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Madagasikara in some strong images
Respecting the children, mothers, old people, and rice plantations are recommended by the tradition. Rice, the basic food of Malagasy people, is cultivated in the draughtboard-fields or as in Fianarantsoa region sometimes in terrace cultivation on the hillsides. At present, large farming is being extended to facilitate mechanization. 'Do not sing of your own merits as the rice which boils in the pot... Do like rice ears: to be held right is well, knowing how to bow is better...' and anything else as well. Here, in Madagasikara, rice fills the proverbs. The Malagasy will not ask you for meal, but to share his rice. Manasa hihinam-bary e!
Mark of wealth, particularly in the Middle-West, the West and the South, the 'ox with bump' allows to value the social statuses. The largest coulourful markets of zebus are in Ambalavao and Tsiroanomandidy. Nothing is lost in this symbolic animal: his force for the yoking or the ploughing, the skin for the craft industry, the horns for the traditional pharmacopoeia, the flesh for the butchery, and the sacrifice for the ancestors...
The beam dugout
It is generally called 'lakambezo' or Vezo dugout. When you see it so frail under its large rectangular sail, you can hardly believe that the beam dugout could be used during the large odyssey of the protomalagasy! From Itampolo or Anakao in the South to Nosy Be and its small islands in the North, Lakambezo is present along the western coast. During their call on the cost, the sail is quikly transformed into tent. As well as for fishing, the beam dugout is also used in certain ritual ceremonies.
Gems of Madagasikara fauna, the exact number of the diurnal or nocturnal species of lemurs has not been determined yet, since other specimen continue to be discovered! Their size goes from that of mouse (Microcèbe) to that of boy's (Indri monogamist, without tail, and famous for its 'song'). The Lemur Catta with their long ringed tail is also quite spectacular, the Sifaka with golden crown recognizable with its yellow cap between the two ears. The nocturnal Aye Aye with rabbit-teeth and bat-ears, barely saved from extinction, is the most strange of them.
This orchid of culture introduced in Madagascar in 1870 was especially established in the North-East. Before other countries like Uganda, India or Papua New Guinea, Madagasikara is the first exporter in the world with its annual production regularly exceeding 1,000 tons. Its natural vanilla quality will never be the same as the pale products of synthesis! Tourists can carry 2 kg of them, and often choose craft industry ingeniously made with braided vanilla pods. After a football match between the Ivory Coast and Madagasikara, Didier Drogba has received a superb counterplea of the World cup... out of vanilla!
The ylang ylang
The knotty and tortured aspect of this strange 'upside down tree' is due to the intentional blocking of its growth to facilitate the gathering of its green and yellow flowers. The petals are manually picked each day, an operation requiring delicacy and patience, and for your curiosity it needs 100 kg of flowers to produce 2.5 kg of oil! The purified essence of ylang ylang is used in cosmetic products and perfumes preparation by several great laboratories.
The baobab tree
Some people call it 'the roots of the sky' because its branches horizontally spread out at the end of the bole and other people the 'Reniala' or Mother of the Forest for its size dominating that of the other trees. The region of Morondava is truly its 'fatherland', because we can find there the majority of the 7 malagasy species, from the smallest Adansonia Fony with its 5 m high to the most imposing Adansonia Grandidieri reaching from 30 to 40 m high. The baobab trees of Morondava can be Sacred, 'In love' with their intertwined trunks, or forming a true Alley which is admired by the visitors coming from the whole world!
The great prints of the geology
Two places come immediately in our mind as soon as we speak about these masterpieces of nature: Isalo and the Tsingy of Bemaraha. In Isalo, erosion has carved fantastic forms from the steep needles to the rock blocks where your imagination will help you to recognize a boot, a window, a lion, an authentic queen with her crown and her coat... Concerning Tsingy, after the sea emerged their 'matter', primarily composed of coral plates and shells, the rain and the wind carved them million years ago. Today they form the true limestone forests with sharp-edged points; others speak about 'cathedrals' that UNESCO has classified as the World Inheritance of Humanity.
The traditional ceremonies
The different regions of Madagasikara have their colourful ceremonies during which the remote traditions revive and are lived with enthusiasm. For example: the Northern part, Tsanga-tsaina or Ceremony of the Mast of the ethnos group of Antakarana, Fanompoambe or Bath of the Royal Relics of Sakalava of Boina in Mahajanga, Alahamadibe or New Malagasy Year on the High Plateaus, the collective circumcision or Sambatra in the South-east of Mananjary. Much sought after in Menabe, the Fitampoha during which the Royal Relics are taken out of their 'zomba' to be honored on the edges of the river at Ampasy, in Belo on Tsiribihina.
The funerary art
In certain regions, the extent of art and the funerary rites is explained by the real Malagasy philosopher whose life is being prolonged in the invisible. The tombs can be the real mausoleums, reaching 15 m on side, for the Antandroy and Mahafaly from the Southern part. Its summit is planted of carved aloalo which relates again in a joyful way the life of died person. In Morondava region, the oldest sculptures represent personages or herons (heroes) laid out according to a very precise orientation. As for the famous erotic sculptures, unfortunately they have been decimated by the unscrupulous plunderers...
The craft industry
Certainly don't leave Madagasikara again with empty hands! The Malagasy craftsman creativity takes the best from all the possible supports: wood and other plants, skin and horn of zebu, ores, fabrics of which silk and even cans of food with which are made small truer cars than natural. Many colored products are often spread out by the trunk roadsides. Cities and villages were assimilated to their speciality.But the palm indisputably comes to Ambositra again, capital of marquetry and the Zafimaniry art, and to Ambalavao 'synonymous' of sumptuous betsileo fabrics and antemoro paper.
The whale watching
Specific but from now on it is known all over the world, the whale watching methodically well organized, especially in the Sainte-Marie Island, is one of many specificities of Madagasikara destination. It takes place between June and September. But the ballet of the Cetacean and their whale-calves can also be watched in many other sites like Antongil Bay, or Anakao. A voyage of 5.000 km will have been necessary for these humpback whales to join malagasy waters, after living on in the polar sea during the whole summer!
Tsingy of Bemaraha Park
- Morondava and its legendary baobab trees,
- Refuge of the giant jumping rat 'Vositse'
- The biggest carnivorous of Madagascar 'Fosa'
- A navigation of another age by dugout,
- Majesty of the Tsiribihina river...
- Morondava, and the baobab trees country.
Sainte-Marie, Andasibe park
- The slow metamorphosis of the landscape
- Andasibe, the most attended Protected Areas
- Sainte Marie, a Garden-Island