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Sunday, 8 April 2012

Madagascar : Country Of Lemurs, Highest number of Chameleons.

Madagascar :

Madagascar, an island in the Indian Ocean off the southeastern coast of Africa, is the fourth-largest island in the world.

On October 14, 1958, Madagascar was proclaimed an autonomous state within the French community. This provisional government ended in 1959 with the adoption of a new constitution and on June 26, 1960, gained full independence.

After Madagascar gained its independence, assassinations, military coups and disputed elections followed.

In a military coup in 1975, Didier Ratsiraka took power and ruled until 2001, except for a short period of time when he was ousted in the early 1990’s. In the presidential elections in December, 2001, both Ratsiraka and Marc Ravalomanana claimed victory. Eight months later, following violence and economic disruption, a recount was held and Ravalomanana was declared president.

Andry Rajoelina.

Malagasy politician who was the President of Madagascar from 2002 to 2009

In January 2009, a power struggle began between Marc Ravalomanana and Andry Rajoelina, former mayor of the capital, Antananarivo. On March 17, 2009 Ravalomanana resigned and assigned his powers to a military council loyal to him. The military supported Rajoelina and called Ravalomanana’s move a ploy.

The European Union, along with other international entities, refuses to recognize the new government.

Two-thirds of the population lives below the international poverty line of US$1.25 a day. In 2000, Madagascar embarked on a poverty reduction strategy. Its sources of growth are light manufacturing, tourism and textile. It is the world’s leading producer and exporter of vanilla. The tourism marketing focuses on the eco-tourism with its biodiversity, natural habitats and lemurs.

·    Official Name Republic of Madagascar
·    Population 19,110,941
·    Capital City Antananarivo (pop. 1,403,449)
·    Currency Malagasy Franc
·    Languages French (official), Malagasy (official)
Religions Traditional beliefs, Christian, Muslim

Land Area 581,540 sq km (224,533 sq miles)

Fronted by reefs, the low-lying coastal areas of South Africa's land rises (with a few exceptions) into a mostly level plateau, one criss-crossed by hills, mountains and shallow valleys in the east and northeast.

The Drakensberg (or Dragon Mountains) are the highest mountain range in Southern Africa, rising to over 11,000 ft) in height.

Latitude/Longitude 17° 21' 0 S, 49° 7' 60 E

The coolest months in Madagascar are July-October (winter-spring).

The rainy season is November-April when it generally rains only at night or in the morning.

The climate varies by region: Coastal areas are warm, humid and tropical, while the south is almost always dry. From late January through March, the eastern edge of the country is subject to cyclones and lots of rain.

Lemurs of Madagascar

Major Facts of Madagascar:

1) Madagascar is the fourth largest island in the world. Its coastline is as long as 4828 km.

2) Mountains are situated in the center of the island, the highest being Maromokotro, which is as high as 2876m. Madagascar has a narrow coastal plain. It is the world's largest producer and exporter of vanilla.


3) The majority of the people in the country have indigenous beliefs with regard to religion. This follows a relationship between the living and the dead.

4) Madagascar boasts of unique flora and fauna, majority of which is not found anywhere else in the world.
The country is also referred to as the Red Island, due to the red color of its soil.

Plant life Flora The large Adansonia Grandidieri is Madagascar's best known
Chamelion in Red Island

5) The Royal Hill of Ambohimanga is a World Heritage site and consists of a royal city, burial site and a number of sacred places.

Royal Hill of Ambohimanga

6) The highest point in Madagascar is Maromokotro. As much as 5% land of the country is under cultivation. Crops including coffee, vanilla, sugarcane, cloves, cocoa, rice, cassava (tapioca), beans, bananas and peanuts are grown here. Livestock products are also grown in the island.

Terraced rice paddies Madagascar's Haus Plateaux-new

Andringitra landscape

7) Nearly half of the land of Madagascar is covered with forest.Due to soil erosion and deforestation, many of the plants and animals found in the island have been categorized as endangered species.

Male panther chameleon-new

Red ruffed Lemur

The Fossa is closely related to a Mongoose, and is only alive in Madagascar. It is the largest predator in Madagascar

 8) There are a lot of variations in the climatic conditions of the entire island. While the east coast receives monsoon, the climate is wetter in the northern part of the country and the southern tip is covered with cactus-like plants, which give a semi-deserted look to the portion.

Nosy Mangabe coastline

9) It would be interesting to know that as much as 52% of the total population of Madagascar follows animist beliefs, while 41% follows Christianity. The remaining popular predominantly follows Islam.

Animism encompasses the beliefs that there is no separation between the spiritual and physical (or material) world, and souls or spirits exist, not only in humans, but also in all other animals, plants, rocks, geographic features such as mountains or rivers, or other entities of the natural environment. Animism may further attribute souls to abstract concepts such as words, true names, or metaphors in mythology. Examples of Animism can be found in forms of Shinto, Hinduism, Buddhism, Pantheism, Paganism, and Neopaganism.

Church in the Tsaranoro Valley

10) Over the years, the country has emerged as a hot tourist spot, largely due to the hospitality of its residents and the means of entertainment adopted by them, to amuse their guests.

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