Madagascar is an island country in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of Southeast Africa and is the world's 4th largest island. The Mozambique Channel separates Madagascar from Africa. With a natural environment that has evolved in relative isolation much of Madagascar's incredible flora and fauna is unique to the island. Its culture is influenced by Africa, India and Southeast Asia. Explore its highlands, rainforests, national parks, open savannah and semi desert. Its 5,000 km of coastline makes for great diving amongst beautiful coral reefs. Come, discover the undiscovered!
Best time to visit: April and September to November.
Cuisine is influenced by French, African, Arabian, Indonesian and Indian cuisine, but is not too spicy. Specialties include the staple Ro - rice with herbs and fragrant leaves, vegetables and curries, Ravitoto – a beef and herb dish, Zebu - beef steaks with a creamy green peppercorn sauce, Smalona - stuffed eels. Fish including lobster and shellfish are in plentiful supply. Pizza is popular everywhere.
Start with the Government craft stores, markets and the shopping mall on the Avenue of Independence in Antananarivo. Buy Lamba – sarong like patched cloth in a variety of traditional patterns and designs, marquetry on wood ware, silver Mahafaly crosses and Vangavanga bracelets; shell and precious stone jewellery, embroidered garments and linen. Take home vanilla pods. Products or by products using native flora or fauna, gems and minerals are on the restricted list and will require an export permit.
There’s plenty to do at night - enjoy live bands and discos, nightclubs, bars and restaurants. Try your luck at the casinos in Antananarivo, Tamatave and on Nosy Be. On week-end nights, some city restaurants offer shows with blues and jazz live music. Traditional dance troupe performances can also be seen.
Madagascar visa is on arrival for 90 days stay.
Madagascar international airport is very well connected to the outside world and has direct flights from various parts of the world. Air Seychelles, Air Mauritius and Kenya Airways offer connections to Madagascar, from India.
The good news is that taxis-brousses are cheap and go everywhere. The bad news is that they are slow, uncomfortable, erratic and sometimes unsafe.
Better to book your holiday through a travel company. Roads are not good and narrow.
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