t be soap available. Or you may make a bathroom stop on the side of the road.  I also suggest rolls of toilet paper for the car.
  6. Pack sunscreen and bug spray but check the ingredients list for harmful chemicals. If you’re planning to swim or snorkel in the ocean, please bring waterproof and “reef-safe” sunscreens that don’t include oxybenzone, butylparaben, or octinoxate that can bleach the corals.
  7. Invest in travel insurance. Be sure that it doesn’t just cover cancelled flights, lost or stolen items, and unexpected medical expenses. But also includes emergency medical evacuation.

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