Madagascar, a Tour of the Eighth Continent

Madagascar, Red Island, Rainbow Island, the eighth continent, there are many names for the fourth largest island in the world. Madagascar is located in the south-western part of the Indian Ocean east of the coast of Africa about 400 km off the coast of Mozambique. The island is recognized as one of the ten best in the world for biodiversity.

Madagascar is inhabited by several Maleo-Indonesian ethnic groups, mixed of an African and Arab descent.

In October 1958, the Republic of Madagascar was proclaimed an autonomous state within the French community and gained full independence in 1960.

Like many former colonial countries, Madagascar has gone through various political states such as riots, interim governments, socialist economic policies, and threats of secession.

Madagascar is a geographical crossroads where traditions survive, real mergers of many cultures. Examples of this are rice terrace crops such as in Indonesia, barbarian canoes such as in Polynesia, magic books written in Arabic, Indian markets and shops. There are as many as 18 ethnic groups that populate the island today in many villages, presenting an incredible variety of features.  

Madagascar is best known for its 5,000 kilometres of fine white sandy beaches and long stretches of coral reefs, and its seabed, rich in fish, attracts more and more visitors and lovers of the underwater world.

Off the east coast of Madagascar lies the enchanting island of Sainte Marie, narrow and elongated in shape, where there are pretty beaches lined with palm trees and sandy atolls. In the period between July and September the humpback whales approach the waters surrounding the island for reproduction; in full respect of the quiet of the cetaceans, suggestive whale watching excursions are organized.

Being an island detached from the African continent more than 160 million years ago has built a unique flora and fauna, the isolation has encouraged the evolution of primitive species, new and unique species.

It should be noted that each region corresponds to a different type of vegetation, the regions on the east coast are mostly covered by a dense rainforest which in turn is divided into mountain forest and forest at low altitude. On the south-western coast, on the other hand, there is a dry climate in which it is possible to observe various species of baobabs with the most bizarre forms.

The flora of Madagascar is characterized by endemic species, the best known of which is undoubtedly the lemur, a suborder of primates. There are a total of 35 different species of lemur. The catta, for example, is distinguished by its long black and white striped tail.

Among the many species of mammals you can see the tenrec, the mongoose, theose and the whales. Two-thirds of the existing species of chameleons, geckos and tortoises also live here.

Among the natural resources cultivated in Madagascar there is raffia, fishing and forestry; agriculture is in fact a real pillar of the economy. It is no coincidence that it is the world’s leading supplier of vanilla, cloves and ylang-ylang. Other key resources are coffee, lychee and shrimp.

In short, the one in Madagascar is undoubtedly a journey to discover the wild and unspoiled nature where there are beaches to enjoy moments of relaxation and rest.

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