Language: Malagasy, French, English

Currency: Malagasy ariary (MGA)

Calling Code: +261


Madagascar, officially the Republic of Madagascar, is an island nation in the Indian Ocean, located in southeast Africa, east of Mozambique. It is the largest island in Africa and the fourth largest in the world. It is separated from the mainland by the Mozambique Channel. Once integrated with the African continent, it is now separated from it. Because of the island's isolation, it is home to many of the world's rarest species, 80% of which are endemic to the island. Among the most notable endemics are the lemur (primate), the carnivorous pit viper, five families of birds, and six species of baobab. The Malagasy language is Malagasy, with Malagasy as the national language and French as a second language. The majority of the inhabitants of Madagascar are of traditional faith, Christian, or a combination of both.

According to the United Nations, Madagascar belongs to the Least Developed Countries. Ecotourism and agriculture are key elements of Madagascar's development strategy, along with education, health, and increased investment in the private sector. However, these benefits are not evenly distributed across the population, creating tensions over the rising cost of living and declining living standards for the poor and parts of the middle class.In 2017, the political and economic crisis of 2009-2013 weakened the economy and quality of life for the majority of Malagasy citizens remains remain low.


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 Malagasy, the island is called "Madagascar" ([madaɡasʲarə̥]) and its inhabitants are called "Malagasy" ("Malgasy people" in French-speaking countries, Malag.foko malagasy). At the same time, the toponymy "Madagascar" is not of local origin, but originated in Europe during the Middle Ages. The famous Venetian traveler Marco Polo mentions the name Madagayskar in his notes, but it has nothing to do with the island, but is a distorted transliteration of the name of the Somali port Mogadishu, which Polo confused with the island. There does not appear to have been a pre-Madagascar name for the island, but several communities had their own names for the area in which they lived.


History of Madagascar

Radiocarbon analysis of the bones of a flightless bird from Aepyornis (Aepyornis) revealed that the marks from cutting the bird with a stone tool are approximately 15,000 years old.

By archaeological standards, the settlement of Madagascar began relatively recently. Madagascar was first settled in the 200s to 500s, when settlers from Austronesia arrived by canoe. This theory is supported by the many similarities between the culture of Austronesia and that of the inhabitants of Madagascar, such as the special type of canoes and the particular way rice is cultivated, as well as the close relationship between the Malagasy language and that of the inhabitants of southern Kalimantan and the genetic studies conducted in the early 21st century. The results are supported by genetic research conducted in the early 21st century. There is no evidence that Austronesians colonized the African continent.

At the same time, or somewhat later, Bantu settlers moved to the island through the Mozambique Channel. At the same time, the new arrivals occupied mainly coastal territory, while Austronesian descendants lived in the central part of the island. Genetic studies indicate that the confluence of Austronesians and Africans began around the 10th century, resulting in the formation of a people with the self-designation Malagasy.

In the 7th century, when the Arabs arrived in Madagascar, literature about Madagascar began to be written.

The island came to be known as Madégascar in a casual note by the famous Venetian traveler Marco Polo about the island's countless treasures. Many modern researchers believe that it is not actually an island, but rather the port of Mogadishu, the current capital of Somalia. However, after Italian maps marked the island as Madagascar, the name stuck and has remained unchanged ever since.

Despite the widespread influence of Islamic culture on the island of Madagascar, Islam never took hold. However, traces of Arab influence remain to this day, such as the patriarchal system and calendar names for days, months, and seasons.



The island of Madagascar is located in the Indian Ocean, across the Mozambique Channel, on the eastern coast of South Africa. The island's highest peak is Malmuktul (2876 m), an extinct volcano in the Tsaratanana Mountains in the northern part of the island. The total area of the province is 587,040 km². Length: about 1600 km, width: more than 600 km. The central part of the island is occupied by the alpine Andzafi Plateau, which descends gently to the west and then drops steeply to the lowlands of the eastern coast. In some parts of the island there is a special landscape, called scurvy (malag. tsingy), with limestone rock formations interspersed with vertical grooves creating many sharp corners.


The Region

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



The altitude of the highlands (Central Highlands) ranges from 800 to 1800 meters. The topography varies from place to place. The highlands begin in the Tsaratanana Mountains in the north and continue to the southernmost part ending at the Ivacuanian massif. The central highlands include the volcanic highland plateau of Anzafi, the Ankaratra Range, and the Ivakuani massif. Antananarivo, the provincial capital, is located in the northern part of the high plateau at an elevation of 1276 meters. Fairly frequent seismic activity has been noted in this region.


West Coast and Southwest

The west coast is prone to soil erosion, and as a result there are many small harbors and lagoons, especially in the northern part of the island; it was mostly here that pirates settled in the 17th and 18th centuries. Two large oil fields have been discovered on the west coast: Tsimirulu and Bemuranga. The southwestern part is bordered by the Ivacuanian massif and the Isala Roiniforme massif (Malag. Isala Roiniforme) and consists of two parts: the Mahafari plateau and the adjacent desert.


Rivers and Lakes

Madagascar's rivers flowing into the Indian Ocean are usually short and swift, rich in hydropower resources, and abundant in water throughout the year. Eastern rivers Mananara, Mangul, Maninguri, Bemaribu, Ivendul, and Mananzari. Rivers flowing to the west coast and emptying into the Mozambique Channel are generally longer and flow more slowly than the eastern rivers because of the flattening of the highlands to the west. Western rivers Sambiranu, Mahajamba, Betibuka, Mania, North and South Mahavawi, Mangki, Unilahi, Ikpa, and Mandrale.

Madagascar has several large lakes: Lake Alotra, Lake Kinkuni, and Lake Iftri. The Maningli River in the east also originates from Lake Alotra.



Madagascar is sometimes called the "Great Red Island" (Mal. Nosy Mena Lehibe) because of its laterite formations. Red soils dominate the entire plateau, but more mineral-rich soils are found in former volcanic sites. Thin "belts" of alluvial soils are found along the entire length of the eastern coast and at the mouths of the western rivers. Clays, sands, and limestones are found on the western coast.



The climate is tropical along the coast, temperate inland, and dry in the south. The climate is dominated by the southeast trade winds blowing from the Indian Ocean High, which changes its position over the ocean with the seasons. Madagascar has two seasons: a hot rainy season from November to April and a cool dry season from May to October. The climate varies greatly with elevation and position relative to the dominant winds. The east coast, with its subequatorial climate and most direct exposure to the trade winds, receives the most rainfall, averaging 3,500 mm per year. The region is not only hot and humid, with tropical fevers prevalent, but it is also famous for the destructive cyclones that occur during the rainy season, coming mainly from the direction of the Mascarene Islands. Rain clouds expel much of the moisture from the higher elevations of the islands to the east, so the central highlands are quite dry and, thanks to their elevation, cooler. Thunderstorms are common in the Central Highlands during the rainy season, and lightning is a serious hazard.

Antananarivo's average annual precipitation of 1,400 mm falls almost entirely between November and April. The dry season is pleasant and sunny, but somewhat cool, especially in the mornings. Frost is rare in Antananarivo, but common at higher elevations.


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 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 families of plants are endemic to Madagascar: Asteraceae (Lat.: Asteropeaceae), Asteraceae (Lat.: Didymelaceae), Asteraceae (Lat.: Didiereaceae), Calliphoraceae (Lat.: Kaliphoraceae), Melanophyllaceae (Lat: Melanophyllaceae), Physenaceae (Lat.: Physenaceae), Sarcolaenaceae (Lat.: Sarcolaenaceae), and Sarcophagaceae (Lat.: Sphaerosepalaceae).

Madagascar has issued a number of stamps depicting its endemic flora and fauna.


Foreign Policy

Madagascar's close relationship with France was the cornerstone of Madagascar's foreign policy in the early years of independence, and the country signed 14 agreements and treaties with France: the Agreement on Economic and Financial Cooperation, signed in June 1960, clarifies and regulates Madagascar's status as a member of the Franc zone. Other economic agreements guaranteed the integrity of France's existing economic interests and maintained its strong influence over the Malagasy economy. The Malagasy role was largely limited to the influence of decision makers in the upper echelons of government and the contribution at the grassroots level of small farmers producing food for their own consumption or for export. Other sectors were the exclusive domain of French conglomerates, large farmers, or Chinese or Indian intermediaries.



According to the IMF, Madagascar's GDP in 2007 was $18.12 billion and $16.821 billion according to the World Bank, ranking 116th and 115th respectively in the world rankings and 124th in the CIA Fact Book. 2007 per capita income, according to the same financial institutions, was US$1,068 (157th in the world) and US$878 (161st in the world).

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

Structural reforms in the economic sector began in the 1980s, mainly under pressure from foreign financial institutions, especially the World Bank. Privatization programs were implemented (1988-1993) and free trade zones (English Export Processing Zones) were introduced, but after a slight upturn in the late 1980s, a period of stagnation followed in 1991-1996. A second wave of privatization revitalized the economy between 1996 and 2001, but overall, living standards did not improve nationwide, especially outside of urban areas The political crisis of 2002, related to the conflict between Didier Ratsiraka's supporters and the new president, Marco Ravalomanana, dealt a major blow to the country's economy GDP declined by 12.7% in 2002; from 2002 to 2005, a period of fighting inflation, GDP gradually increased, not least due to injections of foreign funds by foreign countries and financial institutions.

The main sources of current economic growth are tourism, exports of textile and light industrial products, agricultural products, and minerals. Thanks to the island's unique fauna, biotourism is attracting more and more people from different parts of the world. About 80% of the island's total flora and fauna is endemic, and 5% of the planet's total species diversity is found in Madagascar. Free trade zones near Antananarivo and Antsirabe aim to trade with the United States and Europe. Natural resources include coal, ilmenite, and nickel, which are mainly mined for export. Two large oil fields have been discovered in the southern part of the republic.

Madagascar and Mauritania are the last countries in the world that do not use a decimal currency. The Madagascar Aliari is equal to 5 Iranian billani.

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


Transport system

Getting here

A Madagascar tourist visa is available for entry into Madagascar from most countries (information is current as of March 2020).
US$37 or €35 for a stay of 30 days or less.
US$45 or 40 euros for a stay of 60 days or more.
The Visa on Arrival counter at Antananarivo Airport is no longer issuing visas for 90-day stays as of November 2018.

Visas must be paid in cash: in USD or EUR. You will also be asked for the address of your first accommodation.

You can obtain a 30-day extended visa for Ar 80.000 at the Immigration Office of the Ministry of Interior, a 5-minute walk from the Carlton Hotel in Antananarivo, or at the commissariat of police stations throughout Madagascar. The maximum stay on a tourist visa is 90 days; after 90 days you can go to Reunion or Mauritius and then come back.

The following vaccinations are required: polio, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, MMR, typhoid fever, etc. (please check with your doctor). If you are passing through a country where yellow fever is endemic, you will be required to show proof of yellow fever vaccination before being allowed to enter Madagascar.

By plane
International flights to Madagascar are usually to Antananarivo (TNR IATA) or Nosibe (NOS IATA). Air Madagascar (AirMad) is the national carrier and has flights from Paris Charles de Gaulle, Marseille, and Guangzhou:
Airlink South Africa operates daily flights from Johannesburg.
Air France operates flights from Europe, North America, and South America via Paris-Charles de Gaulle.
Air Austral offers flights from Paris, Marseille, Bangkok, Chennai, Johannesburg, Mauritius, and Seychelles to Antananarivo, Nosibe, and Toamasina. Transfers at Reunion Island.
Air Mauritius flies from Europe, Asia, and Australia via Mauritius.
Kenya Airways offers scheduled flights from Europe, North America, Asia, and Africa via Nairobi.
Turkish Airlines (Turkish Airlines) operates via Istanbul from Europe, North America, South America, and Asia, with lower fares, but with two stops, one via Mauritius and one via Istanbul.
Ethiopian Airlines operates from Africa, Europe, North and South America, and Asia via Addis Ababa.
Comores Aviation flies from Moroni and Anjouan.
EWA Air flies to Mayotte from Mahajanga, Antiranana, and Nosibe.

A cab to Tana costs R40,000, but drivers may ask for R60,000. Otherwise, you can go to the nearby town of Ivat and take a cab be (a local shared-ride cab larger than a van) for about 600Ar. You also have to buy a seat for your luggage, which costs 1200Ar.

By ship
There used to be the only regular service between Toamasina and Mauritius on the east coast via Reunion. This route has been out of service since December 2014.


Local transport


Tsaradia Airlines (part of Air Madagascar) serves many cities throughout Madagascar and is a much faster option than driving, as many roads are in poor condition. Tsaradia Airlines is notorious for flight schedule changes and flight cancellations. Tsaradia Airlines is notorious for flight schedule changes and flight cancellations, but if a flight is canceled, they will provide a hotel or book you on the next flight.
The good news is that airfares have become cheaper. Currently, one can fly from Antananarivo to Nosibe for R420,000 with 20 kg of baggage and R360,000 without baggage.
Tsaradia Airlines tickets can be booked on their website.

Passengers arriving in Madagascar on Air Madagascar's long-haul flights no longer receive the 25% discount on Tsaradia Airlines.



As of 2023, Madarail operates only one service between Moramanga (115 km east of Antananarivo) and Ambila Lemaitso on the east coast in 9 hours. Due to the colonial-era nature of the railroad, it often breaks down due to poor maintenance and may be out of service for several weeks.


By Car

Most roads in Madagascar are low-grade (with the exception of two routes leading from Tana). Many roads are potholes and become a quagmire during the rainy season. Traveling by road is usually much more time consuming than one would normally expect; renting a 4WD vehicle can alleviate this problem but is more expensive, but still very cost-effective if you are not traveling alone and can split the rental fee among members of your group (at least US$70/day/car as of October 2014). In most cases, car rentals include a driver and his/her accommodations, but check when booking the rental car. Most companies do not allow car rentals without a driver.



Taxi-brousse (intercity rides) is the way most natives get around the country. There are three main modern roads in the country: the RN7 from Tana to Toliara, the RN2 from Tana to Tomasina (via Bricaville), and the RN4 from Tana to Mahajanga. Travel between these towns takes about one day, but travel between Tana and the southeastern coastal town of Taolagnaro takes three or four days due to the condition of the roads. Travel is cramped and air conditioning is not expected. During the dry season, it is dusty. Traveling by cab brose is guaranteed to test your patience and sanity, but there is no better way to get in touch with the locals and experience Madagascar the way the Malagasy do.

Cabs are by far the cheapest means of transportation, but don't expect them to leave or arrive on time. In fact, drivers wait until the small 15-passenger buses are full before leaving, so delays of several hours can never be ruled out. During the trip, however, you will be able to enjoy Madagascar's breathtaking scenery. Destinations to most national parks and towns can be reached from "Antananarivo" and the driver will gladly drop you off en route to your final destination.

Cotise Transport is the best choice for travel to Mahajanga, Morondava, Fianarantsoa, and Toamasina.
Besadi Plus buses depart on time, whether full or not. It offers free wifi and goes between Antananarivo and Nosibe via Ambanja and from Antananarivo to Sant Marie via Toamasina. The ticket includes sea transfers.


By Taxi

In Tana, the cheapest way to get around is in a large cab (taxi-be), slightly larger than a minivan. They have one aisle and the seats can be folded down so they can cram even more people into them. Buses run frequently during peak season. The fare is around 600Ar, and as of November 2018, one of the buses to Kotice Transport, number 183, costs 400Ar.


By ship

If you are looking for an unusual holiday, a yacht charter to Madagascar might be a good choice.

For those who would like to bareboat, a “guide” is usually included in the price of the yacht charter. Although obligatory, he comes with the price and is essential for the multitude of services he will provide. He will prepare the food, recommend anchorages, know where to fish and refill the water tanks. He will speak the local language and have an established relationship with the local people. He will protect the boat from theft when you leave it to explore on land. The guide lives completely on the exterior of the boat and does not require a cabin. A yacht charter to Madagascar is a bit of a “Robinson Crusoe” adventure. Once you embark, you will not be able to stock up provisions again and must live off the fish and seafood you will catch for yourself (or with your guide). So take great care with your provisioning list.

This problem can be avoided by chartering one of the crewed catamarans. The boats are designed for stability so sea sickness is not really a problem. The crew prepare the boat with linen, food and drinks before your arrival -basically these boats are like a personal floating hotel. Depending on which boat you choose you could receive excellent service and food and suggestions of where to go and what to do. Choose your catamaran carefully as there are some really old ones in service- make sure the crew can speak your language.


By bicycle

Madagascar is a great place to tour by bike and staying in small towns and villages along the way gives a real sense of what the country is all about. A mountain bike or heavy duty tourer at least is required as the roads can be in poor to terrible condition. In the rainy season on the east coast the main north-south road can become impassable, possibly leading to a two-day walk - over soft sand in one section - this is not an easily rideable route. Generally there is little to no traffic which makes cruising around a great pleasure. The people are amazingly friendly and you'll be greeted with crowds of children shouting 'Vazaha' in every village.

There are few or no facilities for cyclists, so be prepared to camp rough (ask if it is somebody's land and never too near a family grave) or sleep in very basic guesthouses. Likely you will be invited to stay in people's houses. Bring a spare tire, puncture kit, chain, brake or gear cable, derailleur and all the tools you need.



On June 26, 1960, the independence of the Republic of Madagascar was declared. Democratic elections resulted in the Social Democratic Party led by Filiberto Tsiranana coming to power.

The neo-colonial regime under Tsiranana led to a sharp decline in living standards and deepened social and ethnic contradictions. The country suffered a severe economic crisis, which led to massive anti-government demonstrations and rebellions.

Under these circumstances, the Tsilanana government was forced to transfer power to the military on May 18, 1972. The new government was headed by General Gabriel Ramanantua. The Ramanantua government revised the unequal 1960 Franco-Madagascar Agreement and signed a new agreement in 1973 confirming Madagascar's sovereignty and the withdrawal of French troops. The activities of foreign capital were restricted and controls on import and export operations were introduced.

In 1975, some army officers and rebels supported by the police launched an armed insurgency; in February 1975, the Ramanantua regime resigned. A group of officers staged another coup d'etat, and on June 15 of the same year, the Supreme Revolutionary Council, headed by Foreign Minister Didier Ratsiraka, was formed. The new government was socialist oriented: in December 1975, a referendum approved the Charter of the Socialist Revolution in Madagascar and a new constitution, and Ratsiraka was elected President of the Republic for a seven-year term.

The government began to address the challenge of overcoming the legacy of colonialism and the consequences of neo-colonial rule, aiming to strengthen political independence and achieve economic self-reliance. Banks and most large corporations were nationalized.

The capitation and livestock taxes were abolished and the minimum wage was increased.

From 1991 to 2002, Ratsiraka returned to power periodically, but his powers were severely limited.

In 2002, tycoon businessman Marc Ravalomanana assumed the presidency and began promoting broad economic and political reforms and an anti-corruption agenda.

In January 2009, a confrontation erupted between President Marc Ravalomanana and Capital City Mayor Andri Razuelina, which later erupted into bloody clashes between supporters of the two. on February 7, 2009, some 10,000 supporters of the mayor gathered for a demonstration and headed for the presidential palace, but were stopped by armed soldiers. After some demonstrators attempted to break through the barriers, soldiers opened fire, killing about 40 people and wounding about 300. Supporters of the mayor accused the president of abusing his authority.

On March 17, 2009, the country's president, Marc Ravalomanana, was actually removed from office by rivals who had sided with the military, which had previously taken a neutral position. According to conflicting reports, Ravalomanana was expelled from the presidential palace by military forces led by Major General Hipolite Ramarsun. He announced the formation of a provisional government led by former mayor Andri Razuelin. Razuelina immediately dismissed eight cabinet members, further weakening the former president's position. Meanwhile, the African Union, whose summit will be held in Antananarivo, condemned this "coercive attempt. "On March 20, 2009, the African Union suspended Madagascar's membership in connection with the coup.

According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, the country was classified as a hybrid regime in the Democracy Index in 2018. National Structure
Madagascar's parliament is bicameral: the National Assembly (127 seats) is elected by the population for a four-year term, and the Senate (100 seats) is composed of two-thirds of the representatives of the regional assemblies, with one-third appointed by the president.

According to the results of the 2013 elections, the party of former President Rajoelina, "With President Andri Rajoelina," has 49 seats, the "Ravalomanana Movement" has 20 seats, the "Political Group" has 13 seats, "Unite Together" has 5 seats, "Economic Liberalism" has 5 seats, "Democratic Action for National Reconstruction" has 5 seats, " Madagascar Green Party" has 2 seats, other political parties have 28 seats, and independent parties have 25 seats.


Administrative-territorial division

Administratively, the country is divided into six autonomous provinces (Malag faritany mizakatena) and 22 regions. The division into provinces was a French initiative in 1946, and initially there were only five provinces, but Antiranana later gained autonomy in the 1950s. (The new Constitution adopted in 1992 specified the division of the Republic into three levels of independent territorial units: regions (malag. faritra), provinces (malag. departemanta), and municipalities (malag. kaominina). Thus, the provinces were again removed from the Constitution, but they continued to exist in effect. 1997, after Didier Ratsiraka was reelected president, it was sought to introduce the provinces into the Constitution as "autonomous" administrative units. 2000, an amendment was adopted. 2001, the president was elected. Marc Ravalmanana replaced the provincial governors with his own appointees, making their position President by Special Delegation (PSD); in 2007, a referendum was held to abolish the provinces, and in the near future, through administrative reform, the regions will become the supreme territory of the state. However, the new constitution adopted in 2010 reintroduced the six autonomous provinces.




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 French-Speaking Countries.

According to the statistics of the Malagasy Academy of Sciences, 0.57% of the inhabitants of Madagascar speak only French, 15.87% of Malagasy people (mainly educated population) speak both Malagasy and French, and 83.61% of Malagasy people know no language but Malagasy.

Malagasy is the westernmost member of the Malayo-Polynesian language family of Austronesian languages and is therefore unrelated to the neighboring African languages. This fact was established in the 18th century. Malagasy is related to the languages of Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. The closest is the language spoken in the Barito River basin in southern Kalimantan. This means that people from there settled in Madagascar, but it is not known exactly why this colonization occurred. Later settlers from Indonesia mixed with East Africans and Arabs.

In addition to Bantu, Swahili, and Arabic, Malagasy includes French (once the language of the Madagascar colonial government) and English (spoken by island-based pirates in the 18th century). Madagascar has a written literature dating from the 15th century and a rich oral poetry tradition and legends.



According to the U.S. State Department in 2011, 52% of Malagasy people believe in the traditional ancestor worship of Austronesian settlers, which emphasizes the connection between the dead and the living (although according to the Pew Research Center in 2010, only 4.5% of Malagasy people follow a folk religion, 85% are Christians). The largest number of adherents to this religion are the Imerina people. They believe that after death one merges with the souls of one's ancestors and that all souls form a kind of hierarchy of "divinity. Among the Gerding and Betsileu tribes, a tradition that is rather strange from a European point of view is practiced, known as Famadihana, which means "turning of the dead". During this ceremony, the remains of the dead are removed from the catacombs and wrapped in new shrouds (silk sheets), and throughout the holiday they dance joyfully next to the remains, sometimes even holding them in their arms. When the ceremony is over, the remains are returned to the crypt.

About 41% of the population is Christian, belonging to the Roman Catholic Church and various Protestant denominations (Assemblies of God, Lutheran, Anglican, and Adventist). Most believers seek to blend ancestor worship with the Christian tradition. Thus, for example, not all Christians have abandoned the practice of Famadihan, especially for Catholics. A Catholic priest may come to the ceremony and bless the participants. Protestant churches, on the other hand, have a very negative attitude toward the practice of ancestor worship, calling on their flocks to abandon "devil worship." The Christian Church in Madagascar is a fairly influential political institution.

The rest of the population (about 7%) adheres to Islam, which was introduced by Arab traders around the 10th century. Islam is particularly prevalent on the west coast of the island, due to the large number of ports that were once Arab outposts. Thanks to Islam, the Malagasy language came to be written in an Arabic script called Slave, but it never took hold as the primary means of writing the Malagasy language (the Latin script is now used). More recently, there has been a trend toward a growing population professing Islam.



The culture of Madagascar is influenced by the two basic cultures of the Magara people, Austronesian and Bantu; from the 10th century it was influenced by the Arabs, and from the 16th century onward by Europe, especially France in the 20th century.



Madagascar's cuisine consists primarily of the rice dish vari (Malag. vary [ˈvarLm_2B2]) and the side dish lauka (Malag. vary [ˈvarLm_2B2]). In the south, crushed dried corn is sometimes used in place of rice. French, Chinese, Indian, and East African culinary traditions, coupled with Arabic cuisine, have greatly influenced Madagascar's cuisine.

Several varieties of rice are grown on the island, making it difficult to single out one main variety. They vary in the way they are cooked and the finished product, ranging from dry rice (malag. vary sosoa, vari susua) to rice with a texture similar to risotto (malag. vary sosoa, vari susua). It is not uncommon for those who can afford it to prepare several different rice dishes in one meal. Instead of plain water, lanung ampang (the leftover dregs of burnt rice (with a distinctive aroma), poured over boiling water, filtered, and cooled) is used. Vali amin'anana (Malag. vary amin'anana [ˈvar_2CCjamʲˈnananə̥]), consisting of rice, meat and chopped greens, is widely popular. For breakfast, rice is lightly dusted with sugar, topped with fruit, or served with fried eggs and sausage lauka. Wealthier people sometimes serve French bread and butter instead of rice, and use less sugar or sweetened milk.

Side Dishes
Side dishes served in a typical Madagascar home depend greatly on the time of year and the produce available in the area. Typical side dishes include vuandjubli (pork stew with bambara nuts), kituza (cured zebu meat with spices), trondro gasy (Mal. trondro gasy [ˌ ʂ ʐ ˈ ʷ ˈ ˈ ʲ] - cod, pollock, haddock and other white fish or stewed with zucchini and tomatoes), rumazava (beef stir-fried with ginger, tomatoes, and onions and garnished with herbs), tsalamas (beans cooked in tomato sauce), and seafood of all kinds. Spices and seasonings used include garlic, onions (of various kinds), ginger, tomatoes, mild curries, and salt. In coastal areas, coconut milk, vanilla, and cloves are also used.

Unlike African cuisine, Madagascar cuisine is not very spicy, but recently spicy semi-finished sauces made on the coast with traditional fruits (mango, lemon, etc.) have appeared and are gaining popularity in the country. Some of these sauces are served with the popular rasali kalauti salad consisting of beans, cabbage, and carrots.


Drinks and Desserts

The most popular drink among Malagasy people is the already mentioned ranun'ampangu. Coffee and tea are also widely distributed, and wine and rum are also produced on the island. Raw milk is rarely consumed and is used to make yogurt and cheese.

The dessert tradition in Madagascar is a French take on indigenous cuisine. Thus, any fresh fruit dusted with granulated sugar, from the common apple to the exotic baobab fruit or the endemic "pokpok," can be considered a dessert. Chocolate is used in many complex desserts and French pastries, as Madagascar grows good quality cacao, which could not help but influence the local cuisine, especially in desserts.


Musical Heritage

Musical instruments, singing styles, and the meaning of music vary widely from region to region. The music of the highland plateau peoples is speculated to have originated in Austronesian culture, while the music of the coastal regions is strongly influenced by African traditions.

The traditional instrument of Madagascar is the valiha (malag. valiha), a hollow bamboo stringed instrument. The sodina (malag. sodina) is the most popular instrument in Madagascar. (sodina)-a bamboo flute with three to five holes; the "ancestor" of the sodina is the Malay bamboo flute Surin. Kabosy (Malag. kabosy)-a wooden guitar common on the islands, with four to six strings and considered a direct "descendant" of the Arabic lute. The kabosy is sometimes called mandoliny (Malag. mandoliny). It is a wooden box with strings inside that sounds like a harmonica.

In the south, there is also the Malag. jejy voatova, a stringed instrument with an African cob-like resonator, and the three-stringed bowed instrument, the lukanga (Malag.



In the highlands, music plays not only a spiritual and entertainment role, but also a political and educational one. The Hiragashi lasts all day, during which one or two troupes perform music, dance, and oratory. This tradition dates back to the 18th century. It began when Andrianampoinimerina, the first king of Madagascar, used a band of musicians to draw attention to his political speeches when he was still a prince. Later, the troupe, which was already performing in the absence of the king, began to include elements of political satire or simply criticism in their musical numbers. There is a high degree of audience involvement during Hiragashi, with intense expressions of satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the musicians' and speakers' skills through applause, cheers, and hooting. Heigashi was also used during the French colonial period to communicate the most important political news to the people of the interior, who did not know French or could not read.

After the independence of the Republic of Madagascar, the Hiragash came to be seen as the personification not only of the mountain people, but of the Malagasy culture as a whole. Even though the Hiragash are mainly distributed in central Madagascar, they are becoming increasingly popular among the coastal population. Many aspiring politicians enlist the help of hiragashi troupes to attract public interest in their performances. Generally, hiragana troupes do not support any particular political party, but there are exceptions. One of the most popular troupes today is Ramilisun Fenuarivo (some of their performances).

The performance of hiragi is strictly regulated, and all troupes acting in this genre are obliged to follow this order. The costumes of the men and women, the instruments of the performers (there are few traditional instruments in Madagascar), and even the names of the troupes are regulated.



Madagascar is represented in international soccer tournaments. The team will host its opponents at the 22,000-seat Mahamasina Stadium. The Madagascar Football Federation hosts the country's soccer championships, cups, and Super Cups.

In 2007, the country hosted the Indian Ocean Games.

On October 31, 2002, the match between AS Adema and SO Lemirne ended in a 149-0 win for AS Adema, but the SO Lemirne players scored a goal themselves in protest against the 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 natural incidence of plague is quite active on the island, infecting humans every year; until 1995, the number of cases had decreased from several thousand in 1924 to a dozen in 1995; since 1995, the incidence has begun to increase again, both in rural and urban areas. A serious problem for health services is that Madagascar is characterized by a severe course of plague and plague sepsis, with frequent complications of secondary lung disease. It was also in Madagascar that the first strain of plague pathogen resistant to streptomycin was isolated.

According to the Ministry of Health, in December 2013, the plague outbreak returned to Madagascar, spreading to five of the 112 districts; as of December 13, 89 people had become ill, of whom 39 died. As of December 13, 89 people were ill, of whom 39 died.