Amazing Madagascar: 14 facts about the exotic country from the animated film
What have you heard about Madagascar? Is it the same exotic country from the incredibly popular cartoon where zebras, hippos, and lions live? But what if everything there is much more interesting, even though the above animals have never been to this island? Let's find out.
- Madagascar is considered the largest country among those that occupy a single island. To understand its scale, imagine two Great Britain or five Iceland. The total area of the state is more than 587 thousand square kilometers, and the coastline stretches for almost 5 thousand kilometers.
- Scientists believe that Madagascar is the first island on earth. It broke away from the supercontinent Gondwana millions of years ago. And although the country is now geographically part of Africa, it was originally close to India.
- The majority of the island's population is Malagasy. They are the indigenous people of Madagascar. It is not surprising that their language is the main state language. By the way, the name of the country means "the end of the earth". This is due to the fact that the Indian tribes who first settled this territory believed that there was nothing further than the ocean.
- For a long time, Madagascar was a colony of France, so today French is the second official language on this island. Almost everyone speaks it, but it is rarely used in communication. Still, Malagasy is their native language.
- And now let's move on to refuting myths. There are no lions, penguins, hippos, giraffes, or zebras in Madagascar. However, there are many other animals that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. For example, zebu is a type of cow that is considered a sacred animal. There are also a lot of lemurs here. And these are far from friendly furry animals, they can be aggressive towards people. The biggest predators on the island are the yamkas. They have the body of a cat and a nose like a dog. So they look like real "cat dogs".
- There is also a lot of greenery here. In total, 15 thousand species of plants can be seen on the island, including various palms, orchids, and unusual baobabs. Madagascar boasts a large number of protected areas, as well as 20 national parks included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
- Like many similar islands, Madagascar suffers from total deforestation. Since the first people settled here, about 90% of the trees have disappeared. And this figure is growing every year under the influence of deforestation for timber or clearing the territory for construction. And the more the tourism business develops and the faster new hotels are built, the poorer the flora and fauna of this amazing region become.
- The people of Madagascar are very superstitious. They believe in hundreds of signs and follow rules that are incomprehensible to Europeans. For example, in some parts of the island, sons are not allowed to shave as long as their fathers are alive. Another interesting tradition concerns greetings. It is not customary to shake hands here. Instead, people rub their cheeks or noses (it all depends on how close they are to each other).
- You will definitely see a lot of dust and cobwebs in the homes of Madagascar people. And while the former is difficult to explain, the latter is quite simple. Some women make fabric from cobwebs. So in one of the US museums you can see such a canvas measuring 3 square meters. It took a lot of time to make it. It takes 4 years to catch spiders for this purpose.
- The people of Madagascar are deeply religious. And although officially most of them follow Christian traditions, in reality, the ancestor cult is still widespread here. This is evident in many things that are commonplace on the island. For example, the biggest fear of the people there is that they will not be buried in the family crypt. It is also customary here to ask for advice or permission from deceased relatives, to communicate with them and to remember them constantly.
- They also have a very interesting attitude to time. If you ask how long it will take, for example, to get to your destination, you might hear: "How long does the rice take to cook". Everything here is measured not in hours, but in processes. And it's almost impossible to get used to it.
- Today, Madagascar lives off tourism and exports of minerals, coffee, lychee, and shrimp. However, for a long time, the main income came from vanilla production. So when Coca-Cola, which was the main buyer of this spice, switched to a cheaper substitute, vanillin, the state suffered a significant financial blow.
- The cuisine on the island is very spicy and rich. Most dishes are made from rice, just like in India. Vegetables, seafood, meat, and a lot of spices are added to it. They also love cheese, so it's in many local recipes.
- And here's a curiosity. It is not customary to leave a tip in almost any place in Madagascar. Of course, no one will refuse them, but they will not demand them either.
In general, Madagascar is a very beautiful and unusual island. And although there are predators here, and sharks often swim near the shore, it is still worth coming here. Just follow the basic tips and avoid places that may pose a threat. And be sure to get all the necessary vaccinations to avoid catching a disease.
Earlier, OBOZREVATEL told unusual facts about Jamaica.