Madagascar - Travel notes from paradise

by Daria Lorian
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Madagascar, the official name - Republic of Madagascar is an island country located in the Indian Ocean on the eastern coast of Africa, in the southern hemisphere. Madagascar gets its current name from Marco Polo, the fourteenth-century Italian, explorer, who described an African island of untold wealth called Madeigascar in  his memoirs.

The nearest airport in Madagascar is Antananarivo (TNR) is 11 miles from the city. The most commun airport is Ivato International Airport, located 17 kilometers from the capital Antananarivo. There are some little white mini buses that will leave you in the city, even they are full and the price of the tickets is pretty low. Madagascar’s summer is from November to March, although it’s the wettest period, so the best time to visit is from November to March, when all the fauna and flora is enlighten...

Madagascar is so fascinating because is the fourth island of the world, separated from the African continent about 165 million years ago, allowing his bizarre plants and animals to evolve separately for millennia…reason why you will see here flying foxes, chameleons, aye-aye lemurs and also a huge paradise for fauna and flora lovers. This is the only place in the world where you can admire the six species of giant baobab and in the lands Tulear, Betioky and Berenty grows giant bonsai, coffee, clover and vanilla scents spread across these beautiful lands… Madagascar is a spectacular volcanic island with a landscape dominated by tropical forests, mangroves and lemurs.

Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar is one of the most beautiful capitals in the world, being an economic, cultural and administrative city, possesses a museum of art and archeology as well as an astronomical observatory, this being the central part of Madagascar, which is more noticeable especially for the greens arias, the vineyards and the beautiful tiered rice fields.

The capital Antananarivo, called also ‘’Tana’’, has a French flavor and the atmosphere is evident…French is spoken here and street signs and shops are written mainly in French. The city is built on three levels and is situated in the central highlands (Hauts Plateaux), the steeply mountain chain that stretches from northern to southern island of Madagascar, through the center.

Nossi Be is the most important holiday resort of Madagascar, being an island surrounded by other islands in the north-west coast, is located an hour away from the capital. Here you will find, see and smell the most exotic perfumed plants such as ylang-ylang site, vanilla (the largest producer in the world is Madagascar) and patchouli, which grows in a huge number here. The largest city is Hell-Ville, and near him is a ruin of a 17th century, of an Indian village.

My recommendation is to visit the Stone Forest ... the experience is amazing! The forest is located in the central-western of Madagascar Bemaraha Plateau, 250 km west of Antananarivo, in the Northern Hemisphere of the Antsingy Plateau. Tsingy Stone Forest area contains limestone landscape of plateaus dating from the Jurassic Era; located in the western part of the island…the view is spectacular.

Something more exciting is the Baobab Avenue, which is a group of trees placed along the road between Morondava and Belon'i Tsiribihina in western Madagascar. The landscape attracts tourists from around the world, making it one of the most visited places in the region. Desert Island is known within the forest of thorns, where odd-shaped baobab trees thrive for centuries….so it’s a ‘’Wow’’ feeling!

What you have to put on your ‘’must do’’ list, is to explore the impressive national parks and natural reserves. In Nature Reserve Tsingy de Bemaraha, you can visit virgin forests, mangrove swamps and lakes that are home to a variety of rare birds and lemurs. The word "tsingy" refers to the set up of sharp rocks and limestone. The park is home to seven species of lemurs, including Deckens sifaka, a lemur species notable for his white fur and black face. Ohh…and don’t miss the Ampefy volcanic region, with spectacular waterfalls and geysers, which houses a tail lemur species and many species of orchids…absolutely magnificent, especially for photographers!

There would be many things to do / visit...hopefully in my next post I will mention all of them, but  now I have to mention about their local cuisine ... absolutely delicious ... A delicacy is lobster with coconut rice and peanut sauce. Rice is omnipresent ... ‘’romazava’’ - a soup of meat and green leafy or ‘’ravitoto’’ - a stew of pork and cassava leaves. Their traditional drink is water with rise. Juices vary by season - papaya, mango, tamarind, sugar cane, the well known ‘’bets-bets’’.

Malagasy people are very quiet, too quiet though! Sympathetic and with positive flair, are respectfully and eager to help you. I hope to have some time to write more and more about this beautiful and unique place of happiness. Meanwhile, Arrivederci e bel viaggio!


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