Last geological remains of what is called the Madagascar likes cultivating the mystery of its origins. The island, as some suggest it, is of divine creation:
– Its 592 000sqkm surface area strangely takes the shape of a left foot (of which the satellite isles would be the toes), as the ancient footprint of a facetious giant…
Anchored at 400kms off the eastern coast of the African continent, Madagascar is, however, a concentrate of Austronesia civilization mixed with Bantu, Arab and European cultures, whose foundation, as attested by several navigators’ stories and certified by archaeologists, would go back as far as the first decade of the Christian era. Landmark of this cultural melting pot: the Malagasy language, of which the etymology and morphology are common to all the country’s inhabitants, dispite its dialectal variants. Madagascar’s history is to be integrated in the great era of trading adventures which, as early as the tenth century, linked the different states and kingdoms situated along the western Indian Ocean coastline, which was then considered as an internal sea. The island itself comprised several kingdoms, whose unification was completed in the 18th century under the Merina monarchy of Andrianampoinimerina. Then it started to have diplomatic relationships with the western world which, after all sorts of events, led it to be a French colony from 1896 to 1960. From its new independence (26 June 1960), Madagascar has chosen to adopt the western parliamentary democracy style, and since the mid-20th century, its contemporary history has modeled itself on the modern world economic and political chronicles, turning to economic liberalism.
At the image of its mixed population, its nature is characterized by a set of varied ecosystems, sheltering particular species which are up to 80% endemic forflora, each region has its own landscape specificity to be discovered… specific fauna is also to be noted and with a simple diving mask on, one can admire it in its natural element. Several of these animals are threatened, such as the radiated tortoise, and are under very strict protective measures. Lastly, the famous lemurs must be mentioned, whose groups shelter the last survivors of their species. Among them, the Indri Indri, the sifaka or the tiny Microcebus Rufus.
New species are still being discovered, such as the Lepilemur Seali or the Lepilemur Mitsinjonensis, the Mirza Zaza or the strange Aye Aye. A paradise for ornithologists with 285 bird species, 110 of them are endemic. Birds usually nest in the forests, namely the eastern humid ones, and on the water sites along the coastline for great gatherings. An extraordinary flora still finds shelter in primary forests, among which we can count more than 1000 varieties of orchids, 38 groups of aloes such as the aloe Vaombe with its wonderful clusters of red flowers illuminating the barren surroundings.
Creepers, ferns, strangler fig trees highlight the tropical character of the undergrowth, and the “ravinala”, the famous traveller’s tree is a steady feature of the landscapes. There is also a multitude of medicinal plants whose inventory still remains to be made.
Whether you are a tourist looking for exoticism, a sportsman finding strong sensations, a scientist searching new subjects or a curious intellectual interested in culture and craftsmanship, … Madagascar is the ideal destination for you because almost all of these aspects can be found here and your expectation and needs will be satisfied.
Madagascar is separated into two dissymmetrical parts by a backbone of high summits:
The eastern coastal strip, under the influence of trade winds, where tropical forests are omnipresent; and the western side which includes two sedimentary basins with large limestone or sandstone plateaus. At each side of this dividing line, the highlands expose eroded reliefs.http://www.cactus-madagascar.com/lemurs/
Each vegetable groove, each animal mutation is a core subject for discovery or deep scientific studies. It is the kingdom of lemurs, insects and birds, of a thousand varieties of orchids, especially of medicinal plants and their numerous virtues which are still unexploited but also need to be preserved…encounters with the population are fully satisfied with their hospitality; visiting museums, hunting for ancient books at second-hand booksellers, but also with attending traditional ceremonies which are still common practice in many places, are also among experiences that you will be living in Madagascar. In their way, tales or prohibitions, speaking about the civilization which is changing but whose ties with the ancestors, are still at the utmost importance. You will live such an adventure at the bend of a forgotten tomb of pirates, you will enjoy your passage in each crack of limestone or sandstone slope to climb up, at the bottom of the numerous caves to explore and of impetuous rivers to descend. From the small sailing boats to the zebu-drawn carts, the unexpected and physical challenges are waiting for you at each instant…
You will meet with exoticism, obviously synonymous of sun, sea, beaches and relaxation, along nearly 5000kms coastline.
Each resort is a small jewel and paradise to discover. In spite of its geoclimatic, mining and ecotourism wealths, the population’s standard of living is one of the lowest in the world. Although the country is undergoing urban drift, nearly 75% of its inhabitants still live in rural areas. Sustainable and fair development could be achieved through enhancing the value of their natural, economic, craft and cultural environment. Solidarity in tourism, protection of the environment and respect of the people, could contribute to improving these living conditions.