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Most Viewed Favorites in Madagascar

  • Norali's Profile Photo

    Madagascar embassies and consulates over the world

    by Norali Updated Feb 11, 2006

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    Favorite thing: Maybe interesting for your trip preparation: a website containing all Madagascar consulates and embassies.

    http://www.madagascar-consulate.org/embassies-world.html

    A Malagasy embassy will soon open in London. Up to now, Madagascar embassy in Paris has tackled matters related to Madagascar in UK. Update on Feb. 2006, it has been some time since the Madagascar consulate in London opened.

    Fondest memory: - family
    - garden, flowers at home
    - traditional Merina architecture

    Orchids, one of emblemas of Madagascar A village in Northern Tana, Jan-Feb summer season Rice cultivation is essential (here: harvesting)
    Related to:
    • Backpacking
    • Business Travel
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons

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    Regions in Faritanin'i Mahajanga

    by Norali Updated Jul 7, 2007

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    Favorite thing: UNDER CONSTRUCTION

    Faritanin' i Mahajanga occupies a long territory West of the island. Used to be referred as the Boina region, it, however comprehends other regions inhabited by other tribes. The new official partition in regions is a simple translation of the cultural reality. This province is now divided in 4 regions: Betsiboka, Boeny, Melaky, Sofia .

    I started posting pics in my Mahajanga page. Tips are added bit by bit...

    Fondest memory: See my Mahajanga province and city pages.

    I just discovered this wesite, kind of interesting, about the province of Mahajanga. Browse it, you would find interesting info about tourism in the area (in French): www.majunga.org

    Faritanin' i Mahajanga (N-W; W)
    Related to:
    • Business Travel
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
    • Road Trip

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    Regions in Faritanin' Antananarivo

    by Norali Updated Jul 7, 2007

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    Favorite thing: Faritanin' Antananarivo is the capital city' s province. It is located in the Highlands, in the center of Madagascar & mainly inhabited by Merina peoples. "Merina" means "Those who live in the heights". The region uses to be named "Imerina" as well whilst it actually comprehends other regions inhabited by other tribes. The new official partition in regions is a simple translation of the cultural reality. This province is now divided in 4 regions: Analamanga (region of the Merina), Bongolava, Itasy, Vakinankaratra.

    Some of these regions share the Highlands (altitude varying from 700 to 2800m) with Sihanaka (Eastern part of Highlands), Betsileo (Fianarantsoa province), Tanala, Bara (Fianarantsoa and Toliara provinces) peoples.

    Landscape is made of hills and plains (that house acres of ricefields), with wide ranges of red, green shades. Red shades come from red earth, orange bricks as ricefields, grass on hills display several shades of green depending on growing of rice plants. The region counts many sacred lakes as well. Some of them resulted from past vulcano activities (cratera lake Tritriva, for instance). Beware, many fady in those spots...

    Due to height, climate there is fresher than anywhere else in Madagascar. From March to October, winter nights (0°C in Antsirabe) but noon temperature can reach 25°C. Rainy and hot from November till March.

    Fondest memory: Roadtrips.. lunar landscape through Andringitra massif (see my Faritanin' Antananarivo page for that).. Soil burning *sigh*.. Fog on winter mornings

    See my pages on cities of:
    - Antananarivo city (Ambohimanga and Ambohidrabiby included)
    - Antsirabe city
    to have my feelings on those cities... You won't be deceived

    Faritanin' Antananarivo (Center)
    Related to:
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    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons

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    Regions in Faritanin'i Toliara (Toliara province)

    by Norali Updated Jul 7, 2007

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    Favorite thing: UNDER CONSTRUCTION

    The new official partition in regions lists 4 regions in this Faritany: Androy, Anosy, Atsimo Andrefana, Menabe.

    Fondest memory: Please note that 3 albums are dedicated to my "Big South Journey" and tips related to them are in my Madagascar pages. Big South Journey is this roadtrip from Tana to Toliara surroundigs.

    Faritanin' i Toliara (S- SW)
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    • National/State Park

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    Regions in the Faritanin'i Fianarantsoa

    by Norali Updated Jul 7, 2007

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    Favorite thing: Known as the Betsileo province, located in the center of Madagascar & mainly inhabited by Betsileo peoples. However, Eastern parts of the province (East coast) are home of Tanala ("those who live in forests"), Antambahoaka, Antaimoro ("those who live in the banks") & Antefasy ("those who live in sandy areas") peoples. In Ambositra area, Zafimaniry families, traditional woodcraftsmen, adjoin with Tanala peoples in the forests. The new official partition in regions is a simple translation of the cultural reality. This province is now divided in 5 regions: Amoron'i Mania, Atsimo Atsinanana, Haute Matsiatra, Ihorombe, Vatovavy Fitovinany.

    Betsileo & Tanala share the Highlands (altitude varying from 700 to 2800m) with Sihanaka (Eastern part of Highlands) & Bara (Fianarantsoa & Toliara provinces) peoples.

    Landscape is made of hills & plateau, includes Andringitra massif. Like anywhere else in Highlands, red shades come from red earth, orange bricks. Ricefields terraces, grass on hills display many shades of green depending on the rice growing. That was for Highlands.
    As for the Eastern parts, they include villages that are edged by Lakandranon' Ampanalana on one hand & Indian ocean on another hand. Nice shores.
    And of course, don't forget that Fianar is the gate to South. Amazing landscapes are in my 3 albums dedicated to my "Big South Journey". This is the province where Eastern rainforests adjoin with bush and desert areas, those of Southern parts.

    Due to height, climate in the Highlands part is fresh in winter. March-Oct., winter nights but noon temperature can reach 25°C. Rainy & hot in Nov.- March.
    In Eastern parts (East coast), climate is unpredictable. These are the rainiest parts of the Island. In rainy season (Jan- March), water and winds just combine their powerful actions with strong hurricanes (cyclones) that devastate everything. April & May, far less rain & bright sun. June-Oct., those kind of sudden heavy but short rains in sunny weather.

    Fondest memory: See my pages on Fianarantsoa province as well as my pages on Fianarantsoa city.

    Fondest memories: "Big South Journey".
    Please note that 3 albums are dedicated to my "Big South Journey". They include pictures and comments on Fianarantsoa. Find them amongst below Tlogues. Enjoy!

    Faritanin' i Fianarantsoa (Center- SE)
    Related to:
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    • Jungle and Rain Forest
    • Road Trip

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    Regions in Faritanin' i Toamasina

    by Norali Updated Jul 7, 2007

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    Favorite thing: Faritanin' i Toamasina is located on Eastern coast & edged with Indian Ocean. It stretches from Antongila Bay (North) to Nosy Varika. Toamasina is the Malagasy first port city.

    Mainly inhabited by Betsimisaraka (for main parts), it comprehends other tribes such as Bezanozano (Western part of Moramanga), Sihanaka (Ambatondrazaka region). It has been common to assimilate this province with Betsimisaraka. The new official partition in regions is a simple translation of the cultural reality. This province is now divided in 3 regions: Alaotra Mangoro, Analanjirofo, Atsinanana. Btw, "Betsimisaraka" means "those who cannot be divided".

    Landscape is made of rainforests in the inland and superb beach shores. Deep rainforests use to house several species of lemurs, orchids, birds. Nonetheless, they are endangered since hurricanes, torrential rains, floods and Man contributed in destroying such wonders... WWF and Malagasy government implemented programs to protect nature and last remnants of the whole deep forest that covered Madagascar in the past. Note its nickname turning from "Blue Island" into "Red Island" after the past 30-year communist regime & the red earth that replaced deep blue forests.

    Not to forget as well that the French fit out Lakandranon' Ampanalana known as Canal des Pangalanes. Rivers, lakes, pounds were "merged" so as to make it easy to convey goods and develop trade between coastal cities in a large channel... 700 km accessible by boat, pirogue...

    This is the rainiest & most unpredictable part of the Island. In rainy season (Jan- March), water & winds just combine their powerful actions with strong hurricanes (cyclones) that devastate everything. Ap.-May, far less rain and bright sun. June-Oct., those kind of sudden, heavy but short rains in sunny weather. They just leave sky clear, bright sun and smoky earth. All of that just comes in unpredictable ways since climate changes in Mada & elsewhere.

    Fondest memory: See my Toamasina province page as well as pages on cities of:
    - Toamasina
    - Mahavelona
    - "Heading East" I, II Tlogues in Faritanin'i Toamasina pages

    Lakandranon' Ampanalana is my fondest memory of this part of the island. See my "Off the beaten path tips" in Faritanin'i Toamasina as well...

    Faritanin' i Toamasina (E)
    Related to:
    • Business Travel
    • Road Trip
    • National/State Park

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  • Norali's Profile Photo

    When to go to Madagascar?

    by Norali Updated May 23, 2003

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    Favorite thing: Tricky question: I would say "year- round" .. hehe... Well, depends on your interests:

    * Seeing reptiles - amphibians: best during rainy season: January through March. Though they are present year-round.

    * Photo Safari lovers, Madagascar is a photographers paradise and is beautiful year-round. April and May are best months, after the rains, flora is green and luxuriant.

    * Interested in whale-watching? Go there from July through September in the Bay of Antongila, Nosy Boraha, Lokaro.

    * Lemurs: September and October when the new babies are born.

    * Birders, Choose September to December (breeding season) which is the most suitable time to find them as they are more vocal. Though visits before and after this period have also proved to be good, especially in the south and the west.

    * Sun, sand, snorkeling, diving and fishing: year-round.

    Please note that as for weather, Southern winter, April- October, is the best time to go. Summer (November to March), also known as hurricane season, is the sticky and sometimes unbearably hot one. Yet, Madagascar experiences a wide climatic range, central highlands can still be pleasant during summer. Rainy East coast gets most of its rain between June and September.

    I remember of rain in Toamasina: weather was sunny, hot and suddenly, heavy rain poured (no storm, no thunder) for, say, 10 minutes and my clothes had time to dry while I was walking in the street.

    Fondest memory: Christmas mass at Anglican cathedral in Ambohimanoro - Christmas celebration

    Newborn sifaka Lemur w/ Mum... October Cascades in Central Highlands Triotrio, a Malagasy bergeronnette Male fody w/ red robe during mating season: summer
    Related to:
    • Birdwatching
    • National/State Park
    • Whale Watching

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    Ravinala, the travellers' tree

    by Norali Updated May 11, 2005

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    Favorite thing: Do you know any other country that has a tree dedicated to travellers? *LOL*
    This is amongst reasons to visit Madagascar.
    More genuinely, it is a plant that is related to banana tree. A little cut in its trunk will provide you with fresh water since its "arms" use to store rain water... In the past, travellers did that. Nowadays, there are stalls or outlets with bottled water (for you, bottle cap has to be sealed).

    By the way, many countries in the world have become to have this tree but it originates from Madagascar. Anyway, Air Madagascar (Airmad) has a ravinala motif as its emblem...

    On my picture, Ravinala trees seem to wave a goodbye on a return from East coast city (Toamasina). Isn'it romantic?

    Fondest memory: Road trips in lush forests (see my travel while heading to East coast for that: "Heading East") as well those in desert areas (see my "Big South Journey" Tlogs)
    - "Heading East" Tlogues in my Faritanin'i Toamasina page
    - "Big South Journey I, II, III" below Tlogs

    by RKAB
    Related to:
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
    • Road Trip
    • Backpacking

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  • Norali's Profile Photo

    Why Madagascar?

    by Norali Updated Feb 11, 2006

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    Favorite thing: Probably one of greatest trips in current era. Go there for stunning geographical and human diversities.

    North-west cities use to house mosques, shores that remind you of past Arabic sea adventurers. In center, highlands and plateaux, ricefields remind you of Asia and South-American andes. Eastern rainforests, sometimes, adjoin with bush and desert areas, those of Southern parts.

    On top of that, endemic fauna and flora... say 5 of 6 baobab species in the whole Africa. Lemurs, gigantic butterflies and chamilions of all kinds. Thousands of medicinal plants (even the very one used in cancer treatments). This unique and varied nature is, however, under threaten. Man, unaware of the Island uniqueness, used to burn steppes, forests, chop trees for profit and, therefore, exterminate endangered species... Thanks to awareness arising, efforts are made to preserve nature's future .. thus man's future. Makes me think that there is still hope for the future.

    And peoples... great peoples living into extreme poverty on one hand, wealthy ones who live in opulence on another hand... Still, Malagasy people remain friendly, smiling, trying to hold on to their dignity despite decades of oppression and poverty... Seems that it is changing so as to give much hope for the future there as well.

    Fondest memory: Diversity and smiles

    Our orchid flora counts endemic & shared species Go to Madagascar to see more than that (by Norali) A rural village under a summer thin rain
    Related to:
    • Business Travel
    • Jungle and Rain Forest
    • Road Trip

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    Think "Region" not "Province"

    by Norali Updated Jul 7, 2007

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    Favorite thing: This Indian Ocean Island of mine is located East of Mozambica coast ( least distance between Mada & Africa is about 400 km ). Size is as 18 times as much as Belgium's, 1.5 times as UK's or some 587 000 km². 18 millions of inhabitants, Malagasy people.

    * Antananarivo as capital city (my city).

    * Until lately, 6 provinces (Faritany). New official arrangement lists 22 regions. Analamanga, Bongolava, Itasy, Vakinankaratra (from the Antananarivo province); Diana, Sava (from Antsiranana); Amoron'i Mania, Atsimo Atsinanana, Haute Matsiatra, Ihorombe, Vatovavy Fitovinany (from the Fianarantsoa's); Betsiboka, Boeny, Melaky, Sofia (from the Mahajanga's); Alaotra Mangoro, Analanjirofo, Atsinanana (from the Toamasina's); Androy, Anosy, Atsimo Andrefana, Menabe (from the Toliara's).
    Whilst the artificial partition in province was introduced by colonials, cultural reality has one day to prevail. The current 22-region-partition is simply a translation of the peaceful coexistence of 22 tribes within an island. Here & more than ever, difference means wealth.

    The VT database still runs the old scheme with Faritanin' Antananarivo; Faritanin' i Toamasina; Faritanin' i Fianarantsoa; Faritanin' Antsiranana; Faritanin' i Mahajanga; Faritanin' i Toliara ... Not to be mixed up with their main towns: Antananarivo; Toamasina; Fianarantsoa; Antsiranana; ´Mahajanga; Toliara cities.

    * Ooops, I forgot!... 5000 km of beach: yellow sand, grey sand, white sand...

    Fondest memory: * Landscape ranges from rainforest areas to desert. Rain uses to mould the Island landscape. Dry, yellow-grass steppes and savanna in inland may turn green in rainy seasons. East coast is the most humid area as West coast is the driest. Plains alternate with hills and rocky mountains.

    This unique and varied nature that spreads over these 6 provinces, is, however, under threaten. Man, unaware of the Island uniqueness, used to burn steppes, forests, chop trees for profit and, therefore, exterminate endangered species... Thanks to awareness arising, efforts are made to preserve nature's future .. thus man's future.

    Also a hope for the future

    Picture shows posy - posy, pousse-pousse or ricksaw. Its use is widely spread all over the area. Whilst it is used for conveying goods in Tana area, elsewhere, it is used for people's transportation. Quite in each province's capital city, you can hire posy in urban areas.

    Posy-posy (ricksaw) is commonly used in Mada
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    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons

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    History buffs, something for you

    by Norali Written May 9, 2005

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    Favorite thing: I am currently reading a history book on Madagascar. It is the first (and so far, the only one I've ever heard of) to be released in English. It explains a lot: from the origins of Madagascarian (Malagasy) people, through the occupation of the island, the kingdoms, early contacts with Europeans, French colonial era to nowadays Madagascar. Some anecdots may enlighten on local customs and culture as well.

    It is "A history of Madagascar" by Sir Meryn BROWN, a former British ambassador in Madagascar. ISBN 09506284 5 X

    Fondest memory: History... Ambohimanga played an important role in Antananarivo, Merina clan histories and so the sacred hill did even on Madagascar's.

    Picture: view on the Laniera plains that Nampoina had fit for rice cultivation. The plains extends in Northern Tana area.. surrounding Ambohimanga, Malaza, Lazaina, Sabotsy-Namehana, Anosy.. many of those areas being part of Ambohimanga municipailty. Malaza, my village is.

    Rice cultivation: landscape, tradition, food
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Arts and Culture
    • Castles and Palaces

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  • nepalgoods's Profile Photo

    The Island

    by nepalgoods Written Jun 12, 2004

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    Favorite thing: Madagascar is the fourth biggest island of the world. It has been separated very early from the African continent. The island has been isolated for millions of years. That way an unique fauna and flora could develop.

    To get an overview of Madagascar's plants and animals I recommend to visit the zoo in Tana, the capital of Madagascar. Please see my Antananarivo-page for more about the zoo!

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    Know and respect fady, Madagascar interdicts...

    by Norali Updated Apr 10, 2004

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    Favorite thing: Before entering Madagascar, get to know how people may react. On your arrival, at least, ask a briefing on local do's- don't do's... Especially forbidden things (fady), places you cannot go, pics you cannot take, pounds you cannot bath in... or at least, without asking local spiritual authorities... Pay careful attention to what guides tell you on access to some spots, Malagasy people are real believers, not only in christianism.. but in traditional beliefs as well. Seeing tourists (and locals) trangressing taboos and interdicts really offences Malagasy people though they may warn you with a smile.

    Many fadys while visiting Isalo National park as one believes Isalo is home of Malagasy spirit.. as rocks use to house graves in that part of the island.. So, beware of what is forbidden (access to some places). Always go with a guide that would translate if needed. Note that subjects related to death, soul and spirit are important in Malagasy culture...

    Andraikiba lake fady: no pork meat.
    Other sites have other types of fady as well. In most areas, you do not have to point out tombs...

    Fondest memory: Traditional wisdom. Having left the country at 17, I, sometimes, need to listen to elder people talking about traditional wisdom, belief... I also miss the smile on people's face.. a discreet smile to say you were wrong or to ask for forgiveness when they are wrong... a beaming smile to welcome you, to invite you to join them for dinner.

    Ask before taking pictures (Marc)
    Related to:
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    • Historical Travel
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    Climate

    by nepalgoods Updated Jun 12, 2004

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    Favorite thing: Madagaskar has landscapes from desert to rain forest. Like this the weather is very diverse. But don't go in February!! Then it is raining almost everywhere. In February the air is very humid - at least in Tana.

    In the south are the deserts, where it does not rain much in years.

    Rainy season
    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking

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    Bricks

    by tompt Written Oct 27, 2006

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    Favorite thing: Traditional houses in Madagascar are built from wood or clay. In the north we saw most houses were built from wood with leaves for roofs. In the hills south of Antananarivo it was mostly clay in the color of the soil, sometimes red sometimes more yellowish.
    Today we see a new method the brick. Driving east from Tana we found a brick factory. Molds were filled with clay and than dried in the sun. After that they were piled up with straw in between. The straw was lighted and the bricks were baked this way. It was a very labor intensive method, because the bricks have to be transported (on the head) several times to the several stages.

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