Madagascar Destinations Travel Guide



Language: Malagasy, French, English

Currency: Malagasy ariary (MGA)

Calling Code: +261


Madagascar, officially the Republic of Madagascar, is an island country located in the Indian Ocean, off the southeastern coast of the African continent, east of Mozambique. It is also the largest island in Africa and the fourth largest in the world, and is formed by small and numerous islands. It is separated from the mainland by the Mozambique channel. Formerly the island was united to the African continent, from which it separated. Its isolation has favored the conservation in its territory of many unique species in the world, 80% of them endemic to the island. The most notable are the lemurs (an infraorder of primates), the carnivorous pit, five endemic families of birds and six endemic species of baobabs. Madagascar is in the list of mega-diverse countries, Madagascar is Madagascan and Malagasy is the national language, French is its second language. The majority of its inhabitants have traditional beliefs, are Christians, or an amalgamation of both.

Madagascar belongs to the group of least developed countries, according to the United Nations. Ecotourism and agriculture, together with increased investments in education, health and private enterprise, are key elements of Madagascar's development strategy. However, these benefits were not distributed evenly throughout the population, producing tensions over the rising cost of living and the decline in the standard of living among the poor and some segments of the middle class. In 2017, the political and economic crisis 2009-2013 has weakened the economy and the quality of life remains low for the majority of the Malagasy population.


Travel Destinations in Madagascar

Isalo National Park covers an area of 815 km² and contains 88 species of birds, 15 species of frogs, 33 species of reptiles, 14 species of mammals and 3 species of lemurs.

Perinet Rainforest is a large expanse of virgin jungles situated in the central eastern Madagascar. Much of territory of Perinet Rainforest is protected by Andasibe-Mantadia National Park that covers an area of 155 square kilometers.

Ranomafana National Park lies in the Fianarantsoa Province of Madagascar. Ranomafana National Park covers 41,600 hectares (161 square miles).

Tsingy de Bemaraha is situated in the Melaky Region on the Western Coast of Madagascar.



In the Malagasy language, the island of Madagascar is called Madagasikara ([madaɡasˈkʲarə̥]), and its inhabitants are called “Malagasy” (an outdated Francophone version is “Malgasy”, Malag. foko malagasy). At the same time, the toponym "Madagascar" does not have a local origin, but arose in Europe in the Middle Ages. So, the famous Venetian traveler Marco Polo mentions the name Madageiscar in his notes, but it has nothing to do with the island, but is a distorted transliteration of the name of the Somali port of Mogadishu, with which Polo confused the island. It appears that no Malagasy name prior to Madagasicara was used by the local population to refer to the island, although some communities had their own name for the area in which they lived.


History of Madagascar

Radiocarbon analysis of the bones of flightless birds of epiornisis (Aepyornis) with traces of cutting showed that the marks left during the cutting of birds with stone tools have an age of approx. 10.5 thousand years.

By archaeological standards, the settlement of Madagascar occurred relatively recently. Madagascar was inhabited around the 200s-500s. e., the colonists from the Austronesian peoples, who got there by canoe. This theory is supported by many parallels between the Austronesian culture and the culture of the inhabitants of Madagascar, for example, a special type of canoe or a special method of growing rice, as well as the close relationship between the Malagasy language and the language of the population of the southern part of the island of Kalimantan and genetic research carried out at the beginning of the 21st century. There is no evidence of Austronesian colonization of mainland Africa.

Around the same time or somewhat later, settlers from the Bantu tribes moved to the island through the Mozambique Channel. At the same time, new arrivals occupied mainly coastal territories, while the descendants of the Austronesians lived in the middle of the island. Genetic studies have shown that the confluence of the Austronesian and African populations began around the 10th century, as a result of which a people formed with the self-name of malagasy.

In the VII century, with the arrival of the Arabs on the island, written references to Madagascar begin.

The name of the island was given by the famous Venetian traveler Marco Polo, who casually mentioned in his notes about the island of countless treasures, called Madeigascar. Most modern researchers believe that in fact it was not about the island at all, but about the current capital of the state of Somalia - the port of Mogadishu. However, after marking the island on Italian maps as Madagascar, the name stuck and has not changed since.

Despite the widespread influence of Muslim culture on the island, Islam in Madagascar did not take root. However, some signs of Arab influence, such as patriarchy and calendar names for days, months, and seasons, still exist to this day.



The island of Madagascar is washed by the waters of the Indian Ocean and is located off the east coast of South Africa, from which it is separated by the Mozambique Channel. The highest point of the island is the extinct volcano Marumukutru (2876 m), which is located in the Tsaratanana mountain range, in the northern part of the island. The total area of ​​the state is 587,040 km². Length - about 1600 km, width - over 600 km. The central part of the island is occupied by the high-mountainous Andzafi plateau, gently descending to the west and abruptly dropping off to the lowlands of the eastern coast. In several places on the island there is a special type of landscape - scurvy (malag. tsingy) - limestone rock formations, completely dotted with vertical grooves that create many sharp corners; the preservation of these natural objects is served by the reserves of Tsingy de Bemaraha, Tsingy de Namuruka, and others.

The island can be roughly divided into five regions: the east coast, the Tsaratanana mountain range, the central highlands, the west coast, and the southwest.

High plateau
The height of the High Plateau (central highlands) is from 800 to 1800 meters above sea level. Its relief is different in different places. The highlands originate in the north from the Tsaratanana mountain range and continue to the very south, where it ends with the Ivakuani massif. Thus, the central highlands include the volcanic high-altitude plateau of Anzafi, the Ankaratra mountain range and the Ivakuani massif. The capital of the state - Antananarivo - is located in the northern part of the High Plateau, at an altitude of 1276 meters. Quite frequent seismic activity has been noted in this region.

West Coast and Southwest
The west coast is much more prone to soil erosion, and as a result, it is replete with small harbors and lagoons, especially in the northern part of the island. It was here, for the most part, that pirates settled at the turn of the 17th-18th centuries. Two major oil fields have been discovered on the west coast: Tsimiruru and Bemulanga. The southwestern region borders the massifs of Ivakuani and Isala Ruinifurme (Malag. Isala Roiniforme) and consists of two parts - the Mahafali plateau and the adjacent desert.

Rivers and lakes
The rivers of Madagascar that flow into the Indian Ocean are usually short and rapids, rich in hydropower resources, full of water throughout the year. Eastern rivers: Mananara (river), Manguru, Maninguri, Bemarivu, Ivundru and Mananzari. Rivers flowing to the west coast and pouring their waters into the Mozambique Channel are generally longer and slower flowing than their eastern counterparts, due to the flatter slope of the High Plateau towards the west. Western rivers: Sambiranu, Mahajamba, Betsibuka, Mania, North and South Mahavawi, Manguki, Unilahi, Ikupa and Mandrare.

There are several large lakes in Madagascar: Alautra, Kinkuni and Ihutri. The eastern Maninguri River also originates from Lake Alautra.

The soil
Madagascar is sometimes called the "Great Red Island" (Mal. Nosy Mena Lehibe) because of its laterite formations. Red soils dominate the entire High Plateau, but even more mineral-rich soils are observed in places of former volcanic activity. A thin "belt" of alluvial soils is observed along the entire length of the eastern coast, as well as in the mouths of the western rivers. Clay, sand and limestone are found on the west coast.

The climate of the island is formed by the southeast trade wind and the south Indian anticyclone. The island has three climate zones: a tropical monsoon climate on the east coast, a temperate maritime climate on the High Plateau, and an arid desert climate on the southern tip of the island. The west coast is noticeably drier than the east coast, as the trade winds lose moisture on the east coast and the High Plateau. Typical annual precipitation rates are 350 cm for the east coast, 140 cm for the High Plateau (in this case, for the capital of the country), 32 cm in the south of the island, on the border with the desert.


Flora and fauna

Madagascar separated from Africa about 160-165 million years ago, and from India about 65-70 million years ago. The island is extremely famous among biologists as a place of great accumulation of endemic species. Thanks to the unique conditions in Madagascar, species that became extinct in all other parts of the world lived and developed. This led to the emergence of very unusual species that occupied a variety of ecological niches. One striking example is the fossa (lat. Cryptoprocta ferox), Madagascar's largest predator among mammals. Outwardly, the fossa is similar to a representative of the cat family, and it was originally assigned to it, but its closest relatives are mongooses. Due to convergent evolution, the fossa acquired a cat-like appearance, and its extinct relatives reached the size of an ocelot. It has also been established that the entire family of Madagascar viverras comes from one ancestor, who supposedly crossed the Mozambique Channel 20-30 million years ago. It is believed that since the arrival of man on the island in the II-V centuries AD. e. many species have been exterminated, especially the representatives of the megafauna. Among the prehistoric fauna of Madagascar, the most famous are rachonavis, rajasaurus and bahariasaurus.

As a result of deforestation in Madagascar (clearing and burning of forests for agricultural land) - the consequences of rapid population growth - since the second half of the 20th century, more than 80% of the island's former forest cover has been destroyed by now, the remaining territories are prone to desertification.

endemic fauna
Madagascar is believed to have been colonized by various species of land mammals five times. Among the "colonists" the following can be distinguished: tenrecs, lemurs, Madagascar viverras, hare-lipped hamsters and the now extinct subspecies of the aardvark. Bats were also common on the island and hippos once lived.

Lemurs are a family of endemic primates with about 75 species, including 17 extinct. With the advent of man, all large lemurs were exterminated, the largest at the moment is indri, weighing about 10 kg. The extinct giant sloth lemur (lat. Archaeoindris) reached the size of a gorilla and weighed more than 200 kg. Almost all species of lemurs are on the verge of extinction and are listed in the Red Book.
Madagascar viverras are an endemic family of mammalian predators, closely related to mongooses and numbering 8 species. The family is divided into two subfamilies: mungo (lat. Galidiinae) and Malagasy civet (lat. Euplerinae). Previously, an extinct species of giant fossa (lat. Cryptoprocta spelea) existed on the island, hunting giant lemurs, however, due to the extermination of lemurs by humans, the giant fossa also died out, having lost its food supply.
Tenrecs are a non-endemic family of mammals, however, only three species are found outside Madagascar, while about 30 endemic species live in Madagascar. The family is widespread and has occupied various ecological niches on the island. For example, the marsh tenrec (lat. Limnogale mergulus) occupied the niche of a beaver and outwardly resembles a muskrat, and the small tenrec (lat. Echinops telfairi) looks extremely similar to a hedgehog.
Rodents are represented by the endemic subfamily Nesomyinae of the Nesomyidae family. Just like the tenrecs, they occupied many ecological niches, outwardly evolving into similarities of such rodents as voles, gerbils, mice, rats, and even into the likeness of a rabbit. The subfamily includes 10 genera and 14 species. Presumably, the migration of Nesomyidae ancestors occurred 20-25 million years ago.
Bats - there are about 30 species of bats on the island, half of which are endemic. 7 species are listed in the international Red Book, and one species from the genus of smooth-nosed brownies is on the verge of extinction - Scotophilus borbonicus (there is no Russian name).
Reptiles - several endemic species of chameleons are found on the island, it is also believed that Madagascar is the birthplace of day geckos, which are common, however, not only there. There are also four rare endemic species of turtles on the island: the rayed turtle, the Madagascar beak-chested turtle, the spider turtle and the flat-tailed turtle.
In terms of birds, the following three families of birds are endemic to Madagascar: two species of shepherd's partridges (lat. Mesitornithidae), five species of ground raksha (lat. Brachyptericias) and four species of philepittids (lat. Philepittidae).
Coleoptera - 109 endemic species from the genus Pogonostoma and 65 endemic species from the genus Physodeutera.
Extinct species - in addition to the mentioned giant lemurs and the giant fossa, in Madagascar there were three species of pygmy Malagasy hippos and the epiornis family (lat. Aepyornithidae) - giant flightless birds, possibly serving as a prototype of the Roc bird. Both have died out as a result of human activity. The last epiornisidae were presumably killed at the end of the 19th century.
The list of spiders of Madagascar includes a large number of endemic species.


Endemic flora

Eight plant families are endemic to Madagascar: Asteropeaceae (lat. Asteropeiaceae), Didymelaceae (lat. Didymelaceae), Didiereaceae (lat. Didiereaceae), Kaliphoraceae, Melanophyllaceae, Physenaceae (lat. Physenaceae), Sarcolenaceae (lat. Sarcolaenaceae), and Spherosepalaceae (lat. Sphaerosepalaceae).

Madagascar has issued quite a few postage stamps depicting endemic flora and fauna.

Foreign policy
Close Madagascar-French relations became the cornerstone of Madagascar's foreign policy in the early years of independence, as evidenced by the signing of fourteen agreements and conventions with France. An agreement on economic and financial cooperation, signed in June 1960, clarifies and regulates the status of Madagascar as a member of the franc area. Other economic agreements ensured the integrity of France's existing economic interests and therefore maintained that country's strong influence over the Madagascar economy. The role of Madagascarians was largely limited to the influence of decision makers in the highest echelons of government and the contribution at the grassroots level of small farmers producing food for their own consumption or for export. Other sectors generally remained the prerogative of French trading conglomerates, big farmers, or Chinese and Indian intermediaries.



The economy of Madagascar is generally regarded as developing, according to the IMF, the country's GDP in 2007 amounted to 18.120 billion dollars, and according to the World Bank 16.821 billion dollars, thus putting the republic in the world ranking at 116th and 115th places, respectively, according to the IMF , and 124th according to the CIA fact book. Per capita income in 2007 was, according to the same financial institutions, $1,068 (157th in the world) and $878 (161st).

The main sectors of the economy of Madagascar are agriculture, fishing and the cultivation of spices and spices for export. The main exports are coffee, Bourbon vanilla (Madagascar is the largest producer in the world), cocoa powder, sugar, rice, tapioca, legumes, bananas and peanuts.

Structural reforms in the economic sector began in the 1980s, mainly under pressure from foreign financial institutions, especially the World Bank. A privatization program was carried out (1988-1993), a free trade zone (English Export Processing Zone) was introduced, but a slight rise in the late 1980s was followed by a period of stagnation in 1991-1996. A secondary wave of privatization revitalized the economy in 1996-2001, but overall, living standards did not rise across the country, especially outside the cities. The political crisis of 2002, connected with the confrontation between the supporters of Didier Ratsiraka and the new president, Mark Ravalomanana, hit the country's economy hard, reducing GDP in 2002 by 12.7%. The period of 2002-2005 was marked as a time of fighting inflation and a gradual increase in GDP, not least due to foreign injections of foreign states and financial institutions.

The main sources of economic growth at present are tourism, exports of textile and light industry goods, exports of agricultural products and exports of minerals. Due to the unique fauna of the island, bio-tourism attracts more and more people from different parts of the world. Approximately 80% of the entire flora and fauna of the island are endemic, and 5% of the total species diversity of the planet live in Madagascar. The Free Trade Zones, located near Antananarivo and Antsirabe, aim to trade with the US and Europe. As natural resources, coal, ilmenite and nickel are mainly mined for export. Two large oil fields have been discovered in the south of the republic.

Madagascar and Mauritania are the last countries in the world not to use a decimal currency. Madagascar ariary is equal to five iraimbilany.

It is a member of the international organization of ACT countries.


Transport system

Air communication
There are 65 airports in Madagascar (including international airports in Madagascar, the largest airports, large airports, as well as small civilian airports in Madagascar), the largest of them is Antananarivo Ivato International Airport.



On June 26, 1960, the independence of the Malagasy Republic was proclaimed. As a result of democratic elections, the Social Democratic Party led by Philibert Tsiranana comes to power.

The neo-colonial regime of the Tsiranana government led to a sharp drop in living standards, deepening social and ethnic contradictions. The country was gripped by a deep economic crisis, there were massive anti-government demonstrations and uprisings.

Under these conditions, the government of Tsiranana was forced to transfer power to the military on May 18, 1972. The new government was headed by General Gabriel Ramanantsua. The Ramanantsua government revised the unequal Franco-Malagasy agreements of 1960 and in 1973 signed new ones that affirmed the sovereignty of Madagascar and the withdrawal of French troops from the country. The activity of foreign capital was limited and control over export-import operations was introduced.

In 1975, the reactionary forces, with the support of some army officers and the police, raised an armed rebellion. In February 1975, the Ramanantsua government resigned. After another coup organized by a group of officers, on June 15 of the same year, the Supreme Revolutionary Council was formed, headed by Foreign Minister Didier Ratsiraka. The new regime took a course on a socialist orientation. In December 1975, a referendum approved the Charter of the Malagasy Socialist Revolution, a new constitution, and the election of Ratsiraka as president of the republic for a 7-year term.

The Government began to tackle the challenge of overcoming the legacy of colonialism and the consequences of neo-colonial rule, with the aim of strengthening political independence and achieving economic self-sufficiency. Banks and most large commercial and industrial companies were nationalized.

The poll tax and the livestock tax were abolished, and the minimum wage was raised.

In 1991-2002, several rulers changed in the country; Ratsiraka periodically returned to power, but his powers were severely curtailed.

In 2002, a major industrialist, Mark Ravalomanana, became president of the country, who began to pursue a policy of broad economic and political reforms and the fight against corruption.

In January 2009, a conflict broke out between the President of the country, Mark Ravalomanana, and the mayor of the capital of Madagascar, Andri Radzuelina, which later escalated into bloody clashes between their supporters. On February 7, 2009, about 10,000 supporters of the mayor gathered for a demonstration and moved towards the presidential palace, where they were blocked by armed soldiers. After some demonstrators tried to break through the barrier, the soldiers opened fire, killing about 40 people and wounding about 300. Supporters of the mayor accuse the president of abuse of office.

On March 17, 2009, the country's president, Mark Ravalomanana, was actually removed from his post by his rival, to whose side the army, which had previously occupied a neutral position, went over. According to conflicting reports, Ravalomanana was expelled from the presidential palace by military units led by Rear Admiral Hippolyte Ramarusun. Announced the formation of a transitional government under the leadership of the former mayor Andri Rajouelin. Razuelina immediately removed 8 ministers from their posts, thereby further weakening the position of the former president. Meanwhile, the African Union, whose summit is to be held in Antananarivo, condemned this "putsch attempt". On March 20, 2009, the African Union suspended Madagascar's membership in this organization in connection with a coup d'état.

According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, the country was classified as a hybrid regime in 2018 on the Democracy Index.

State structure
The Parliament of Madagascar is bicameral - the National Assembly of 127 deputies is elected by the population for a 4-year term, the Senate (100 seats) is filled by two-thirds of the representatives of the provincial assemblies, one-third is appointed by the president.

According to the results of the 2013 elections in the National Assembly, 49 seats are occupied by the party of ex-President Rajoelina "Together with President Andri Rajouelina", 20 - "Movement of Ravalomanana", 13 - "Political Group", 5 - "Unite Together", 5 - "Economic Liberalism". and Democratic Action for National Reconstruction, 2 for the Green Party of Madagascar, 28 for other parties, and another 25 for independents.


Administrative-territorial division

Administratively, the country is divided into 6 autonomous provinces (Malag faritany mizakatena) and 22 regions. The division into provinces took place in 1946 on a French initiative; at first there were only five provinces, but only later, in the 50s, Antsiranana became autonomous. Until 1992, the status of the provinces was not entirely clear, since the constitution did not say a word about them. In the new constitution, adopted in 1992, it was stated that the republic should be divided into independent territorial units of three levels: regions (malag. faritra), departments (malag. departemanta) and communes (malag. kaominina). Thus, the provinces again found themselves outside the constitution, but de facto continued to exist. After Didier Ratsiraka's re-election as president in 1997, they were asked to introduce the provinces into the constitution as an "autonomous province" administrative unit. In 2000, the amendment was adopted. Mark Ravalumanana, who was elected president in 2001, replaced the provincial governors with his appointees, designating their status as Presidents by special delegation (PSD). In 2007, a successful referendum was held for the abolition of the provinces, so in the near future, after the administrative reform, the regions will become the highest territorial entity within the state. However, in the new constitution adopted in 2010, 6 autonomous provinces reappeared.



The population is 21.3 million (July 2010 estimate).
Fertility - 5.1 births per woman (20th in the world).
Average life expectancy - 63 years (2011); 61 years for men, 65 years for women.
Urban population - 29%.

Ethnic composition
Malagasy is an ethnic group that forms the main population of Madagascar. They speak Malagasy (Malgash), which belongs to the Indo-Melanesian group of the Austronesian language family. The total number is about 20 million people. The word itself goes back to the adjective from the word "Madagascar"; thus, Malagasy is "Madagascar" in the Malagasy language, whose name, in turn, also means "Madagascar".

Malagasy are divided into two subgroups - the highlanders and the inhabitants of the coast. The mountain peoples are the Imerina (gelding), Sihanaka and Betsileu, and the inhabitants of the coast include all the rest - for example, Betsimisaraka, Sakalava and Mahafali. The division into two subgroups may be due to the history of human migration to the island. In the second to fifth centuries AD, Madagascar was settled by immigrants from Austronesia, who mainly settled on the High Plateau. After some time, a second wave of migration, consisting of representatives of the Bantu tribes, came to the island from East Africa through the Mozambique Strait. African settlers occupied a relatively free coastal zone. The Bantu came to the island as a result of the slave trade. There are other versions of the settlement of Madagascar, including those suggesting that the first inhabitants of the island were people of the Negroid race, and the Austronesians came later.

Thus, the highlanders can be conditionally called the descendants of immigrants from Malaysia and Indonesia, but it should be remembered that despite the noticeable difference in external features depending on the tribe, the population of the island actively mixed. Recent studies of the mitochondrial DNA of the inhabitants of the island have confirmed the guesses of some scientists about the Austronesian origin of the population. Tribal list:
Hill tribes:

Mixed Tribes:

Coastal Tribes:
Mahafali (people)



According to the 2010 constitution of the Republic of Madagascar, Malagasy is the national language. The official languages ​​of Madagascar are Malagasy and French. Madagascar is a member of the International Organization of Francophone Countries.

According to statistics from the Malagasy Academy of Sciences, 0.57% of the inhabitants of Madagascar speak only French, 15.87% of Madagascarians (mostly educated part of the country's population) speak both Malagasy and French, and 83.61% of the country's population does not know any language, except Malagasy.

Malagasy is not related to nearby African languages, as it is the westernmost of the Malayo-Polynesian languages ​​belonging to the Austronesian language family. This fact was established in the 18th century. Malagasy is related to the languages ​​of Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines. The closest to it are the languages ​​spoken on the island of Kalimantan in the region of the Barito River in the south of Kalimantan. This means that Madagascar was settled by people from there, while it is not known exactly why this colonization occurred. Later Indonesian settlers mixed with East Africans and Arabs.

Malagasy has borrowings from Bantu, Swahili, and Arabic, as well as from French (formerly the language of the colonial government of Madagascar) and English (which was spoken in the 18th century by pirates whose bases were on the island). It has written literature from the 15th century. and a rich tradition of oral poetic traditions and legends.



According to the US State Department in 2011, 52% of Madagascarians profess the traditional ancestor cult of Austronesian settlers, which emphasizes the connection between the dead and the living (according to the Pew Research Center in 2010, however, only 4.5% of Madagascarians profess folk religions and 85% are Christians). The largest number of adherents of this religion lives among the Imerina people. They believe that each person joins the souls of their ancestors after death, and that all souls form a kind of hierarchy of "divinity". Among the gelding and betsileu, a rather strange tradition from the point of view of Europeans is practiced, known as famadihana, which means “turning the dead”. During this ritual, the remains of the dead are taken out of the crypts, wrapped in a new shroud (silk sheet) and throughout the holiday they have fun and dance next to them, sometimes even carrying the remains in their arms. At the end of the ceremony, the bodies are placed back in the crypts.

About 41% of the population professes Christianity, belonging to the Roman Catholic Church and various Protestant denominations (Assemblies of God, Lutherans, Anglicans, Adventists). Most believers are trying to combine the cult of ancestors with Christian traditions. So, for example, not all Christians give up the practice of famadihan, especially for Catholics. Catholic priests may even come to the ceremony and bless the participants. The Protestant Church, on the other hand, has a very negative attitude towards the practice of the cult of ancestors and calls on its flock to abandon "worship of the devil." The Christian Church in Madagascar is a fairly influential political institution.

The rest of the population (about 7%) practices Islam, brought to the island around the 10th century by Arab traders. Islam is especially widespread on the western coast of the island due to the large number of harbors that were once Arab outposts. Thanks to Islam, the Malagasy language was first written in an Arabic script called Surabe, which, however, did not take root as the main means of writing Malagasy (the Latin alphabet is now used). Recently, there has been a trend towards an increase in the population professing Islam.



Madagascar culture was influenced by the two underlying cultures of the Magalasian people, the Austronesian culture and the culture of the Bantu tribes. Beginning in the 10th century, it experienced Arab influence, and after the 16th century, European influence, especially French in the 20th century.

The cuisine of Madagascar mainly consists of rice dishes - vari (Malag. vary [ˈvarʲ]) with a side dish - lauka (Malag. laoka [ˈlokə̥]). In the south, rice is sometimes replaced with crushed dried corn. The culinary traditions of France, China and India, and to a lesser extent East African, coupled with Arabic, had a significant influence on Malagasy cuisine.

Several varieties of rice are grown on the island, and it is difficult to single out one main variety. Cooking methods and results vary, starting with dry, crumbly rice and ending with rice that is similar in texture to risotto (malag. vary sosoa, vari susua). It is not uncommon for those who can afford to prepare several rice dishes for one meal. As a substitute for ordinary water, ranun'ampangu is used - the remains of burnt rice (giving a characteristic aroma), poured with boiling water, and then filtered and cooled. Vari amin'anana (Malag. vary amin'anana [ˈvarʲ ˌjamʲˈnananə̥]), consisting of rice, meat and chopped greens, is widespread. For breakfast, rice can be lightly sprinkled with sugar or overlaid with fruit, or served with fried egg and sausage lauca. Wealthy people sometimes substitute French bread and butter for rice, skimping on sugar or sweetened milk if desired.

side dishes
The side dishes served in typical Malagasy families are highly dependent on the time of year and the available produce grown in the region. A list of the most common side dishes: vuanjuburi (bambara nut stewed with pork), kituza (cured strips of zebu meat with spices), trundru gasi (Mal. trondro gasy [ˌtʂundʐʷ ˈɡasʲ] - white fish such as cod, pollock, haddock or stewed with zucchini and tomatoes), rumazava (beef fried with ginger, tomatoes and onions, decorated with herbs), tsaramasu (beans boiled in tomato sauce) and all kinds of seafood. As spices and seasonings, garlic, onions (of different varieties), ginger, tomatoes, mild curry and salt are used. Coconut milk, vanilla and cloves are also used on the coast.

Unlike African cuisine, Malagasy is not characterized by very spicy dishes, but recently there have appeared spicy semi-finished sauces made on the coast from traditional fruits (mango, lemon, etc.), which are gaining popularity in the country. Some of these sauces are served with the popular lasari karauti salad, which consists of beans, cabbage and carrots.

Drinks and desserts
The already mentioned ranun'ampangu is the most popular drink among the Malagasy. Coffee and tea are widely distributed, wine and rum are made on the island. Raw milk is almost never consumed, using it for the production of yoghurts and cheeses.

Malagasy dessert traditions take their origins from the cuisine of indigenous tribes with a splash of French cuisine. Thus, any fresh fruit sprinkled with granulated sugar can be considered a dessert, ranging from an ordinary apple to an exotic baobab fruit or an endemic "pok-pok". In Madagascar, excellent quality cocoa is grown, which could not but affect the local cuisine and especially desserts, causing the presence of chocolate in many complex desserts and French pastries.

Musical legacy
The instruments and style of singing, as well as the meaning of the music, vary greatly, depending on the region. It is assumed that the music of the people of the High Plateau traces its origins to the Austronesian culture, while the music of the coastal regions has been strongly influenced by African traditions.

The traditional instrument of Madagascar is the valiha (malag. valiha), a stringed plucked instrument made from a hollow piece of bamboo. Sodina (Malag. sodina) - a bamboo flute with three to five holes, the alleged "ancestor" of the sodina is the Malay bamboo flute suling. Kabosi (Malag. kabosy) - a wooden guitar, common on the island, has four to six strings and is considered a direct "descendant" of the Arabic lute. Sometimes kabosi are called mandolini (Malag. mandoliny). Another common instrument is the maruvani (Malag. marovany) - a wooden box with strings stretched inside, sounding almost like a harmonica.

In the south, instruments such as the jejy voatova (Malag. jejy voatova), a stringed instrument with a resonator, like the African kob, and the lukanga (Malag. lokanga), a three-stringed bowed instrument, are common.


On the High Plateau, music plays not only a spiritual and entertaining role, but also a political one, coupled with an educational one, what is known as hiragashi (Malang. Hira - song, Malag. Gasy - Madagascar). Hiragashi lasts all day, during which one or two troupes perform (compete) in musical performance, dance and oratory. The tradition dates back to the 18th century, when the first king of Madagascar, Andrianampoinimerina, used troupes of musicians to draw attention to his political speeches while still a prince. After that, these troupes, already performing without a king, began to include elements of political satire or simply criticism in their musical numbers. During hiragashi, there is a high level of audience involvement, which violently expresses satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the skill of musicians or speakers, through applause, cheering or hooting. Hiragashi were also used by the French colonists to bring the most important political news to the population who did not know French or could not read, mostly from the hinterland.

After the independence of the Republic of Madagascar, the Hiragashi began to be considered the personification of the Malagasy culture as a whole, and not just the hill tribes. Despite the fact that hiragashi is mainly distributed in central Madagascar, it is also gaining popularity among the coastal population. Most aspiring politicians resort to the help of hiragashi troupes to attract public interest in their performances. In general, hiragashi troupes do not support any particular political party, but there are exceptions. One of the most popular troupes at the moment is Ramilisun Fenuarivo (a fragment of the performance).

The performance of hiragashi is strictly regulated, all troupes performing in this genre are required to follow this sequence. Men's and women's costumes, musicians' instruments (among which there are practically no traditional Malagasy instruments) and even the name of the troupe are also regulated.

In international football competitions, Madagascar is represented by the national team. The team receives opponents at the Mahamasina Stadium (22,000 seats). The Football Federation of Madagascar holds the Championship, Cup and Super Cup of the country in football.

In 2007, Madagascar hosted the Indian Ocean Games.

Also, AS Adema and SO l'Emyrne teams are included in the Guinness Book of Records: on October 31, 2002, the match between these teams ended with a score of 149: 0 in favor of AS Adema, SO l'Emyrne players scored all the goals themselves in protest against refereeing.


Mass media

In 1990, the National Assembly of Madagascar passed a law guaranteeing freedom of speech. In addition, freedom of the media in Madagascar is guaranteed by the constitution.

There are about 15 private and national publishing houses in the country. Among them:
Association of Malagasy Journalists;
National Information Agency "Taratra";
Midi Madagasikara - founded in 1983, published in French and Malagasy;
Madagascar Tribune;
Express de Madagasca;
Imungu Wauwau - AKFM party newspaper;
Lacroa'ni Madagasikara is a Catholic weekly in Malagasy and French founded in 1927. The largest clerical publication in Madagascar;
The journal oficielle de la Republique de Madagascar - The official newspaper of the Republic of Madagascar - is a weekly government gazette in French and Malagasy. Publishes official announcements, laws and government orders.

On the territory of the country there is a state television and radio company RTNM (Fr. Radiodiffusion Television Nationale de Madagascar - National Radio Broadcasting and Television of Madagascar), which includes the radio station Radio Nationale Malagasy (launched on April 29, 1931 as Radio Tanarive) and the TV channel TVM (Fr. Télévision Malagasy).


Social sphere

The island has a fairly active natural focus of the plague, and human diseases occur annually. Until 1995, there was a decline in the incidence from several thousand cases of plague in 1924 to a dozen cases in 1995. Since 1995, an increase in the incidence has begun again, both among the rural population and among the urban population. A serious problem for health services is that Madagascar is characterized by a severe course of bubonic and bubonic septicemic plague, with frequent complications of secondary pulmonary. It was also in Madagascar that a strain of the plague pathogen resistant to streptomycin was first isolated.

In December 2013, plague broke out again in Madagascar, according to the Ministry of Health. It spread in five districts out of 112. As of December 13, 89 people fell ill. Of these, 39 have died.