Located in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Mozambique in south-east Africa, Madagascar is the world's 4th largest island and slightly bigger than France. Separated from the African mainland for 165 million years, Madagascar has developed a wildlife all of its own. For example, the island has 70 species of lemur, found nowhere else on earth. The people too are different: believed to have arrived via Indian Ocean trade routes some 2000 years ago, they have a language like something from SE Asia and a set of beliefs that includes magic, taboo and supernatural powers. Variety is the island's great strength. From the central capital city of Antananarivo (Tana) to the town of Tulear in the south-west, there is a great deal to explore. Trek in the rainforest at Ranomafana, watch the sun rise at the summit of Peak Boby (2658m / 8720ft) and meet the local people as they work in the rice fields, with a backdrop of stately baobab trees.


Madagascar is the world's 4th largest island at 587,000 square kilometers (227,500 sq miles). Madagascar lies off the Mozambique coast in the Indian Ocean. It's main landforms are an interior highland and flanking lowlands, which are narrow on the east coast and broad on the west. The island's highest peak, Maromokotro at 2,879 m / 9,440 ft located in the far north of the country. The Ankaratra Massif is in the central area south of the capital Antananarivo. Further south is the Andringitra massif which has several peaks over 2,400 m / 7,900 ft including Pic Boby (2,658 m / 8,720 ft).

The eastern, or windward side of the island is home to tropical rainforests, while the western and southern sides, which lie in the rain shadow of the central highlands, are home to tropical dry forests, thorn forests, and deserts and shrublands. Madagascar's dry deciduous rain forest has been preserved generally better than the eastern rainforests or the high central plateau.

Extensive deforestation has taken place in parts of the country, some due to mining operations. Slash-and-burn activity, has occurred in the eastern and western dry forests as well as on the central high plateau, reducing certain forest habitat and applying pressure to some endangered species. The resulting increased surface runoff from burned lands has caused significant erosion and resulting high sedimentation to western rivers.

Time Zone

The time in Madagascar is GMT + 3 hours.