The Three Peaks, Marojejy National Park, Madagascar http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Summit_01.jpg Eric Mathieu
Madagascar is an island nation off the southeast coast of Africa. It comprises a main island and many small peripheral islands. The main island is 587,000 sq km (227,000 sq mi), making it the fourth largest island in the world. Its highest peak is Maromokotro, at 2,876 m (9,436 ft). The country has a population of 20.6 million people. Its capital and largest city is Antananarivo.
Madagascar is in the East African Time Zone, which is three hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC+3). Its official currency is called the Malagasy ariary (MGA). The traffic is driven on the right in Madagascar. The phone IDD code is +261. The official languages of Madagascar are Madagasy and French.
Baobab trees in Morondava, Madagascar http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:All%C3%A9e_des_Baobabs_near_Morondava,_Madagascar.jpg Frank Vassen
Madagascar is said to have separated from Africa in prehistoric times, some 135 million years ago. As a result of long isolation, Madagascar has developed plants and animals that are distinct and different from those found elsewhere in the world. In fact, some
80% of Madagascar's plants and animals are endemic. They include lemurs, baobab trees and orchids.
Madagascar comprised groups of villages until the late part of the 18th century, when kingdoms emerged to rule the entire island. The French colonized Madagascar from 1896 until 1960, when it became independent.
Ambalavao, Madagascar http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ambalavao_-_rue_principale03.JPG Bernard Gagnon
The political situation in the country is similar to that of many of its African neighbors, which means, it is similarly volatile, with its share of assassinations, military coups and election disputes. In 2009, the president resigned under intense pressure. Since then the new government has not been recognized by the European Union, and Madagascar's membership in the African Union has also been suspended. The political situation in the country is expected to remain somewhat volatile in the foreseeable future.
Rocks at Tsingy de Bamaraha Strict Nature Reserve, Madagascar http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tsingy_rocher.jpg Zigomar
Planning your visit to Madagascar
Due to the volatile political situation, visitors are advised to stay away from mass gatherings and public demonstrations, should they erupt anywhere in the major cities of Madagascar.
Since April 2009, tourists of any nationality may visit Madagascar without requiring a visa for up to one month. The national carrier is Air Madagascar. It provides connection between Antananarivo with Paris and Milan, among others.
Andringitra National Park, Madagascar http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Andringitra,_Madagascar_by_Effervescing_Elephant-10.jpg Chris
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