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Madagascar

Lemurs of the Masoala National Park; the Avenue of the Baobabs; pinnacles of the Tsingy de Bemaraha Reserve; boat wrecks and coral reefs of Nosy Be and Sainte Marie; rich marine life and wrecks of Sakatia.

Madagascar, or the Republic of Madagascar, is an island nation in the Indian Ocean, located on the fourth largest island in the world and several smaller islands off the coast of Africa. The total area of the country is 587 thousand square kilometers; the population is about 24 million people. The capital is Antananarivo. The official languages are Malagasy and French.

The national currency is the Malagasy ariary. Major credit cards are widely accepted, though outside big cities it is highly recommended to have enough cash. You can exchange money at banks or big hotels, or you can withdraw the local currency in ATMs, which can be found in most cities.

Madagascar’s terrain consists of a narrow coastal plain, a high plateau and mountains in the center. The highest mountain is Maromokotro (2.9 kilometers). The climate of Madagascar is tropical in the coastal regions, arid in the south and temperate inland.

It is said that Madagascar became the first island on the Earth after separating from Gondwana about 6 million years ago. It became inhabited by people only 2 thousand years ago. Madagascar is often called the eighth continent for its great biodiversity – thousands of animal and plant species can be found here.

Madagascar is famous for its lemurs, which can be seen and admired in the Ranomafana National Park, a very picturesque area with plentiful streams running among hills, covered with lush forests; the Masoala National Park, home to ten species of lemur and lots of birds and reptiles; and in Andasibe-Mantadia National Park, featuring the largest lemur of the island.

Nature lovers will be glad to see The Avenue of the Baobabs, some of which are 8 centuries old; the Tsingy de Bemaraha Reserve, where you can see a fantastic landscape formed by limestone pinnacles; and the Isalo National Park, including grassland, sandstone formations and precipitous canyons.

Those who come to Madagascar to busk in the sun listening to tranquiling ocean voice, will praise the beaches of the Ile Sainte Marie, where you can see the wrecks of pirate ships and watch migrating humpback whales from the shore; and the coast of Ifaty, whose crystal clear waters are ideal for swimming and snorkeling.

Connoisseurs of history will like Ambohimanga, the former capital of Madagascar, where you can see the former royal residence with rosewood walls and some artifacts of King Andrianampoinimerina.

Airports

Ivato International Airport (TNR), the main international airport of Madagascar located 16 kilometers from Antananarivo.

Diving in Madagascar

Diving in Madagascar has been attracting an increasing number of divers. Lots of pristine coral reefs, underwater visibility and an exceptional richness and diversity of marine fauna make diving in these waters truly memorable. The coast of the western part of the country features continuous and steep cliffs and great variety of species. The east coast of the island is also very suitable for diving.

Most dive sites are located around Nosy Be Island in the upper north-west, Ile Sainte Marie in the east and Tulear Island in the south-west.

Diving near Nosy Be you will see some fishing boat wrecks and plenty of coral reefs, especially in the marine park of Nosy Tanikely. The underwater fauna includes sea turtles, hammerhead sharks, crocodile fish, whale sharks, groupers and manta rays. Moreover, from September to November migrating humpback whales can be seen here.

The waters of Sainte Marie feature interesting wrecks and fancy coral formations.

Off Sakatia you will find various dive sites from 6 to 50 meters deep, with walls, coral reefs, drops, pinnacles and stunning gorgonians, where it is possible to meet dolphins, whale sharks, whales and manta rays. Beside that here you will find 4 middle-sized wrecks lying at a depth of 26-29 meters.

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