MADAGASCAR


Quick Facts:

CAPITAL CITY: Antananarivo
POPULATION: 24.89 million
CLIMATE: Tropical Climate
LANGUAGE: Malagasy, English
RELIGION: Christianity
CURRENCY: Malagasy Ariary

TOURIST ARRIVALS: Tourist Arrivals in Madagascar averaged 19668.70 from 2008 until 2017, reaching an all time high of 42471 in November of 2016 and a record low of 9526 in February of 2009. The tourism sector generated $702 million in 2016. Tourism is a key source of foreign exchange for Madagascar. Numbers dived after the 2009 coup but were boosted after democratic elections were held in 2013.

BRIEF HISTORY
Madagascar is in the Indian Ocean, southeast of the coast of Africa. Madagascar is the fourth largest island in the world. Until about 2,000 years ago Madagascar was uninhabited. Then Indonesian people arrived. About 800 AD the Arabs started sailing to Madagascar. The first European to reach Madagascar was a Portuguese called Diogo Dias in 1500. However at first Europeans showed little interest in the island although pirates used it as a base in the 17th century. In the early 19th century a kingdom called Merina took over most of the island. Their king, Radama I established relations with the British and allowed Christian missionaries to preach to the people. However in 1890 Britain gave up all claim to Madagascar and recognised it as in the French sphere of influence. France formally annexed Madagascar in 1896. When France surrendered to Germany in 1940 a puppet government was formed in Vichy. At first Madagascar was under the control of Vichy but in 1942 it surrendered to the British. After the war Madagascar was handed back to France. In 1947 the people of Madagascar again rose in rebellion against French rule but they were crushed. However in 1958 Madagascar became autonomous. It became completely independent on 26 June 1960. Philibert Tsiranana was the first president.

HERITAGE
Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict Nature Reserve;
This is a nature reserve located near the western coast of Madagascar in Melaky Region. The area was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990 due to the unique geography, preserved mangrove forests, and wild bird and lemur populations.

Ambohimanga;
Ambohimanga is a hill and traditional fortified royal settlement (rova) in Madagascar, located approximately 24 kilometers northeast of the capital city of Antananarivo. The hill and the rova that stands on top are considered the most significant symbol of the cultural identity of the Merina people and the most important and best preserved monument of the precolonial Merina Kingdom. The walled historic village includes residences and burial sites of several key monarchs. The site, one of the twelve sacred hills of Imerina, is associated with strong feelings of national identity and has maintained its spiritual and sacred character both in ritual practice and the popular imagination for at least four hundred years. It remains a place of worship to which pilgrims come from Madagascar and elsewhere.

The site has been politically important since the early 18th century, when King Andriamasinavalona (1675–1710) divided the Kingdom of Imerina into four quadrants and assigned his son Andriantsimitoviaminiandriana to govern the northeastern quadrant, Avaradrano, from its newly designated capital at Ambohimanga. The division of Imerina led to 77 years of civil war.

The Rainforests of the Atsinanana;
These rainforests are a World Heritage Site that was inscribed in 2007 and consists of 13 specific areas in six national parks in the eastern part of Madagascar namely, Marojejy National Park, Masoala National Park, Zahamena National Park, Ranomafana National Park, Andringitra National Park and Andohahela National Park The Rainforests of the Atsinanana are distributed along the eastern part of the island. These relict forests are critically important for maintaining continuing ecological processes necessary for the survival of Madagascar’s unique biodiversity, which reflects the island’s geological history. Having completed its separation from all other land masses more than 60 million years ago, Madagascar’s plant and animal life evolved in isolation. The rainforests are important to both ecological and biological processes as well as for the biodiversity and the threatened species they support. Many species are rare and threatened especially lemurs and other primates.

Cliff and Caves of Isandra;
The steep granite cliff of Isandra which rises abruptly from the surrounding rice fields is the product of differentiated erosion that has perforated the surface of the cliff with numerous caves. Some of these caverns were incorporated into a fortified village inhabited in the 17th and 18th centuries, while others were utilized to entomb the dead.

NATIONAL PARKS AND PROTECTED AREAS
1. Ambatovaky Reserve
2. Amber Forest Reserve
3. Amber Mountain National Park
4. Ambohijanahary Reserve
5. Ambohitantely Reserve
6. Analamazaotra Special Reserve
7. Analamerana Reserve
8. Andasibe-Mantadia National Park
9. Andohahela National Park
10. Andranomena Reserve

WATER BODIES
1. Acookoto River
2. Bemarivo River
3. Betsiboka River
4. Bombetoka River
5. Ihosy River
6. Ikopa River
7. Ivondro River
8. Mahajamba River
9. Manambolo River
10. Mananara River