7 reasons why you need to travel to Madagascar
Number 7 is sacred in Madagascar for several reasons, mostly cultural. We have therefore chosen it to give you the some reasons why traveling to Madagascar.
1 – A unique diversity of nature
Madagascar is worldly renowned for being a sanctuary of nature. Historically, Madagascar is a portion that broke off from the Gondwana supercontinent and clearly has kept a lot of its of its natural heritage. In fact, 80% of malagasy animals and plants are found nowhere else in the world.
In terms of wildlife, lemurs, which usually symbolize the national mascots are the most famous animals of Madagascar. There is also the world’s largest butterfly, the comet, the chameleons, the fosa and many others. Fosa is the only feline found in Madagascar since there is no big cats. There is not any venomous snakes either.
In terms of flora, there is the traveller’s tree or Ravinala, the seven species of baobab among the ten existing in the whole world, the aloe very popular in cosmetics and pharmacology, and many others you should discover there.
Natural parks and natural special reserves are multipying every year and meeting international standards to accommodate every type of visitors such as scientists or tourists.
2 – A unique and original destination
Unlike similar travel destinations, mass tourism has not yet made its way to Madagascar. The latter is a bit like the best kept secret on the planet (!). A misfortune for operators in the area. From egg to chicken, Madagascar is poorly known by large consumers of travel products as North American. The Big Island is so well-preserved from cliche destination that neither McDonald nor KFC have not yet put their grain of salt in the country. Instead, for the same price you pay for this kind of fast food, you can have fine and fresh food that you can not even dream to eat in America.
3 – The people, the culture
The Malagasy are known to be friendly and welcoming people with their easy smile and an authenticity often missing in occidental country. Discover how easy people invite you to their home to share a family meal.
Just be sure to finish your whole dish to not offend your host!
Malagasy traditional values are respectively Zanahary – literally the One who created namely God. And then come the razana or ancestors. And finally comes the living. Among the living, the elderly are particularly respected in the society to a point that it is unimaginable to intern them in a retiring house. One can not talk nor eat before the eldest did. Older means not only in terms of age but also according to status in society.
Traditional habits as Sambatra, circumcision, and famadihana are events that also attract the curiosity of many vazaha – foreigners. An animated film about the famadihana or exhumation in Madagascar was nominated for an Oscar. Click here to learn more.
4 – One word: accessibility
Madagascar is served by nine airlines including national carrier Air Madagascar. No american company is present for now so that the north american travelers should make a stopover in Europe or Africa to surrender.Apart from the cost of airline tickets, travel expenses for hotels, food and activities related fares in Madagascar are the cheapest. It is not a surprise since the local currency is at its lowest. On February 18, 2011, the MGA value as of the Central Bank of Madagascar have been:
1CAD = 2 045.47 Ariary
1USD = 2 012.95 Ariary
One can easily enjoy the local luxury spas with international standing, their essential oils produced naturally on site. You can also bring back from your trip various valued spices at a very low cost as natural vanilla, which also made Madagascar famous around the world. There is also the cloves, different types of pepper, cinnamon,turmeric, nutmeg, etc… Treat your loved ones or impress your boss by bringing them handicrafts made of sisal, wood, coconut shell, precious stone, or other materials typically local.
5- A king’s feast…
You’ve read in a previous article that rice is Madagascar’s main dish. The riceaccompaniments are as diverse as flavorful, and are usually sold or cooked with no processing. Think of lobster and seafood freshly caught from the day grilled beef or chicken skewers which prepared especially late in the day, fresh and organic vegetables from the next garden … traceability guaranteed!
In Malagasy cuisine, it is rather about the taste than the presentation.
Beer lovers will be delighted with the national beer, the Three Horses Beer for THB, which quality is compared to a good belgian or german beer. Amateurs will tell you that it tastes the beautiful Stella Artois (see the pub!). Some malagasy wines are also quite popular as the Clos Malaza, Maromby, or Lazan’i Bestileo. For the spirits and coolers, the company Dzama continue to
innovate and bring on all kinds of tropical flavors. That being said, beware of local made alcohol spread everywhere that can be dangerous.
The icing on the cake: fruits. They are plentiful, varied and available all year. Imagine all the combinations of desserts and cocktails made possible with such ingredients. It’s mouth watering, eh!
6 – A modern world to visit
In popular malagasy destinations such as Nosy Be, Diego Suarez, St Marie, Antsirabe and Antananarivo, luxuryhotels are available. They line up to international standard level of equipment, customer service, accessibility and sustainable development. In less crowded places, there are smaller hotels with basic amenities,bungalows especially in coastal areas, lodges, … Most hotels accept credit card payments.
Internet is available in major cities through Internet cafes or mobile Internet, or, more and more frequently by residential subscription.
Cell phone companies compete against each other for the benefit of consumers. Indeed, the price of the device and the usage rates cost so much less expensive that even the poorest segment of the population can easily get one. With the “taxi-phones”, a kind of mobile phone booth on the sides of roads – but the glass case is replaced
by an umbrella – you can easily make a phone cheap phone call when passing. Note that you do not pay for incoming calls regardless of the company who you are with.
Is it still necessary to answer the question if there is electricity in Madagascar?
7 – Dedicated operators
The Malagasy tourism is probably not the most organized in the world but the local operators do an incredible job when it comes to making your trip memorable. Several activities are mounted to match the originality of the proposed destination, such as excursions to discover the seaside, whalewatching, climbing, paragliding, caving, cruises, surfing, clubbing, etc..
Conventional circuits you will led you to visit Antananarivo, Antsirabe and the Vakinankaratra, the country of Zafimaniry tribe, Ambalavao, Diego Suarez, Fort Dauphin, Anakao, Sainte-Marie and Nosy Be. Almost all local operators will offer customized tours tailored with the duration of your trip, your budget, the sites you want to visit and your interests whether you are a researcher, tourist, student, etc…
If you are non conformist and like to keep your independence, you can simply rent a jeep to ride around the Big Island freely. Car rental companies, as Mimosa Voyages suggest you take a driver-guide to accompany you. You should know that driving in Madagascar is a little complexe if not used to it. And be aware that you could not go around the entire island in a three weeks trip.