YOU CAN EDIT THIS PAGE! Just click any blue "Edit" link and start writing!

Difference between revisions of "Madagascar"

From Wikitravel
Earth : Africa : East Africa : Madagascar
Jump to: navigation, search
(Automated upload of Madagascar)
 
m (Stay safe: ''Non merci'' is rrelevant, if not upsetting, in this context)
 
(746 intermediate revisions by more than 100 users not shown)
Line 1: Line 1:
<!-- begin quick bar -->
+
{{pagebanner|Madagascar Banner.jpg}}
<div style="float: right; margin: 0 0 1em 1em">
 
<table cellpadding="2" cellspacing="0" style="border: 1px solid #9866FF; background-color:  #f3f3ff" width="200">
 
<tr><td colspan="2" style="text-align: center; border-bottom: 1px solid #C9AFFF; background-color: #ddddff">Flag</td></tr>
 
<tr><td colspan="2" style="text-align: center; padding: 2px">[[Image:ma-flag.png]]</td></tr>
 
<tr><td colspan="2" style="text-align: center; border-bottom: 1px solid #C9AFFF; border-top: 1px solid #C9AFFF; background-color: #ddddff">Quick Facts</td></tr>
 
<tr><td valign="top" style="padding-left: 2px">'''Capital'''</td><td>Antananarivo</td></tr>
 
<tr><td valign="top" style="padding-left: 2px">'''Government'''</td><td>republic<br/></td></tr>
 
<tr><td valign="top" style="padding-left: 2px">'''Currency'''</td><td>Malagasy franc (MGF)</td></tr>
 
<tr><td valign="top" style="padding-left: 2px">'''Area'''</td><td>''total:'' 587,040 sq km <br>''water:'' 5,500 sq km <br>''land:'' 581,540 sq km</td></tr>
 
<tr><td valign="top" style="padding-left: 2px">'''Population'''</td><td>16,473,477 (July 2002 est.)</td></tr>
 
<tr><td valign="top" style="padding-left: 2px">'''Language'''</td><td>French (official), Malagasy (official)</td></tr>
 
<tr><td valign="top" style="padding-left: 2px">'''Religion'''</td><td>indigenous beliefs 52%, Christian 41%, Muslim 7%</td></tr>
 
</table>
 
</div>
 
<!-- end quick bar -->
 
     
 
''This article is an [[Wikitravel:CIA World Factbook 2002 import|import]] from the CIA World Factbook 2002. It's a starting point for creating a '''real''' Wikitravel country article according to our [[Wikitravel:country article template|country article template]]. Please [[Wikitravel:plunge forward|plunge forward]] and edit it.''
 
  
Formerly an independent kingdom, Madagascar became a French colony in 1886, but regained its independence in 1960. During 1992-93, free presidential and National Assembly elections were held, ending 17 years of single-party rule. In 1997, in the second presidential race, Didier RATSIRAKA, the leader during the 1970s and 1980s, was returned to the presidency. The 2001 presidential election was contested between the followers of Didier RATSIRAKA and Marc RAVALOMANANA, nearly causing secession of half of the country. In April 2002 the High Constitutional Court announced RAVALOMANANA the winner.
 
  
 +
{{quickbar
 +
| image=Sifaka in Berenty.jpg
 +
| caption=A Sifaka in Berenty
 +
| location=Madagascar in its region.svg
 +
| flag=Flag of Madagascar.svg
 +
| capital=[[Antananarivo]]
 +
| government=Republic
 +
| currency=ariary (MGA)
 +
| area=''total:'' 587,040 km²<br />''water:'' 5,500 km²<br />''land:'' 581,540 km²
 +
| population=21,095,469 (July 2007 est.)
 +
| language=[[Malagasy phrasebook|Malagasy]] (national & official)<br>[[French phrasebook|French]] (official)
 +
| religion=Indigenous beliefs 52%, Christian 41%, Muslim 7%
 +
| electricity=
 +
| callingcode=+261
 +
| tld=.mg
 +
| timezone=UTC+3
 +
}}
  
==Geography==
+
'''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.
  
<div style="float: right; margin: 0 0 1em 1em">[[Image:ma-map.png]]<br>''Map of Madagascar''</div>
+
==Understand==
 +
The first people arrived in Madagascar between 350 BC and 550 AD from [[Borneo]] on outrigger canoes. These Austronesian first settlers were joined around 1000 AD by Bantu migrants crossing the Mozambique Channel.
  
; '''Location''' : Southern Africa, island in the Indian Ocean, east of Mozambique
+
Other groups such as Arabs, Indians, and Chinese continued to settle on Madagascar over time, each one making lasting contributions to Malagasy cultural life. The Malagasy way of thinking includes a mixture of cultures, as well as their appearance and fashion style. It is a melting pot. Madagascar is part of the African Union, but that is now being reconsidered due to the recent 2009 political turmoil regarding the African Union members.
  
; '''Geographic coordinates''' : 20 00 S, 47 00 E
+
===Ecology===
 +
Madagascar's long isolation from the neighbouring continents has resulted in a unique mix of flora and fauna; many of which are unique and endemic to Madagascar. This has led some ecologists to refer to Madagascar as the "eighth continent". Of the 10,000 plants native to Madagascar, 90% are found nowhere else in the world. Madagascar's varied plants and animals are endangered by human activity, as one-third of it's native vegetation has disappeared since the 1970s and since the arrival of humans 2,000 years ago, Madagascar has lost more than 90% of it's original forest. Most lemurs are listed as endangered or threatened species.
  
; '''Map references''' : Africa
+
The eastern, or windward side of the island is home to tropical rainforests, while the western and southern sides, which lie in the rain shadow of the central highlands, are home to tropical dry forests, thorn forests, and deserts and xeric shrublands. Madagascar's dry deciduous rainforest has been preserved generally better than the eastern rainforests or the high central plateau, presumably due to historically low population densities.
  
; '''Area''' : ''total:'' 587,040 sq km <br>''water:'' 5,500 sq km <br>''land:'' 581,540 sq km
+
===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 centre 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 sub-equatorial 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.
  
; '''Area - comparative''' : slightly less than twice the size of Arizona
+
[[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.
  
; '''Land boundaries''' : 0 km
+
==Regions==
 +
[[Image:Madagascar Regions map.png|thumb|right|400px|Map of Madagascar with regions colour coded]]
 +
{{Regionlist
  
; '''Coastline''' : 4,828 km
+
| region1name=[[Antananarivo Province]]
 +
| region1color=#e9ea6c
 +
| region1items=[[Antananarivo]], [[Antsirabe]]
 +
| region1description=
  
; '''Maritime claims''' : ''contiguous zone:'' 24 NM <br>''territorial sea:'' 12 NM <br>''exclusive economic zone:'' 200 NM <br>''continental shelf:'' 200 NM or 100 NM from the 2,500-m deep isobath
+
| region2name=[[Antsiranana]]
 +
| region2color=#c0e0a6
 +
| region2items=[[Andoany]], [[Masoala National Park]], [[Nosy Komba]], [[Nosy Be]], [[Vatomandry]] 
 +
| region2description=
  
; '''Climate''' : tropical along coast, temperate inland, arid in south
+
| region3name=[[Fianarantsoa]]
 +
| region3color=#69999f
 +
| region3items=[[Ambositra]], [[Andringitra National Park]]
 +
| region3description=
  
; '''Terrain''' : narrow coastal plain, high plateau and mountains in center
+
| region4name=[[Mahajanga]]
 +
| region4color=#71b37b
 +
| region4items=[[Tsingy de Bemaraha Reserve]]
 +
| region4description=
  
; '''Elevation extremes''' : ''lowest point:'' Indian Ocean 0 m <br>''highest point:'' Maromokotro 2,876 m
+
| region5name=[[Toamasina Province]]
 +
| region5color=#507027
 +
| region5items=[[Toamasina]], [[Ile aux Nattes]]
 +
| region5description=
  
; '''Natural resources''' : graphite, chromite, coal, bauxite, salt, quartz, tar sands, semiprecious stones, mica, fish, hydropower
+
| region6name=[[Toliara Province]]
 +
| region6color=#aba58b
 +
| region6items=[[Anakao]], [[Isalo National Park]]
 +
| region6description=
 +
}}
  
; '''Land use''' : ''arable land:'' 4.41% <br>''permanent crops:'' 0.93% <br>''other:'' 94.66% (1998 est.)
+
==Cities==
 +
*[[Antananarivo]] Capital city, always refered to as "Tana" by the locals.
 +
*[[Andoany]] (''also commonly known as Hell-Ville'')
 +
*[[Antsirabe]]
 +
*[[Antsiranana]] Capital of Diana region, one of the most colonized cites in Madagascar
 +
*[[Fianarantsoa]]
 +
*[[Morondava]]
 +
*[[Taolagnaro]]
 +
*[[Toamasina]]
 +
*[[Toliara]]
  
; '''Irrigated land''' : 10,900 sq km (1998 est.)
+
==Other destinations==
 +
*[[Anakao]]
 +
*[[Andringitra National Park]]
 +
*[[Ile aux Nattes]]
 +
*[[Isalo National Park]]
 +
*[[Lemurs' Park]] southwest of [[Antananarivo]]
 +
*[[Masoala National Park]]
 +
*[[Nosy Be]]
 +
*[[Nosy Komba]]
 +
*Rainforest of [[Montagne d'Ambre National Park]]
 +
*[[Tsingy de Bemaraha Reserve]]
  
; '''Natural hazards''' : periodic cyclones
+
==Get in==
  
; '''Environment - current issues''' : soil erosion results from deforestation and overgrazing; desertification; surface water contaminated with raw sewage and other organic wastes; several species of flora and fauna unique to the island are endangered
+
===Visa=== 
  
; '''Environment - international agreements''' : ''party to:'' Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands <br>''signed, but not ratified:'' none of the selected agreements
+
Nationals of most countries can obtain a visa on arrival valid for up to 60 days. Stays of up to 30 days cost $37. while for a maximum stay of 60 days the cost is $45. All visitors must hold a passport valid for 6 months and a return ticket.
  
; '''Geography - note''' : world's fourth-largest island; strategic location along Mozambique Channel
+
As of March 2020, 30/60 day visas received at the airport are obtained using cash only for either $37/$45 dollars or 35/40 Euro. A counter before entry issues visas.
  
==People==
+
===By plane===  
  
; '''Population''' : 16,473,477 (July 2002 est.)
+
From [[Europe]], [[Asia]], [[North America]], [[South America]] the best connections  are with '''Air France''', '''Ethiopian Airlines''', '''Turkish Airlines'''.
  
; '''Age structure''' : ''0-14 years:'' 45% (male 3,713,700; female 3,696,478) <br>''15-64 years:'' 51.8% (male 4,227,931; female 4,313,940) <br>''65 years and over:'' 3.2% (male 241,699; female 279,729) (2002 est.)
+
'''Air Madagascar''' [http://www.airmadagascar.mg ], fly from [[Paris]], [[Marseille]], [[Guangzhou]] to [[Antananarivo]].  
  
; '''Population growth rate''' : 3.03% (2002 est.)
+
'''Kenya airways''' has flights from Africa, Europe, USA, Asia, too Antananarivo.
  
; '''Birth rate''' : 42.41 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
+
'''Air Austral''' (Reunion) runs flights to Madagascar from [[Paris]], [[Bangkok]], [[Chennai]] with transfer on Reunion Island.  
  
; '''Death rate''' : 12.15 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
+
Travelers from Europe, Asia, Australia can also fly too Antananarivo with '''Air Mauritius''' [http://www.airmauritius.com].
  
; '''Net migration rate''' : 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
+
Flights from [[Johannesburg]], South Africa, using Air Madagascar codeshared with '''SA Airlink''' [http://www.saairlink.co.za/]. Flights run 6 days a week.
  
; '''Sex ratio''' : ''at birth:'' 1.03 male(s)/female <br>''under 15 years:'' 1 male(s)/female <br>''15-64 years:'' 0.98 male(s)/female <br>''65 years and over:'' 0.86 male(s)/female <br>''total population:'' 0.99 male(s)/female (2002 est.)
+
'''Comores Aviation''' fly to [[Moroni]].
  
; '''Infant mortality rate''' : 81.9 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)
+
Note that the airport is located right next to Ivato which has cheap public transport to Tana center (1200 ariary). Otherwise you should pay around 50,000 ariary for a taxi into town, although they may not want to go lower than 70,000 ariary to leave from the airport. there are many hotels near the airport from 30,000Ar.
  
; '''Life expectancy at birth''' : ''total population:'' 55.74 years <br>''female:'' 58.11 years (2002 est.) <br>''male:'' 53.45 years
+
===By boat===
 +
There are no more Ferries from [[Toamasina]] on the east coast going to [[Mauritius]] via [[Reunion]]. Currently you can only fly to [[Mauritius]] or [[Reunion]].
  
; '''Total fertility rate''' : 5.77 children born/woman (2002 est.)
+
==Get around==
  
; '''HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate''' : 0.15% (1999 est.)
+
===By plane===
 +
Air Madagascar (Recently rebranded as Tsaradia for domestic flights) serves numerous destinations throughout the country, which is a good thing considering the bad state of the roads.
  
; '''HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS''' : 11,000 (1999 est.)
+
It is advisable to check the status of your flight in advance, as timetable changes can occur at fairly short notice.  
  
; '''HIV/AIDS - deaths''' : 870 (1999 est.)
+
from 2020 Passengers who arrive in Madagascar on a long-haul flight on Air Madagascar no longer benefit from reductions on internal flights.
  
; '''Nationality''' : ''noun:'' Malagasy (singular and plural) <br>''adjective:'' Malagasy
+
===By train===
 +
[[Image:Railways on Madagascar.jpg|thumb]] There are four rail lines in Madagascar :
 +
* [[Antananarivo]]-[[Ambatondrazaka]] via [[Moramanga]], you can get on the train between Moramanga and Ambatondrazaka.
 +
* [[Antananarivo]]-[[Antsirabe]]
 +
* [[Fianarantsoa]]-[[Manakara]] three times a week for both directions.
 +
* [[Antananarivo]]-[[Toamasina]] : people can travel between Moramanga and Tomasina approximately twice a week.
  
; '''Ethnic groups''' : Malayo-Indonesian (Merina and related Betsileo), Cotiers (mixed African, Malayo-Indonesian, and Arab ancestry - Betsimisaraka, Tsimihety, Antaisaka, Sakalava), French, Indian, Creole, Comoran
+
With the Malagasy railway network dating from the colonial period, breakdowns are frequent due to poor maintenance, and a line may be closed for several weeks.
  
; '''Religions''' : indigenous beliefs 52%, Christian 41%, Muslim 7%
+
The train is not the fastest and most comfortable means of travel, but it lets you admire the magnificent landscapes (especially on the line connecting [[Fianarantsoa]] to [[Manakara]]) and discover the Malagasy fruits and dishes offered at every stop. You can taste what is in season at little cost : crayfish, bananas, cinnamon apples, sambos, zebu sausages, oranges.
 +
Travelling by train is cheap (1st class from Fianarantsoa to Manakara only 25000Ar (less than 10€)). You want to choose a 1st class seat; or get up very early if you want to be sure to get a 2nd class ticket since it is always extremely crowded (the train is the only mean of transport for many villagers) and no booking is possible in 2nd class.
 +
Unfortunately, the train that runs between Manakara and Fianarantsoa has become less reliable lately (early 2007) due to poor conditions of the tracks.
  
; '''Languages''' : French (official), Malagasy (official)
+
===By road===
 +
[[File:Landscape Madagascar 01.jpg|thumb|Village in Central Highlands, south of [[Antananarivo]]]]
 +
This is the only inexpensive way to get around, but Madagascar's roads are almost all of very low grade (with the exception of 2 routes leading out of Tana). Many roads are studded with potholes and are quagmires in the rainy season. Be warned that travel by road will almost always take much more time than you would normally expect. Hire of a 4WD vehicle can reduce this problem but the cost will be higher but still very cost effective if you are not traveling alone and able to split the rental fee between the members of your group. (Rent a 4WD with driver is around 50 EURO/day/car excluding gasoline, updated SEP 2015)
 +
Due to the poor condition of the roads many car hire companies will only rent you a car if you use one of their drivers. In most cases, the driver can act as your guide and translator as well.
  
; '''Literacy''' : ''definition:'' age 15 and over can read and write <br>''total population:'' 80% <br>''male:'' 88% <br>''female:'' 73% (1990 est.)
+
===By taxi-brousse===
 +
This is the way most natives travel around the country. There are three major modern roads in the country: RN7 from Tana to Toliara, RN2 from Tana to Tomasina (via Brickaville) and RN4 from Tana to Mahajanga. Trips between those towns take about a day whereas traveling between Tana and Taolagnaro, a south-eastern coastal town, would take about 3 or 4 days due to the condition of the road. Travel is cramped and don't expect air conditioning. Expect dust to be a problem in the dry season.  Travel by Taxi-Brousse is guaranteed to test one's patience and sanity, but there is quite possibly no better way to meet and interact with the locals and experience Madagascar as the Malagasy do.
 +
Taxi-brousse is by far the cheapest way to travel, but do not expect to leave or arrive on time. Indeed, the drivers wait for their 15 seats small buses to get full before leaving, therefore a few hours delay is never excluded! However, during the trip it allows you to admire the breathtaking landscapes Madagascar holds.
  
==Government==
+
===By taxi-be===
 +
In Tana, the cheapest way to get around is by taxi-be, or big taxi, which is a bit larger than a mini-van. There is one aisle with seats to fold down so they can cram in even more people. During peak season, buses run frequently.
  
; '''Country name''' : ''conventional long form:'' Republic of Madagascar <br>''conventional short form:'' Madagascar <br>''local short form:'' Madagascar <br>''former:'' Malagasy Republic <br>''local long form:'' Republique de Madagascar
+
===By boat===
 +
If you are looking for an unusual holiday, a yacht charter to Madagascar might be a good choice. You can be sure that your neighbors have not been there and done that.
 +
For those who would like to bareboat (hire a ship or boat without provisions or crew), a “guide” is usually included in the price of the yacht charter. Although obligatory, he comes with the price and is essential for the multitude of services he will provide. He will prepare the food, recommend anchorages, know where to fish and refill the water tanks. He will speak the local language and have an established relationship with the local people. He will protect the boat from theft when you leave it to explore on land. The guide lives completely on the exterior of the boat and does not require a cabin. A yacht charter to Madagascar is a bit of a “Robinson Crusoe” adventure. Once you embark, you will not be able to stock up provisions again and must live off the fish and seafood you will catch for yourself (or with your guide). So take great care with your provisioning list.
 +
This problem can be avoided by chartering one of the crewed catamarans. Cats are designed for stability so sea sickness is not really a problem. The crew prepare the boat with linen, food and drinks before your arrival -basically these boats are like a personal floating hotel. Depending on which boat you choose you could receive excellent service and food and suggestions of where to go and what to do. Choose your catamaran carefully as there are some really old ones in service- make sure the crew can speak your language.
  
; '''Government type''' : republic
+
===By bicycle===
 +
Madagascar is a great place to tour by bike and staying in small towns and villages along the way gives a real sense of what the country is all about. A mountain bike or heavy duty tourer at least is required as the roads can be in poor to terrible condition. In rainy season on the East coast the main North-south road can become impassable, possibly leading to a two day walk - over soft sand in one section - this is not an easily rideable route. Generally there is little to no traffic which makes cruising around a great pleasure. The people are amazingly friendly and you'll be greeted with crowds of children shouting 'Vazaha' in every village.
 +
There are little or no facilities for cyclists, so be prepared to camp rough (ask if it is somebody's land and never too near a family grave) or sleep in very basic guesthouses. Likely you will be invited to stay in people's houses. Bring a spare tire, puncture kit, chain, brake/gear cable, derailleur and all the tools you need.
  
; '''Capital''' : Antananarivo
+
Organised Madagascar Cycling tour can be arranged with specialised operators, they will accompany you with a car, reserve hotels and sort out any problem may arise during your ride. More expensive but definitely safer and hassle free.
  
; '''Administrative divisions''' : 6 provinces (faritany); Antananarivo, Antsiranana, Fianarantsoa, Mahajanga, Toamasina, Toliara
+
==Talk==
  
; '''Independence''' : 26 June 1960 (from France)
+
[[Image:RingtailedLemurMadagascar.jpg|thumb|180px|The ring-tailed lemur is unique to the fauna of Madagascar]]
  
; '''National holiday''' : Independence Day, 26 June (1960)
+
The official languages are '''[[Malagasy phrasebook|Malagasy]]''' and '''[[French phrasebook|French]]'''.
  
; '''Constitution''' : 19 August 1992 by national referendum
+
Malagasay is a Malayo-Polynesian language related to [[Malay phrasebook|Malay]] and [[Indonesian phrasebook|Indonesian]] that is spoken by the majority of the island as a native language. As well as being the name of the language, "Malagasy" also refers to the people of the island. Because the island is so large there are many different dialects. The Merina dialect is the "Official Malagasy" of the island and is spoken around the highlands of Antananarivo. Most Malagasy, however, speak Merina across the island.
  
; '''Legal system''' : based on French civil law system and traditional Malagasy law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
+
French is the second official language of Madagascar. The government and large corporations use French in everyday business, but 75-85% of Malagasy only have limited proficiency in this language. Attempts by foreigners to learn and speak Malagasy are liked and encouraged by the Malagasy people.
  
; '''Suffrage''' : 18 years of age; universal
+
Tourist workers and some government officials will have a reasonable command of English.
  
; '''Executive branch''' : ''chief of state:'' President Marc RAVALOMANANA (since 6 May 2002) <br>''head of government:'' Prime Minister Jacques SYLLA (27 May 2002) <br>''cabinet:'' Council of Ministers appointed by the prime minister <br>''elections:'' president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; election last held 16 December 2001 (next to be held NA November 2006); prime minister appointed by the president from a list of candidates nominated by the National Assembly <br>''election results:'' percent of vote - Didier RATSIRAKA (AREMA) 40.89%, Marc RAVALOMANANA 46.21%; note - on 29 April 2002, the High Constitutional Court announced RAVALOMANANA the winner by 51.5% after a recount; RATSIRIKA's prime minister was put under house arrest on 27 May 2002, and SYLLA was appointed the new prime minister by President RAVALOMANANA
+
==See==
 +
[[File:Tsingy 2008.jpg|thumb|250px|Tsingy de Bemaraha Reserve]]
 +
[[File:Walking the Avenue of the Baobabs.jpg|thumb|250px|Walking the Avenue of the Baobabs]]
 +
[[File:Avenue of the baobabs at sunrise blue and gold madagascar.jpg|250px|thumb|Avenue of the baobabs at sunrise]]
 +
*[[Tsingy de Bemaraha Reserve|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]].
  
; '''Legislative branch''' : unicameral National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale (160 seats; members are directly elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms); note - the legislature is scheduled to become a bicameral Parliament with the establishment of a Senate; two-thirds of the seats of this Senate will be filled by regional assemblies whose members will be elected by popular vote; the remaining one-third of the seats will be appointed by the president; the total number of seats will be determined by the National Assembly; all members will serve four-year terms <br>''elections:'' National Assembly - last held 15 December 2002 (next to be held NA 2006) <br>''election results:'' National Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - TIM 103, FP 22, AREMA 3, LEADER/Fanilo 2, RPSD 5, TTS 2, HBM 1, independents 22
+
*'''Tsingy de Ankarana''' is a small version of the Tsingy de Bemaraha. This park in the north is on the national road to Antisirana and thus easily accessible. The park also is home to three types of lemurs, chameleons,...
  
; '''Judicial branch''' : Supreme Court or Cour Supreme; High Constitutional Court or Haute Cour Constitutionnelle
+
* '''Avenue of the Baobabs''' is an extra-ordinary 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. The cheapest way to get there is to take a taxi-brousse to the 'croissement a Belo' (14km) and walk north for 1.5 hours.
  
; '''Political parties and leaders''' : Action, Truth, Development, and Harmony or AFFA [Professor Albert ZAFY]; Association for the Rebirth of Madagascar or AREMA [leader vacant]; Congress Party for Malagasy Independence or AKFM/Fanavaozana [leader NA]; Economic Liberalism and Democratic Action for National Recovery or LEADER/Fanilo [Herizo RAZAFIMAHALEO]; Fihaonana Rally or Fihaonana [Guy RAZANAMASY]; Group of Reflection and Action for the Development of Madagascar or GRAD/Iloafo; Judged by Your Work or AVI [Norbert RATSIRAHONANA]; Movement for the Progress of Madagascar or MFM [Manandafy RAKOTONIRINA]; Renewal of the Social Democratic Party or RPSD [Evariste MARSON]; Tranobe (Big House) [Ny Hasina ANDRIAMANJATO]
+
Note: tours combine the Tsingy, a three day piroque boat trip and the Allee de Baobap in 7 days for 200 or more euro dependent on group size. This is most easily arranged in and from Antsirabe.
  
; '''Political pressure groups and leaders''' : Federalist Movement; National Council of Christian Churches or FFKM
+
==Do==
 +
*<do name="Kite and Windsurfing" alt="" address="Emerald Sea" directions="Fly to Diego" phone="" url="" hours="" price="" lat="" long="">Between April and November there is a constant 30 knot wind making this one of the best surfing spots in the southern hemisphere.</do>
  
; '''International organization participation''' : ACCT, ACP, AfDB, CCC, ECA, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, InOC, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO (correspondent), ITU, NAM, OAU, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO
+
*<do name="Guided Kayaking" alt="" address="Ile Sainte Marie " directions="" phone="" url="" price="" lat="" long="">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.</do>
  
; '''Diplomatic representation in the US''' : ''chief of mission:'' Ambassador Zina ANDRIANARIVELO-RAZAFY <br>''consulate(s) general:'' New York <br>''FAX:'' [1] (202) 483-7603 <br>''telephone:'' [1] (202) 265-5525, 5526 <br>''chancery:'' 2374 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
+
*<do name="Deep Sea Fishing" alt="" address="Nosy Be" directions="" phone="" url="http://www.madagascatcharters.co.za" hours="" price="" lat="" long="">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. The waters off the south west coast are also good for fishing.  </do>
  
; '''Diplomatic representation from the US''' : ''chief of mission:'' Ambassador Wanda L. NESBITT <br>''embassy:'' 14-16 Rue Rainitovo, Antsahavola, Antananarivo 101 <br>''mailing address:'' B. P. 620, Antsahavola, Antananarivo <br>''telephone:'' [261] (20) 22-212-57, 22-212-73, 22-209-56 <br>''FAX:'' [261] (20) 22-345-39
+
*<do name="Wildlife Tour" alt="" address="" directions="" phone="+1 206.669.9272" url="http://www.apex-expeditions.com/expeditions/madagascar-tours/" hours="" price="" lat="" long="">Madagascar's plant and animal species are extraordinary (over 80% exist nowhere else), so visitors shouldn't miss seeing the Lemurs, Tortoise, Geckos, Chameleons and unusual flora. Roads are dismal, however, and the country's minimal infrastructure makes it challenging for independent travellers. Book a tour with a reputable company that knows the country well. US-based Apex Expeditions runs a pretty comprehensive wildlife safari.</do>
  
; '''Flag description''' : two equal horizontal bands of red (top) and green with a vertical white band of the same width on hoist side
+
* '''Volunteering:''' Madagascar offers many different opportunities for volunteering and giving back, such as wildlife conservation with Lemurs, construction or social work. There are many ways to get in contact with the desired volunteer project, one of which is a comparison platform. On <listing name="Volunteer World" alt="" directions="" lat="" long="" address="a social startup from Germany" phone="" tollfree="" email="" fax="" url="https://www.volunteerworld.com/en/volunteer-abroad/madagascar" hours="" price="">, for example, you can search and compare all volunteering options in Madagascar.</listing>
  
==Economy==
+
==Buy==  
  
; '''Economy - overview''' : Madagascar faces problems of chronic malnutrition, underfunded health and education facilities, a roughly 3% annual population growth rate, and severe loss of forest cover, accompanied by erosion. Agriculture, including fishing and forestry, is the mainstay of the economy, accounting for one-third of GDP and contributing more than 70% to export earnings. Industry features textile manufacturing and the processing of agricultural products. Growth in output in 1992-97 averaged less than the growth rate of the population. Growth has been held back by antigovernment strikes and demonstrations, a decline in world coffee prices, and the erratic commitment of the government to economic reform. The extent of government reforms, outside financial aid, and foreign investment will be key determinants of future growth.
+
The unit of money is the '''ariary (Ar)'''. It is subdivided into 5 ''iraimbilanja'' and is one of only two non-decimal currencies currently circulating (the other is the [[Mauritania|Mauritanian]] ouguiya).
  
; '''GDP''' : purchasing power parity - $14 billion (2001 est.)
+
As of June 2020, 1 € is equal to 4400 Ar while $1 is 3900 Ar. Hotel and tour prices are frequently quoted in Euro, and Euro is accepted for most high-end transactions.  
  
; '''GDP - real growth rate''' : 5% (2001 est.)
+
The currency system was overhauled in 2006, when a previous currency, the Malagasy Franc (Franc Malgache) was replaced at a ratio of 1 ariary = 5 francs. Confusingly, many people continue to quote prices in francs, so it is imperative to confirm the amount in  ariary.
  
; '''GDP - per capita''' : purchasing power parity - $870 (2001 est.)
+
There are '''BFV-SG''' ATMs in most cities and towns. there atms take Visa card, Mastercard, Diners Club, American Express, Discover cards, Union pay. '''MCB''' atms take Mastercard, Visa card, Diners Club, Union pay. '''BNI''' atms take Mastercard and visa card.
  
; '''GDP - composition by sector''' : ''agriculture:'' 34% <br>''industry:'' 11% <br>''services:'' 55% (1999 est.)
+
In general the cost of travel in Madagascar is a good value at nearly every budget level. Basic rooms can be found for $10 dollars in most places. while a meal at a ''hotely'' can easily be under two dollars. Mid-level hotels and jungle lodges generally are better values than on the African content, with high-service and beautiful bungalows available for $50 in many places. Even Tana's most expensive eateries rarely charge more than $10 for a main. there are backpacker hostels in a few places.
  
; '''Population below poverty line''' : 70% (1994 est.)
+
Shoppers will find much to buy in the country. Spices, such as vanilla, are a great souvenir and a great value.  
  
; '''Household income or consumption by percentage share''' : ''lowest 10%:'' 2% <br>''highest 10%:'' 37% (1997)
+
Expect to pay 200,000 Ar or so a day for a car, fuel and a driver'.
  
; '''Distribution of family income - Gini index''' : 46 (1997)
+
==Eat==
 +
[[File:Voanjobory Bambara Groundnut Madagascar.jpg|thumb| Voanjobory sy henakisoa, a traditional dish in Madagascar made of Bambara groundnut cooked with pork]]
 +
[[File:Ravimbomanga Madagascar Food.jpg|thumb|Ravimbomanga sy patsamena consists of potato leaves stewed with dried shrimp and beef served over rice.]]
 +
The cheapest way to get a meal is to eat at a "hotely" or at market places. Simple meals that include a plate of rice, laoka (malagasy for side dish accompanying rice) like chicken, beans or pork, and rice water often are about 2000 Ariary (about 1 dollar) but could even be as low as 500 Ariary. For 200 ariary extra you can get a small glass of homemade yogurt. 'Compose' is a small salad that often includes potato salad and some other vegetables, often available for 300 to 600 Ariary. The same is also available on a baguette. Soups in various kinds, often including pasta are also very popular.
  
; '''Inflation rate (consumer prices)''' : 7% (2001 est.)
+
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.
  
; '''Labor force''' : 7 million (1999) (1999)
+
*'''Supermarkets'''  
 +
There are three big supermarket chains in Madagascar. '''Shoprite''', '''Score''' and '''Leader Price'''. all three Western style supermarket chains are well stocked, but the expensive prices reflect the need to import just about everything. There are many Shoprite and Leader price branded goods but also some more local produce (veg, spices etc, far cheaper than any of street markets). Shoprite is a slightly cheaper and has stores in Antananarivo, Mahajanga, Toamasina and Antsirabe. (Shoprite is a south African owned chain with stores in 15 African countries)
  
; '''Unemployment rate''' : NA%
+
==Drink==
  
; '''Budget''' : ''revenues:'' $553 million <br>''expenditures:'' $735 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (1998 est.)
+
There is no drinking age in Madagascar.
  
; '''Industries''' : meat processing, soap, breweries, tanneries, sugar, textiles, glassware, cement, automobile assembly plant, paper, petroleum, tourism
+
While in general tap water is considered not safe, in most cities it seldom causes problems. Bottled water costs 30 to 60 eurocent per liter and can be found almost everywhere. The same holds for Fanta, Coca Cola, ... Bonbon Anglais, and various beers like Three Horses Beer (THB), Castel, Queens, Skol, ... Locals often drink rum because it is much cheaper than beer.
 +
Natural and not so natural juices can also readily be found, for 5 to 10 eurocent per cup. Another option is ranon'apango (RAN-oo-na-PANG-oo) or rice water (water used to cook rice, which will therefore have been boiled) which is often served when eating in local places. 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.
  
; '''Industrial production growth rate''' : 3% (2000 est.)
+
Home brewed rum, and creme de coco, is also available - in many flavours!
  
; '''Electricity - production''' : 820 million kWh (2000)
+
==Sleep==
 +
In most places a budget room can be found for 25,000 to 75,000 Ariary, which provides for a double bed. Single travelers therefore end up spending more on accommodation, with dormitories or single rooms being rare. Mosquito nets are mostly provided where necessary, a net costs about 4 to 8 euro in Tana.
 +
Camping's exist in and around several national parks, but for some you may require your own tent.
 +
<!--No sleep listings should be placed in a country article and Madagascar is not an exception. Please find the relevant destination article and place them there.-->
  
; '''Electricity - production by source''' : ''fossil fuel:'' 37% <br>''hydro:'' 63% <br>''other:'' 0% (2000) <br>''nuclear:'' 0%
+
==Learn==
 +
Please learn some Malagasy.  The single best thing you can do to have a fun and safe trip on this beautiful island is to speak the local language.  Even ten words will make your trip monumentally better than if you speak French. There are a number of guidebooks you can buy to learn Malagasy or ask someone to teach you.  Just a few words, I promise you, will make all the difference.
  
; '''Electricity - consumption''' : 762.6 million kWh (2000)
+
==Work==
  
; '''Electricity - exports''' : 0 kWh (2000)
+
==Stay safe==
 +
Madagascar is a fairly safe country. You must, however, respect some simple principles:
 +
*Don't walk around at night in Antananarivo (other cities are pretty safe).
 +
*Don't exhibit signs of wealth (cameras, jewels, ...).
 +
*Similarly, always carry small bills. Paying with large bills shows off your wealth, can insult the seller because they will not have change, and opens you up for becoming a target.
 +
*Don't resist in case of aggression.
 +
*Don't provoke stray dogs.
 +
*Keep an eye on your belongings when using public transportation or visiting markets where numerous [[pickpockets]] swarm.
 +
*Learn the Malagasy word for thief, "Mpangalatra" which is pronounced "pahn-GAHL-ah-tra".  If someone is trying to rob you in a busy market area scream this.  The fact that a vazaha is screaming thief will unsettle the thief as well as alert the people near you to help. But, in most cases don't expect help from the locals. Most locals will stay quiet in fear of being chastised for helping a foreigner. A crowd of locals will move in to cover for a child running away with your stuff. The spoils are then divided up among those who helped the person get away. Beware of hanging your hand out the windows of a bus or car. A thief will literally rip a ring off your finger or a spandex watch off your arm. In one reported case a thief cut a woman's finger off to get her ring. 
 +
*Always listen for the words "vazaha" or "vazongo" when spoken in low tones. If you hear these words be aware that someone is talking about you, for better or for worse!
  
; '''Electricity - imports''' : 0 kWh (2000)
+
Like any other developing country, the presence of beggars never goes unnoticed.  This is sometimes uncomfortable for tourists, but these people should be respected none-the-less.  They are, predictably, attracted to foreigners as they view them as being wealthy and will not hesitate to ask for a hand out.  If you don't want to be bothered, a simple "Non, pardon/Non, désolé" or "Tsy Misy (tsee-meesh)" (I have nothing) will do the trick.  If they persist, try shouting "Mandehana! (man-day-han)" (Go Away!).  It is recommended not to give money, but other useful items, such as a banana, a piece of bread, etc.  It is usually accepted with gratitude, and if the beggar is a child, he will run away with a smile on his face.  NEVER take a child to the hotel or you would be suspected of pedophilia.
  
; '''Agriculture - products''' : coffee, vanilla, sugarcane, cloves, cocoa, rice, cassava (tapioca), beans, bananas, peanuts; livestock products
+
It is imperative not to encourage begging - in Madagascar the people do not really believe in getting something for nothing and will invariably offer you something first. For example a chameleon to photograph.
  
; '''Exports''' : $680 million f.o.b. (2000)
+
==Stay healthy==
 +
While the AIDS epidemic has not reached the devastating level found in many southern African countries, it is widely assumed that the incidence of HIV is underestimated and rising. You should take no risks and avoid unprotected sex in all cases.
  
; '''Exports - commodities''' : coffee, vanilla, shellfish, sugar; cotton cloth, chromite, petroleum products
+
Areas inhabited by humans will invariably have large populations of stray dogs.  Never provoke a stray dog, and although bites are rare, if bitten seek medical assistance promptly as rabies is not unheard of.
  
; '''Exports - partners''' : France 41%, US 21%, Germany 7%, Japan 4%, UK 1% (2000)
+
Research malaria prophylaxis options, and follow through. If you are not taking any prophylactics, be sure to always use a mosquito net for sleeping, and apply mosquito repellents once dusk sets in. On-skin repellent (only repellents containing ~40% DEET are effective, such as NoBite, Azeron Before Tropics etc.) is good but should be used in combination with on-clothes repellent (eg: NoBite). The clothes repellent is odourless approximately an hour after application, and clothes can be washed up to 4 times before it needs to be re-applied. If you wear long-sleeve clothing treated with the repellent and apply on-skin repellent to the skin parts not covered, you will be very safe against mosquito bites and can skip the prophylaxis with its notorious side effects. Be sure to take the repellent issue seriously, though, as it's very easy to fall into a more 'relaxed' mode after you've spent some time in the country.
  
; '''Imports''' : $919 million f.o.b. (2000)
+
Remember that Madagascar is in the tropics and take precautions against sunburn and heat exhaustion seriously. Wear lots of sunscreen and keep hydrated. Remember that a cloudy day does not mean you won't get burnt.
  
; '''Imports - commodities''' : intermediate manufactures, capital goods, petroleum, consumer goods, food
+
==Respect==
 +
Everyday life in Madagascar is regulated by numerous ''fady'' (taboos) which vary from one region to another. They can forbid foods (pork, lemur, turtle... ), wearing clothes of a particular colour, bathing in a river or a lake.  Observance of "fady" is mostly limited to rural areas, as tourists will most likely not run into this problem if they stay in the main towns.  However, there are fadies in places such as Antananarivo but most Vazaha are exempt.
  
; '''Imports - partners''' : France 38%, Hong Kong 10%, China 5%, Singapore 5%, Japan 3%
+
Fady are attributed to ancestors, to whom Malagasy adopt a respectful attitude whatever their religion. It is safest to respect these prohibitions and not violate them, even if you feel they don't make sense. Inform yourself about local fady when you arrive in a new place.
  
; '''Debt - external''' : $4.5 billion (2000)
+
When addressing anyone older than you or in a position of authority (e.g. police, military, customs officials), use the word "tompoko (TOOMP-koo)" the same way you would use "sir" or "ma'am" in English.  Respect for elders and authority figures is important in Madagascar.
  
; '''Economic aid - recipient''' : $838 million (1997) (1997)
+
Do not ever take photos of a tomb without permission.  Always ask permission before taking photos. 
  
; '''Currency''' : Malagasy franc (MGF)
+
If you go to a remote village or hamlet, it is fomba, or tradition, that you first meet with the head of the village if you have business in the village.  Meeting this person can save you a lot of time if you have work to do there.
  
; '''Currency code''' : MGF
+
==Contact==
 +
There are three cellphone companies in Madagascar. '''Airtel''' , '''Orange''' and '''Telma'''.buy a sim card then load calls sms and internet.
 +
{{outline}}
 +
{{isPartOf|East_Africa}}
 +
{{Wikipedia|Madagasgar}}
 +
{{Countryguide}}
  
; '''Exchange rates''' : Malagasy francs per US dollar - 6,531.4 (December 2001), 6,588.5 (2001), 6,767.5 (2000), 6,283.8 (1999), 5,441.4 (1998), 5,090.9 (1997)
+
[[ca:Madagascar]]
 +
[[de:Madagaskar]]
 +
[[eo:Madagaskaro]]
 +
[[es:Madagascar]]
 +
[[fi:Madagaskar]]
 +
[[fr:Madagascar]]
 +
[[hu:Madagaszkár]]
 +
[[it:Madagascar]]
 +
[[ja:マダガスカル]]
 +
[[nl:Madagaskar]]
 +
[[pl:Madagaskar]]
 +
[[pt:Madagascar]]
 +
[[ro:Madagascar]]
 +
[[ru:Мадагаскар]]
 +
[[sv:Madagaskar]]
 +
[[wts:Category:Madagascar]]
  
; '''Fiscal year''' : calendar year
+
[[WikiPedia:Madagascar]]
 
+
[[World66:africa/madagascar]]
==Communications==
 
 
 
; '''Telephones - main lines in use''' : 55,000 (2000)
 
 
 
; '''Telephones - mobile cellular''' : 63,100 (2000)
 
 
 
; '''Telephone system''' : ''general assessment:'' system is above average for the region <br>''domestic:'' open-wire lines, coaxial cables, microwave radio relay, and tropospheric scatter links connect regions <br>''international:'' submarine cable to Bahrain; satellite earth stations - 1 Intelsat (Indian Ocean) and 1 Intersputnik (Atlantic Ocean region)
 
 
 
; '''Radio broadcast stations''' : AM 2 (plus a number of repeater stations), FM 9, shortwave 6 (2001)
 
 
 
; '''Radios''' : 3.05 million (1997)
 
 
 
; '''Television broadcast stations''' : 1 (plus 36 repeaters) (2001)
 
 
 
; '''Televisions''' : 325,000 (1997)
 
 
 
; '''Internet country code''' : .mg
 
 
 
; '''Internet Service Providers (ISPs)''' : 2 (2000)
 
 
 
; '''Internet users''' : 35,000 (2002)
 
 
 
==Transportation==
 
 
 
; '''Railways''' : ''total:'' 893 km <br>''narrow gauge:'' 893 km 1.000-m gauge (2001)
 
 
 
; '''Highways''' : ''total:'' 49,837 km <br>''paved:'' 5,781 km <br>''unpaved:'' 44,056 km (1996)
 
 
 
; '''Waterways''' : ''note:'' of local importance only
 
 
 
; '''Ports and harbors''' : Antsiranana, Antsohimbondrona, Mahajanga, Toamasina, Toliara
 
 
 
; '''Merchant marine''' : ''total:'' 15 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 27,199 GRT/37,462 DWT <br>''ships by type:'' cargo 9, chemical tanker 1, liquefied gas 1, petroleum tanker 2, roll on/roll off 2 (2002 est.)
 
 
 
; '''Airports''' : 130 (2001)
 
 
 
; '''Airports - with paved runways''' : ''total:'' 29 <br>''over 3,047 m:'' 1 <br>''2,438 to 3,047 m:'' 2 <br>''1,524 to 2,437 m:'' 4 <br>''914 to 1,523 m:'' 20 <br>''under 914 m:'' 2 (2002)
 
 
 
; '''Airports - with unpaved runways''' : ''total:'' 92 <br>''1,524 to 2,437 m:'' 2 <br>''914 to 1,523 m:'' 46 <br>''under 914 m:'' 44 (2002)
 
 
 
==Military==
 
 
 
; '''Military branches''' : People's Armed Forces (comprising Intervention Force, Development Force, Aeronaval [Navy and Air] Force), Gendarmerie, Presidential Security Regiment
 
 
 
; '''Military manpower - military age''' : 20 years of age (2002 est.)
 
 
 
; '''Military manpower - availability''' : ''males age 15-49:'' 3,758,940 (2002 est.)
 
 
 
; '''Military manpower - fit for military service''' : ''males age 15-49:'' 2,229,304 (2002 est.)
 
 
 
; '''Military manpower - reaching military age annually''' : ''males:'' 153,856 (2002 est.)
 
 
 
; '''Military expenditures - dollar figure''' : $48.7 million (FY01)
 
 
 
; '''Military expenditures - percent of GDP''' : 1.2% (FY01)
 
 
 
==Transnational Issues==
 
 
 
; '''Disputes - international''' : claims Bassas da India, Europa Island, Glorioso Islands, Juan de Nova Island, and Tromelin Island (all administered by France)
 
 
 
; '''Illicit drugs''' : illicit producer of cannabis (cultivated and wild varieties) used mostly for domestic consumption; transshipment point for heroin
 

Latest revision as of 09:14, 9 August 2021


A Sifaka in Berenty
Location
Madagascar in its region.svg
Flag
Flag of Madagascar.svg
Quick Facts
Capital Antananarivo
Government Republic
Currency ariary (MGA)
Area total: 587,040 km²
water: 5,500 km²
land: 581,540 km²
Population 21,095,469 (July 2007 est.)
Language Malagasy (national & official)
French (official)
Religion Indigenous beliefs 52%, Christian 41%, Muslim 7%
Country code +261
Internet TLD .mg
Time Zone UTC+3

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.

Understand[edit]

The first people arrived in Madagascar between 350 BC and 550 AD from Borneo on outrigger canoes. These Austronesian first settlers were joined around 1000 AD by Bantu migrants crossing the Mozambique Channel.

Other groups such as Arabs, Indians, and Chinese continued to settle on Madagascar over time, each one making lasting contributions to Malagasy cultural life. The Malagasy way of thinking includes a mixture of cultures, as well as their appearance and fashion style. It is a melting pot. Madagascar is part of the African Union, but that is now being reconsidered due to the recent 2009 political turmoil regarding the African Union members.

Ecology[edit]

Madagascar's long isolation from the neighbouring continents has resulted in a unique mix of flora and fauna; many of which are unique and endemic to Madagascar. This has led some ecologists to refer to Madagascar as the "eighth continent". Of the 10,000 plants native to Madagascar, 90% are found nowhere else in the world. Madagascar's varied plants and animals are endangered by human activity, as one-third of it's native vegetation has disappeared since the 1970s and since the arrival of humans 2,000 years ago, Madagascar has lost more than 90% of it's original forest. Most lemurs are listed as endangered or threatened species.

The eastern, or windward side of the island is home to tropical rainforests, while the western and southern sides, which lie in the rain shadow of the central highlands, are home to tropical dry forests, thorn forests, and deserts and xeric shrublands. Madagascar's dry deciduous rainforest has been preserved generally better than the eastern rainforests or the high central plateau, presumably due to historically low population densities.

Climate[edit]

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 centre 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 sub-equatorial 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.

Regions[edit]

Map of Madagascar with regions colour coded

Cities[edit]

Other destinations[edit]

Get in[edit]

Visa[edit]

Nationals of most countries can obtain a visa on arrival valid for up to 60 days. Stays of up to 30 days cost $37. while for a maximum stay of 60 days the cost is $45. All visitors must hold a passport valid for 6 months and a return ticket.

As of March 2020, 30/60 day visas received at the airport are obtained using cash only for either $37/$45 dollars or 35/40 Euro. A counter before entry issues visas.

By plane[edit]

From Europe, Asia, North America, South America the best connections are with Air France, Ethiopian Airlines, Turkish Airlines.

Air Madagascar [4], fly from Paris, Marseille, Guangzhou to Antananarivo.

Kenya airways has flights from Africa, Europe, USA, Asia, too Antananarivo.

Air Austral (Reunion) runs flights to Madagascar from Paris, Bangkok, Chennai with transfer on Reunion Island.

Travelers from Europe, Asia, Australia can also fly too Antananarivo with Air Mauritius [5].

Flights from Johannesburg, South Africa, using Air Madagascar codeshared with SA Airlink [6]. Flights run 6 days a week.

Comores Aviation fly to Moroni.

Note that the airport is located right next to Ivato which has cheap public transport to Tana center (1200 ariary). Otherwise you should pay around 50,000 ariary for a taxi into town, although they may not want to go lower than 70,000 ariary to leave from the airport. there are many hotels near the airport from 30,000Ar.

By boat[edit]

There are no more Ferries from Toamasina on the east coast going to Mauritius via Reunion. Currently you can only fly to Mauritius or Reunion.

Get around[edit]

By plane[edit]

Air Madagascar (Recently rebranded as Tsaradia for domestic flights) serves numerous destinations throughout the country, which is a good thing considering the bad state of the roads.

It is advisable to check the status of your flight in advance, as timetable changes can occur at fairly short notice.

from 2020 Passengers who arrive in Madagascar on a long-haul flight on Air Madagascar no longer benefit from reductions on internal flights.

By train[edit]

Railways on Madagascar.jpg
There are four rail lines in Madagascar :

With the Malagasy railway network dating from the colonial period, breakdowns are frequent due to poor maintenance, and a line may be closed for several weeks.

The train is not the fastest and most comfortable means of travel, but it lets you admire the magnificent landscapes (especially on the line connecting Fianarantsoa to Manakara) and discover the Malagasy fruits and dishes offered at every stop. You can taste what is in season at little cost : crayfish, bananas, cinnamon apples, sambos, zebu sausages, oranges. Travelling by train is cheap (1st class from Fianarantsoa to Manakara only 25000Ar (less than 10€)). You want to choose a 1st class seat; or get up very early if you want to be sure to get a 2nd class ticket since it is always extremely crowded (the train is the only mean of transport for many villagers) and no booking is possible in 2nd class. Unfortunately, the train that runs between Manakara and Fianarantsoa has become less reliable lately (early 2007) due to poor conditions of the tracks.

By road[edit]

Village in Central Highlands, south of Antananarivo

This is the only inexpensive way to get around, but Madagascar's roads are almost all of very low grade (with the exception of 2 routes leading out of Tana). Many roads are studded with potholes and are quagmires in the rainy season. Be warned that travel by road will almost always take much more time than you would normally expect. Hire of a 4WD vehicle can reduce this problem but the cost will be higher but still very cost effective if you are not traveling alone and able to split the rental fee between the members of your group. (Rent a 4WD with driver is around 50 EURO/day/car excluding gasoline, updated SEP 2015) Due to the poor condition of the roads many car hire companies will only rent you a car if you use one of their drivers. In most cases, the driver can act as your guide and translator as well.

By taxi-brousse[edit]

This is the way most natives travel around the country. There are three major modern roads in the country: RN7 from Tana to Toliara, RN2 from Tana to Tomasina (via Brickaville) and RN4 from Tana to Mahajanga. Trips between those towns take about a day whereas traveling between Tana and Taolagnaro, a south-eastern coastal town, would take about 3 or 4 days due to the condition of the road. Travel is cramped and don't expect air conditioning. Expect dust to be a problem in the dry season. Travel by Taxi-Brousse is guaranteed to test one's patience and sanity, but there is quite possibly no better way to meet and interact with the locals and experience Madagascar as the Malagasy do. Taxi-brousse is by far the cheapest way to travel, but do not expect to leave or arrive on time. Indeed, the drivers wait for their 15 seats small buses to get full before leaving, therefore a few hours delay is never excluded! However, during the trip it allows you to admire the breathtaking landscapes Madagascar holds.

By taxi-be[edit]

In Tana, the cheapest way to get around is by taxi-be, or big taxi, which is a bit larger than a mini-van. There is one aisle with seats to fold down so they can cram in even more people. During peak season, buses run frequently.

By boat[edit]

If you are looking for an unusual holiday, a yacht charter to Madagascar might be a good choice. You can be sure that your neighbors have not been there and done that. For those who would like to bareboat (hire a ship or boat without provisions or crew), a “guide” is usually included in the price of the yacht charter. Although obligatory, he comes with the price and is essential for the multitude of services he will provide. He will prepare the food, recommend anchorages, know where to fish and refill the water tanks. He will speak the local language and have an established relationship with the local people. He will protect the boat from theft when you leave it to explore on land. The guide lives completely on the exterior of the boat and does not require a cabin. A yacht charter to Madagascar is a bit of a “Robinson Crusoe” adventure. Once you embark, you will not be able to stock up provisions again and must live off the fish and seafood you will catch for yourself (or with your guide). So take great care with your provisioning list. This problem can be avoided by chartering one of the crewed catamarans. Cats are designed for stability so sea sickness is not really a problem. The crew prepare the boat with linen, food and drinks before your arrival -basically these boats are like a personal floating hotel. Depending on which boat you choose you could receive excellent service and food and suggestions of where to go and what to do. Choose your catamaran carefully as there are some really old ones in service- make sure the crew can speak your language.

By bicycle[edit]

Madagascar is a great place to tour by bike and staying in small towns and villages along the way gives a real sense of what the country is all about. A mountain bike or heavy duty tourer at least is required as the roads can be in poor to terrible condition. In rainy season on the East coast the main North-south road can become impassable, possibly leading to a two day walk - over soft sand in one section - this is not an easily rideable route. Generally there is little to no traffic which makes cruising around a great pleasure. The people are amazingly friendly and you'll be greeted with crowds of children shouting 'Vazaha' in every village. There are little or no facilities for cyclists, so be prepared to camp rough (ask if it is somebody's land and never too near a family grave) or sleep in very basic guesthouses. Likely you will be invited to stay in people's houses. Bring a spare tire, puncture kit, chain, brake/gear cable, derailleur and all the tools you need.

Organised Madagascar Cycling tour can be arranged with specialised operators, they will accompany you with a car, reserve hotels and sort out any problem may arise during your ride. More expensive but definitely safer and hassle free.

Talk[edit]

The ring-tailed lemur is unique to the fauna of Madagascar

The official languages are Malagasy and French.

Malagasay is a Malayo-Polynesian language related to Malay and Indonesian that is spoken by the majority of the island as a native language. As well as being the name of the language, "Malagasy" also refers to the people of the island. Because the island is so large there are many different dialects. The Merina dialect is the "Official Malagasy" of the island and is spoken around the highlands of Antananarivo. Most Malagasy, however, speak Merina across the island.

French is the second official language of Madagascar. The government and large corporations use French in everyday business, but 75-85% of Malagasy only have limited proficiency in this language. Attempts by foreigners to learn and speak Malagasy are liked and encouraged by the Malagasy people.

Tourist workers and some government officials will have a reasonable command of English.

See[edit][add listing]

Tsingy de Bemaraha Reserve
Walking the Avenue of the Baobabs
Avenue of the baobabs at sunrise
  • 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.
  • Tsingy de Ankarana is a small version of the Tsingy de Bemaraha. This park in the north is on the national road to Antisirana and thus easily accessible. The park also is home to three types of lemurs, chameleons,...
  • Avenue of the Baobabs is an extra-ordinary 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. The cheapest way to get there is to take a taxi-brousse to the 'croissement a Belo' (14km) and walk north for 1.5 hours.

Note: tours combine the Tsingy, a three day piroque boat trip and the Allee de Baobap in 7 days for 200 or more euro dependent on group size. This is most easily arranged in and from Antsirabe.

Do[edit][add listing]

  • 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.  edit
  • 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.  edit
  • Deep Sea Fishing, Nosy Be, [1]. 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. The waters off the south west coast are also good for fishing.  edit
  • Wildlife Tour, +1 206.669.9272, [2]. Madagascar's plant and animal species are extraordinary (over 80% exist nowhere else), so visitors shouldn't miss seeing the Lemurs, Tortoise, Geckos, Chameleons and unusual flora. Roads are dismal, however, and the country's minimal infrastructure makes it challenging for independent travellers. Book a tour with a reputable company that knows the country well. US-based Apex Expeditions runs a pretty comprehensive wildlife safari.  edit
  • Volunteering: Madagascar offers many different opportunities for volunteering and giving back, such as wildlife conservation with Lemurs, construction or social work. There are many ways to get in contact with the desired volunteer project, one of which is a comparison platform. On Volunteer World, a social startup from Germany, [3]. , for example, you can search and compare all volunteering options in Madagascar.  edit

Buy[edit][add listing]

The unit of money is the ariary (Ar). It is subdivided into 5 iraimbilanja and is one of only two non-decimal currencies currently circulating (the other is the Mauritanian ouguiya).

As of June 2020, 1 € is equal to 4400 Ar while $1 is 3900 Ar. Hotel and tour prices are frequently quoted in Euro, and Euro is accepted for most high-end transactions.

The currency system was overhauled in 2006, when a previous currency, the Malagasy Franc (Franc Malgache) was replaced at a ratio of 1 ariary = 5 francs. Confusingly, many people continue to quote prices in francs, so it is imperative to confirm the amount in ariary.

There are BFV-SG ATMs in most cities and towns. there atms take Visa card, Mastercard, Diners Club, American Express, Discover cards, Union pay. MCB atms take Mastercard, Visa card, Diners Club, Union pay. BNI atms take Mastercard and visa card.

In general the cost of travel in Madagascar is a good value at nearly every budget level. Basic rooms can be found for $10 dollars in most places. while a meal at a hotely can easily be under two dollars. Mid-level hotels and jungle lodges generally are better values than on the African content, with high-service and beautiful bungalows available for $50 in many places. Even Tana's most expensive eateries rarely charge more than $10 for a main. there are backpacker hostels in a few places.

Shoppers will find much to buy in the country. Spices, such as vanilla, are a great souvenir and a great value.

Expect to pay 200,000 Ar or so a day for a car, fuel and a driver'.

Eat[edit][add listing]

Voanjobory sy henakisoa, a traditional dish in Madagascar made of Bambara groundnut cooked with pork
Ravimbomanga sy patsamena consists of potato leaves stewed with dried shrimp and beef served over rice.

The cheapest way to get a meal is to eat at a "hotely" or at market places. Simple meals that include a plate of rice, laoka (malagasy for side dish accompanying rice) like chicken, beans or pork, and rice water often are about 2000 Ariary (about 1 dollar) but could even be as low as 500 Ariary. For 200 ariary extra you can get a small glass of homemade yogurt. 'Compose' is a small salad that often includes potato salad and some other vegetables, often available for 300 to 600 Ariary. The same is also available on a baguette. Soups in various kinds, often including pasta are also very popular.

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

There are three big supermarket chains in Madagascar. Shoprite, Score and Leader Price. all three Western style supermarket chains are well stocked, but the expensive prices reflect the need to import just about everything. There are many Shoprite and Leader price branded goods but also some more local produce (veg, spices etc, far cheaper than any of street markets). Shoprite is a slightly cheaper and has stores in Antananarivo, Mahajanga, Toamasina and Antsirabe. (Shoprite is a south African owned chain with stores in 15 African countries)

Drink[edit][add listing]

There is no drinking age in Madagascar.

While in general tap water is considered not safe, in most cities it seldom causes problems. Bottled water costs 30 to 60 eurocent per liter and can be found almost everywhere. The same holds for Fanta, Coca Cola, ... Bonbon Anglais, and various beers like Three Horses Beer (THB), Castel, Queens, Skol, ... Locals often drink rum because it is much cheaper than beer. Natural and not so natural juices can also readily be found, for 5 to 10 eurocent per cup. Another option is ranon'apango (RAN-oo-na-PANG-oo) or rice water (water used to cook rice, which will therefore have been boiled) which is often served when eating in local places. 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.

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

Sleep[edit][add listing]

In most places a budget room can be found for 25,000 to 75,000 Ariary, which provides for a double bed. Single travelers therefore end up spending more on accommodation, with dormitories or single rooms being rare. Mosquito nets are mostly provided where necessary, a net costs about 4 to 8 euro in Tana. Camping's exist in and around several national parks, but for some you may require your own tent.

Learn[edit]

Please learn some Malagasy. The single best thing you can do to have a fun and safe trip on this beautiful island is to speak the local language. Even ten words will make your trip monumentally better than if you speak French. There are a number of guidebooks you can buy to learn Malagasy or ask someone to teach you. Just a few words, I promise you, will make all the difference.

Work[edit]

Stay safe[edit]

Madagascar is a fairly safe country. You must, however, respect some simple principles:

  • Don't walk around at night in Antananarivo (other cities are pretty safe).
  • Don't exhibit signs of wealth (cameras, jewels, ...).
  • Similarly, always carry small bills. Paying with large bills shows off your wealth, can insult the seller because they will not have change, and opens you up for becoming a target.
  • Don't resist in case of aggression.
  • Don't provoke stray dogs.
  • Keep an eye on your belongings when using public transportation or visiting markets where numerous pickpockets swarm.
  • Learn the Malagasy word for thief, "Mpangalatra" which is pronounced "pahn-GAHL-ah-tra". If someone is trying to rob you in a busy market area scream this. The fact that a vazaha is screaming thief will unsettle the thief as well as alert the people near you to help. But, in most cases don't expect help from the locals. Most locals will stay quiet in fear of being chastised for helping a foreigner. A crowd of locals will move in to cover for a child running away with your stuff. The spoils are then divided up among those who helped the person get away. Beware of hanging your hand out the windows of a bus or car. A thief will literally rip a ring off your finger or a spandex watch off your arm. In one reported case a thief cut a woman's finger off to get her ring.
  • Always listen for the words "vazaha" or "vazongo" when spoken in low tones. If you hear these words be aware that someone is talking about you, for better or for worse!

Like any other developing country, the presence of beggars never goes unnoticed. This is sometimes uncomfortable for tourists, but these people should be respected none-the-less. They are, predictably, attracted to foreigners as they view them as being wealthy and will not hesitate to ask for a hand out. If you don't want to be bothered, a simple "Non, pardon/Non, désolé" or "Tsy Misy (tsee-meesh)" (I have nothing) will do the trick. If they persist, try shouting "Mandehana! (man-day-han)" (Go Away!). It is recommended not to give money, but other useful items, such as a banana, a piece of bread, etc. It is usually accepted with gratitude, and if the beggar is a child, he will run away with a smile on his face. NEVER take a child to the hotel or you would be suspected of pedophilia.

It is imperative not to encourage begging - in Madagascar the people do not really believe in getting something for nothing and will invariably offer you something first. For example a chameleon to photograph.

Stay healthy[edit]

While the AIDS epidemic has not reached the devastating level found in many southern African countries, it is widely assumed that the incidence of HIV is underestimated and rising. You should take no risks and avoid unprotected sex in all cases.

Areas inhabited by humans will invariably have large populations of stray dogs. Never provoke a stray dog, and although bites are rare, if bitten seek medical assistance promptly as rabies is not unheard of.

Research malaria prophylaxis options, and follow through. If you are not taking any prophylactics, be sure to always use a mosquito net for sleeping, and apply mosquito repellents once dusk sets in. On-skin repellent (only repellents containing ~40% DEET are effective, such as NoBite, Azeron Before Tropics etc.) is good but should be used in combination with on-clothes repellent (eg: NoBite). The clothes repellent is odourless approximately an hour after application, and clothes can be washed up to 4 times before it needs to be re-applied. If you wear long-sleeve clothing treated with the repellent and apply on-skin repellent to the skin parts not covered, you will be very safe against mosquito bites and can skip the prophylaxis with its notorious side effects. Be sure to take the repellent issue seriously, though, as it's very easy to fall into a more 'relaxed' mode after you've spent some time in the country.

Remember that Madagascar is in the tropics and take precautions against sunburn and heat exhaustion seriously. Wear lots of sunscreen and keep hydrated. Remember that a cloudy day does not mean you won't get burnt.

Respect[edit]

Everyday life in Madagascar is regulated by numerous fady (taboos) which vary from one region to another. They can forbid foods (pork, lemur, turtle... ), wearing clothes of a particular colour, bathing in a river or a lake. Observance of "fady" is mostly limited to rural areas, as tourists will most likely not run into this problem if they stay in the main towns. However, there are fadies in places such as Antananarivo but most Vazaha are exempt.

Fady are attributed to ancestors, to whom Malagasy adopt a respectful attitude whatever their religion. It is safest to respect these prohibitions and not violate them, even if you feel they don't make sense. Inform yourself about local fady when you arrive in a new place.

When addressing anyone older than you or in a position of authority (e.g. police, military, customs officials), use the word "tompoko (TOOMP-koo)" the same way you would use "sir" or "ma'am" in English. Respect for elders and authority figures is important in Madagascar.

Do not ever take photos of a tomb without permission. Always ask permission before taking photos.

If you go to a remote village or hamlet, it is fomba, or tradition, that you first meet with the head of the village if you have business in the village. Meeting this person can save you a lot of time if you have work to do there.

Contact[edit]

There are three cellphone companies in Madagascar. Airtel , Orange and Telma.buy a sim card then load calls sms and internet.

This article is an outline and needs more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. Please plunge forward and help it grow!


Create category


This article contains content from Wikipedia's Madagasgar article. View that page's revision history for the list of authors.