- Madagascar is the worlds 4th largest island.
- Madagascar ranks fourth on the world’s largest islands – after Greenland, Papua New Guinea and Borneo Plunked in the Indian Ocean, it measures over 1,600km on its longest axis and 570km along its widest points. It coastline stretches over 5,000km of wide beaches and coral reefs. With such a massive land area, Madagascar features very diverse and distinctive terrains and habitats.
2. There are over 70 species and subspecies of lemurs in Madagascar.
3. Madagascar is one of the poorest countries in the world.
- After its independence from the French, it struggled under the leadership of one incompetent government after another. A series of civil unrest and political chaos ensued. When ex-yogurt peddler Marc Ravalomanana took over as the president in 2001 (introducing new currency, rules and reduced the country’s foreign debt by $20 billion), Madagascar’s future looked bright. Unfortunately, he’s been ousted from office and the country is sliding back into political chaos.
4. Madagascar, believe it or not, is not warm year-round.
- Although the entire island of Madagascar lies in the tropics, not all of the island experiences warm, tropical weather. As it’s so large, it experiences different climates at the same time. In winter (May to October), it can get rather cold in the central highlands, with temperatures as low as 0 degrees Celsius around Antananarivo and Antsirabe. But once you make your way down to sea level in the west (Morondava, Ifaty, Isalo), it is usually hot and sunny all year round. The rainforest in the east often receives wet and overcast weather.
5. Most Malagasies are animists they believe in their ancestors, taboo and magic.
- Although the predominant religion in Madagascar is Christianity, most of them still believe strongly in the magic powers of their ancestors. Many of them bury the dead in coffins placed high up in caves and on the cliffs (to bring them closer to ancestors in heaven). During the ‘turning of the bones’ ceremonies, you can see families dancing with the dead relatives and taking photos with their bodies.
6. Only 11% of the country’s roads are paved.
- According to the World Bank Indicators, only 11% of the total roads (30,968 miles) are paved. Most of the roads you travel on are either extremely bumpy, had pot holes, and are muddy. During the rainy season, many of them are impassable, forming huge obstacles to travel.