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Africa » Madagascar » Madagascar

With 5000km of coastline, 450km of barrier reef and 250 islands, no stay in Madagascar would be complete without a few days on the island’s shores. Divers will revel in the choice of sites, from underwater ‘cathedrals’ to shipwrecks, and will relish the chance to see rays, whale sharks, reef sharks and many other kinds of sharks. Snorkellers will be awed by the sheer grace of turtles and marvel at the rainbow of colours displayed by corals and fish. For those keen to keep their heads above water, the idyllic beaches will prove hard to resist. And once you’ve swayed in your hammock to your heart’s content, you can join a local fisher for a pirogue (dugout canoe) trip, go sailing to explore nearby islands or board a whale-watching boat to admire humpbacks breaching – one of nature’s most majestic spectacles.

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Madagascar, officially the Republic of Madagascar and previously known as the Malagasy Republic, is an island country in the Indian Ocean, off the southeastern coast of Africa. The nation comprises the island of Madagascar (the fourth-largest island in the world), as well as numerous smaller peripheral islands. Following the prehistoric breakup of the supercontinent Gondwana, Madagascar split from India around 88 million years ago, allowing native plants and animals to evolve in relative isolation. Consequently, Madagascar is a biodiversity hotspot; over 90 percent of its wildlife is found nowhere else on Earth. The island's diverse ecosystems and unique wildlife are threatened by the encroachment of the rapidly growing human population.

 

 

Climate

The combination of southeastern trade winds and northwestern monsoons produces a hot rainy season (November–April) with frequently destructive cyclones, and a relatively cooler dry season (May–October). Rain clouds originating over the Indian Ocean discharge much of their moisture over the island's eastern coast; the heavy precipitation supports the area's rain forest ecosystem. The central highlands are both drier and cooler while the west is drier still, and a semi-arid climate prevails in the southwest and southern interior of the island.

 

 

Culture

Each of the many ethnic sub-groups in Madagascar adhere to their own set of beliefs, practices and ways of life that have historically contributed to their unique identities. However, there are a number of core cultural features that are common throughout the island, creating a strongly unified Malagasy cultural identity. In addition to a common language and shared traditional religious beliefs around a creator god and veneration of the ancestors, the traditional Malagasy worldview is shaped by values that emphasize fihavanana (solidarity), vintana (destiny), tody (karma), and hasina, a sacred life force that traditional communities believe imbues and thereby legitimates authority figures within the community or family.

 

Other cultural elements commonly found throughout the island include the practice of male circumcision; strong kinship ties; a widespread belief in the power of magic, diviners, astrology and witch doctors; and a traditional division of social classes into nobles, commoners, and slaves. Although social castes are no longer legally recognized, ancestral caste affiliation often continues to affect social status, economic opportunity and roles within the community. Malagasy people traditionally consult Mpanandro ("Makers of the Days") to identify the most auspicious days for important events such as weddings or famadihana, according to a traditional astrological system introduced by Arabs. Similarly, the nobles of many Malagasy communities in the pre-colonial period would commonly employ advisers known as the ombiasy (from olona-be-hasina, "man of much virtue") of the southeastern Antemoro ethnic group, who trace their ancestry back to early Arab settlers.

 

 

Arts

A wide range of aural artistic traditions have developed in Madagascar. One of the island's foremost artistic traditions is its oratory, as expressed in the forms of hainteny (poetry), kabary (public discourse) and ohabolana (proverbs). An epic poem exemplifying these traditions, the Ibonia, has been handed down over the centuries in several different forms across the island, and offers insight into the diverse mythologies and beliefs of traditional Malagasy communities. This tradition was continued in the 20th century by such artists as Jean Joseph Rabearivelo, who is considered Africa's first modern poet, and Elie Rajaonarison, an exemplar of the new wave of Malagasy poetry. Madagascar has also developed a rich musical heritage, embodied in dozens of regional musical genres such as the coastal salegy or highland hiragasy that enliven village gatherings, local dance floors and national airwaves.

 

 

Lovely Restaurants

*Idylle Beach: address: BP 32 bis, Ambodifotatra, Nosy Boraha 515, Madagascar - Price range: $7 -  $13 -  Dining      options: Reservations, Late Night

*Pily Pily: addess: ndana Beach, Nosy Be 111, Madagascar - Cuisines: French, Italian, International - Dining options:      Reservations, Private Dining

*Mad Zebu: address: Face au marche, Belo Tsiribihina 608, Madagascar - Cuisines: french

*KUDeTA: address: Isoraka, Antananarivo 101, Madagascar - Cuisines: Diner, French, Contemporary, Eclectic, Good for: romance

*Cafe de la Gare: address: Gare de Soarano, Antananarivo 101, Madagascar - Cuisines: French, Good for: Bar scene,      Outdoor seating

*Le Carnivore: address: rue Ratsimilaho, Antananarivo, Madagascar - Cuisines: Brazilian - Dining options: Late Night

*Chez Teresa: adress: Ambatoloaka, Nosy Be, Madagascar - Dining options: Reservations, Late Night

*Chez Angeline: address: Ambatoloaka, Nosy Be Bp 207, Madagascar - Price range: $9 - $15 - Cuisines: African, Italian, Pizza, Seafood

*Chez Mama: address: senza indirizzo, al centro del villaggio, Nosy Be, Madagascar - Cuisines: African

*L'Etoile de Mer: adress: town centre, Tulear, Madagascar

 

 

Top-rated hotels and B&B

1. Anjajavy L'Hotel - address:  Anjajavy, Madagascar - phone number: 00 261 32 05 447 47

2. Lokanga Boutique Hotel - address: Lot VW 115 Ambohimitsimbina, Antananarivo 101 , Madagascar

3. Eden Lodge - address:  Baobab beach, Nosy Be 207, Madagascar - phone number: 00 261 34 86 931 19

4. La Maison du Pyla: - address:  Quartier des facultes, Antananarivo, Madagascar

5. Atlantis Madagascar: address:  Anakao | Tulear, Anakao, Madagascar

6. Hotel La Petite Traversee - address:  Ile Aux Nattes, Nosy Boraha, Madagascar

 

 

Things to do and see

• Plongee Toukoul: Category: Sports Complexes

• Tropical Diving: Owner description: Tropical Diving is an authorized PADI and 5 star SCUBAPRO SEA dive center ,offering the best standards in quality and safety

• Lokobe Nature Special Reserve: Category: Nature/ Wildlife Areas

• Madarail: Category: Scenic Railroads

• Analakely Market: Category: Flea/ Street Markets

• Madagascar Exotic: Category: Nature/ Wildlife Areas

• Masoala National Park: Category: National Parks

• Nosy Tanikely: Category: Islands

• Ulysse Explorer: Category: Boat Tours

• Ocean de Sagesse Private Day Tours, Ambatoloaka: Category: Tours

 

 

Traditional Madagascar clothing: the lamba

Traditional dress in Northern Madagascar involves wearing the ‘lamba’. The word lamba simply means cloth or clothing but usually refers to the two matching pieces of fabric that women wear – one around the waist or chest and one around the head or shoulders. Traditionally the lamba would have been all that was worn. Now it is usually seen worn over Western clothing.

 

 

What Do Women in Madagascar Wear?

 

Women in Madagaskar may sometimes wear traditional clothes called lamba. The word lamba is used to describe two pieces of woven cloth. One piece of the cloth is worn around a woman's waist or across the chest while the other piece is worn around her head or shoulders.

 

 

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