Guide to Madagascar

Those interested in clubs, restaurants, nightlife, museums and urban architecture certainly have no place in Madagascar. This is where wildlife reigns control, brutal, with a flora and fauna quite unusual. Deserted beaches, tropical forests, steep mountains with Geology rarely are elements that attract tourists to the remote island of Madagascar.

Located in the Indian Ocean, at 40 kilometers off the coast of continental Africa, Madagascar is the fourth largest island in the world. Formerly an independent kingdom, the island became a French colony in 1896 but regained its independence in the 1960′s. The Islanders, are a strange mixture of Africans, Arabs, and Indians. There is still controversy about the people who came first in Madagascar. The fact is that the island became populated much later than other regions of the Earth because there is no evidence to prove the existence of people here in the Stone Age. And that does not mean only that nature was, at least for a while protected from people.

Apart from the poverty and diseases that haunt the island, Madagascar is a fascinating realm even unique in the world. Each corner of the island, the beaches to the top of the mountain, offers something different and interesting. On fauna and flora closely, you think a time has stood still, and if you expect to glimpse a few dinosaurs.

160 million years ago, the island of Madagascar was united with Africa, South America, Australia, Antarctica, and India, in a super-continent called Gondwanaland. As the continent was broken, Madagascar has been separated from other pieces of land and began to float to the east. Until the arrival of mankind was an isolated realm untouched by the changes that have affected the world. That is why there have been preserved species of animals, birds, insects, plants and geological formations that no longer exists anywhere on the planet. For biologists and botanists, Madagascar is another world, some even consider it would be the eighth continent.

Millions of years of isolation have allowed the survival of certain species, extinct in other parts of the world, and the emergence of creatures that never existed elsewhere. You are not monkeys, zebras, giraffes, lions, elephants and other animals specific continental Africa. Instead, there are creatures in other parts of the world for thousands of years disappeared or never existed. An insect found in layers of old amber millions of years, considered fossil was later found alive and unharmed in Madagascar. Moreover, there exist dozens of so-called “living fossils” insect species which until recently were considered contemporary of dinosaurs. In addition, biologists believe Madagascar fauna reserve many surprises yet. Perhaps there are species that have not been discovered, especially of amphibians and reptiles.

On the other hand, there are plant species found in Madagascar and South America, but there is in Africa, despite the proximity of the island and the black continent. An example is the traveler’s tree, so named because of stem or hiding drinking water.

In Madagascar live 5% of plant and animal species in the world, and of these, 80% are endemic, 99% of turtle species and 50% of species of chameleon does not exist anywhere in the world.

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