Things Must Know Before you Travel to Madagascar Islands

Madagascar Islands

Madagascar Islands

Madagascar Islands or officially The Republic of Madagascar is situated in the Indian Ocean and is around 400 kilometres off the coast of East Africa. This island nation comprises of numerous smaller peripheral islands. One of the least developed countries, according to the United Nations, Madagascar is a democratic nation since 1992 with its capital at Antananarivo.

A dream destination for outdoor travel enthusiasts, Madagascar Island present a variety of exotic and endemic flora and fauna. The diversity in the landscape is also remarkable. The presence of rainforest and forest of every kind, desert, mountains, sandstone canyons, terraced rice paddies along with picturesque beaches are a sight to behold.

What makes Madagascar special is its geographical isolation. This is also the root cause for all the differences of this island from the rest of the continents. The breakup of the supercontinent Gondwana around 140 million years ago separated the Madagascar-India landmass from Africa. Sometime later, Madagascar further spilt, while the Indian landmass travelled north and collided with Eurasia. The isolation for millions of years led to the evolution of species to their unique version.



Madagascar Culture & People

Showcasing an amalgamation of various cultures, the Malagasy Culture of Madagascar brings out the beauty of its multi-ethnic population. There are 18 different tribes present throughout the islands. It is the place where Eastern Africa meets South East Asia and it is evident through the physiognomies of the various tribes and their cultural practises.

The original settlers of Madagascar are actually from Borneo. Also, there is only one single language, the Malagasy language, despite the presence of different ethnic groups. This language belongs to the Ma´anyan language family of Western Indonesia or more specifically southwest Borneo. Over time people from other ethnic origins from around the world mainly Arabic, Indian, French, English, and Chinese settlers contributed to its rich unique culture.

Madagascar Islands are deeply infused with traditions, values and ancient religious beliefs. Local myths, spirits and folklore play a big role in the lives of people with around 40% of the population practising and believing in all these. The Malagasy crafts include embroidered clothing from cotton, silk, special paper enclosing dried flowers and many other items. Madagascar also produces the world most exotic spice Vanilla.



Madagascar Tourism

Tourism in Madagascar Islands is the country’s second largest export earner. However, despite its high potential for tourism, Madagascar is still one of the poorest nations in the world. Political instability is one of the main obstacles in tourism growth. In addition to this, poor infrastructure also expensive flights affect tourist inflow.

But in spite of all the odds, the beauty of Madagascar Islands is still worth a visit. And the best time to visit Madagascar Islands is April to November. December to March are the tropical summer months. These hottest and the wettest period with occasional cyclones is better to avoid.

However, there are variations in weather according to the geographical regions. The southern region receives very little rainfall year-round. While the West coast is drier, the East coast is the wettest part of the island. Madagascar capital city Antananarivo has a temperate climate due to the altitude.



Top 10 places to visit in Madagascar Islands

  1. Avenue of the Baobabs: The Avenue of the Baobabs line up a dirt road lying between Morondava and Belon’i Tsiribihina. Locally known as ‘Queens of the forest’, these 800-year-old trees are one of the most visited places in Madagascar.


  1. Tsingy of Bemaraha: This National Park is best known for the unusually carved fossil deposits and colossal monoliths. These huge and spiked limestone formations are 5 million years old. The National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


  1. Nosy Be: Nosy Be or ‘Big Island’ in Malagasy on the northwest coast of Madagascar is one of the most expensive destinations of the island.


  1. Ifaty: Ifaty lies on the south-west coast and has several of the best beaches in Madagascar. Previously a small fishing village, this is a place to relax and enjoy spectacular sunsets.


  1. Ile Sainte Marie: Located in a remote corner of eastern Madagascar, Ile Sainte Marie gives an unspoiled view of Madagascar. Whale watching, visiting the pirate cemetery at Ambodifotatra are the prime attractions.


  1. Ranomafana National Park: This National Park on the southeast side of the island is best for hiking, camping, ecotourism and for exploring the vast flora and fauna. Golden lemurs are the top attraction.


  1. Isalo National Park: Popular for its wide variety of terrain, including sandstone formations, deep canyons, palm-lined oases, and grassland, this National Park supports several unique wildlife. The Bara People are the aboriginals of this place.


  1. Andasibe-Mantadia National Park: home to the large indri lemur, this park’s rich biodiversity includes native species like the big Parson’s chameleon, plus rare orchids and ferns.


  1. Royal Hill of Ambohimanga: Expressing strong feelings of national identity, The Royal Hill of Ambohimanga consists of a royal city and burial site, an ensemble of sacred places and splendours of the Merina dynasty. Ambohimanga or “the blue hill”, is a Unesco world heritage site.


  1. Antananarivo: The capital city of Madagascar, Antananarivo is located in the island’s Central Highlands.



Telecommunication in Madagascar

Options for making a phone call to and from Madagascar Islands are limited. There are 3 main service providers Orange, Telma and Airtel. It is recommended that you get a sim card from these providers as soon as you reach there.

When you are travelling to international destinations, it is better if you download an international calling app and use it for calling purposes. These apps use internet connection for calls and also offer other features as well. And most importantly the call charges are low as well as they offer free calling facility.


Ajura: The International Calling App


International Calling App Ajura is the one that offers international calling as well as international roaming facility. This app works on both Android and IOS platforms. You can download this app in your home country and activate the roaming feature after the initial registration process.

App-to-app calls free calling facility via internet connection is available. Ajura also offers you the option to call mobiles and landlines with no internet connection on the receiving end. For this, you need to recharge your account. But rest assured the call charges are negligible in comparison to the charges of the cellular service providers.


When away from home on a vacation it’s necessary to enjoy uninterrupted but at the same time keeping in touch with your dear ones is also a good thing. Therefore travel worldwide, while being near to your family with a simple phone call.

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