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is a site dedicated to the beauty of Madagascar

Madagascar was one of the last habitable landmasses to have been settled by man, with most authorities agreeing that the first settlers arrived on outrigger canoes from Polynesia, Melanesia and Indonesia about 2000 years ago.

The original inhabitants, the Vazimba, were likely absorbed into the contemporary tribes. Where Indonesian influence is noticeable is the use of agricultural techniques like rice cultivation, modes of transport such as “balancier pirogue” and four-cornered dwellings (an Asian architectural style which predominates over round huts in Africa). Later influences came from Africa and from Arab traders sailing south from East Africa in search of convenient bases for the slave trade.

Europe discovered Madagascar on 10 August 1500, when the Portuguese sailor Diego Dias inadvertently ended up on Madagascar’s coats. It was only when he was on his way back home that he realized that the place where he landed was not Africa, and he names the landmass St Laurent. Though frequently suppressed by the French, Malagasy nationalism grew under colonial rule, until in the 1940s and 1950s when there was marked discontent among the Malagasy towards the French. Demands for independence grew after World War II. A referendum was held in 1958 and on 26 June 1960 the country gained independence.

The Second Republic of Madagascar had two presidents: the first was Richard Ratsimandrava and Admiral Didier Ratsiraka. In 1991, after 16 years of dictatorship, there was a series of strikes which brought the Malagasy economy to a virtual standstill. On February 1993 Professor Albert Zafy, a surgeon, became president of the Third Republic, Republic de Madagascar. In 1996 Prof Zafy was removed from office and Didier Ratsiraka reinstated as president for another 5 years.

December 2001 elections would eventually bring the country to a spectacular halt – supporters of two leading candidates – Ratsiraka and the Mayor of Antananarivo, Marc Ravalomanana – clashed to the point of civil arrest. After recount of the votes Ravalomanana was inaugurated as president on May 2002. Ratsiraka however refused to step down and moved to Toamasina (for a brief period Madagascar had two presidents and two capitals). Marc Ravalomanana – the first Merina ever to be elected president – was re-elected for a second, 5-year term after a win in December 2006.

Malagasy social life is centred around “fihavanana”, a philosophy based on respect of family links and tradition, altruism, tolerance and blessing from the ancestors (razana). Various rites or events mark the Malagasy path, from birth to physical death and beyond. These include “famorana” (circumcision), “vodiondry” (the engagement ceremonial), and “famadihana” (exhumation or second burial).

An island of the Indian Ocean situated in the south-east of Africa, Madagascar has been defined a "nature sanctuary". Over the 90% of the Madagascan animal and vegetal species are endemic species, unique in the world. In order to safeguard the natural richness of the island, some areas have been declared "protected areas".

Best tourist destinations in Madagascar

Those who want to enjoy a one-of-a-kind adventure must head to Madagascar. This impressive land of contrast displays stunning forest lodges, seaside resorts, heavenly landscapes and unique flora and fauna that will turn your experience in an unforgettable vacation. There are many beautiful places you should visit on this island country, besides its famous beaches and stone forests. Spend several weeks in Madagascar and discover the hidden treasures within this magical place.

Madagascar: life on the edge

Plan your trip to Madagascar and make sure you will not miss one of the most popular tourist destinations in this country: the world’s largest stone forest. Grand Tsingy stone forest will delight you with the views of the eroded rocks that stand tall under the endless ski. Tropical rain is the great artist that carved in these rocks which are explored by 11 species of gorgeous lemurs. Look up towards the sharp limestone peak in this stone forest and you might get the chance to see a couple of white-legged lemurs.

Stroll on the Avenue of the Baobabs and let the unique Baobab trees be your witnesses when you will relieve from stress and remember your first experience with Whether you are an hour away from Morondava, in Ifaty or in other beautiful place within Madagascar, these mystical trees will sure astonish you. Move to Haute-Ville to admire the architecture, brick houses and charming balconies with tumbling plants then visit Tana’s Rova for the imposing palace that was built around the year 1600.

You cannot miss Parc National d’Ankarafantsika if you arrive in Madagascar. This huge place spreads on 130,026 hectares and provides excellent wildlife viewing. As the last strand of dry western deciduous forest in Madagascar, Ankarafantsika should be visited between May and November if you want to get the most out of this experience. You will get to see lemurs, fish eagles, small iguanas, rhinoceros chameleons, big-headed turtles, boa constrictor snakes and many other animals.

Drive to Tulear and you will discover here one of the best kept gems in Madagascar. Arboretum d’Antsokay houses a collection of 900 species of plants on a 400,000 square-metre surface. Venture in the bungalows, find interesting facts about plants you did not know they existed, stroll in the small museum then go for a shopping session or to relax at the pool.

Enchanting moments in Madagascar

After hitting the beach in Anakao and Diego travel to Antananarivo, the capital city of Madagascar and take pleasure in the crazy nightlife. Because this city reflects the mystery of the country and its Malagasy inhabitants, it will charm you from the first glaze. Photograph the multicoloured houses that cascade down the hillside, shop from the local markets and climb up the Royal Hill of Ambohimanga. Shop for some hand-crafted souvenirs, take a wildlife tour in Reserve of Andasibe then soak up the art in Centre Culturel Albert Camus.

Just a couple of weeks would not be enough to explore the best of Madagascar. Plan your trip thoroughly and make sure you will have a truly remarkable adventure!

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