A Unique Island
In the southern hemisphere, Madagascar is in the southwest part of the Indian Ocean and separated from the southeast coast of Africa by the Mozambique Channel. With an area of 587,401 km², Madagascar is a micro-continent and the fourth largest island in the world after Greenland, New Guinea and Borneo.
Two-thirds of the country are highlands, ranging between 800 and 1,600 m in altitude. While the central highlands have a temperate climate with well-differentiated hot summers and cool winters, the coastal regions are generally hot all year round.
Among Madagascar’s best-known offshore islands, Nosy Be is the largest, Sainte Marie is the most authentic, but Nosy Komba or Lemur Island is the most bewitching.
The country’s inhabitants are the Malagasy and the official languages are Malagasy and French.
Madagascar is also known for having been ruled by queens including Ranavalona I, II and III. Even today, people say about a strong-willed woman : « She is a Ranavalona ».
The island’s outstanding endemic biodiversity stems from the fact that Madagascar separated from the African continent about 100 million years ago. So isolation, varying climates and the absence of large predators have contributed to the unique evolution of its current species.
A Nature Sanctuary
Coral reefs, fine sandy beaches, traveler's trees, baobab alleys, the aquatic jungle, savannahs but also lemurs define the exceptional biodiversity of the country.
The Big Island, sometimes called « the Red Island » in reference to the laterite which colors its plateaus, is also known worldwide for having the best cocoa, wild peppers, pink peppercorns, vanilla, cinnamon, exotic fruits, organic shrimps from Majunga and many others. Many medicinal plants are endemic to Madagascar, thus creating exceptional essential oils. The best known are the essential oils of ravintsara, katrafay and iary.
De nombreuses plantes médicinales sont endémiques de Madagascar créant ainsi des huiles essentielles d’exception. Les plus connues sont les huiles essentielles de ravintsara, de katrafay et d’iary.
This unique feature in the world has earned Madagascar the distinction of being a « nature sanctuary ».