Madagascar receives very few tourists, which is a shame because it’s one of the most stunning places on earth. Here are 10 fun facts about this vibrant African country, some have only seen on the animation movie by the same name ‘Madagascar’, to pique your interest in travelling there. And no, there are no penguins in Madagascar!
The standard greeting
The standard way people greet each other in Madagascar is by saying, “Mbola tsara Manahoana, Manakory, Akory.” These sing-songy words translate to, “Hello, Good morning.”
Extremely rare wildlife
90 percent of Madagascar’s wildlife cannot be found anywhere else on the planet, including the adorable lemur, the carnivorous fossa and several birds.
The locals live modestly
Very modestly. 90 percent of the population gets by on less than $3 a day. But they are still happy to welcome visitors to their homes.
The locals speak French
There are two official languages in Madagascar: Malagasy and French. In 1897 Madagascar was absorbed into the French colonial empire and was under their rule until 1960 when they became an independent country.
Over 930 orchid species grow on the island. Ecologists refer to the island as the “eighth continent” because of its incredible biodiversity.
It’s one of the largest islands
Madagascar is the 4th largest island in the world, taking up an area that is four times smaller than Greenland but only slightly smaller than New Guinea and Borneo.
The 1999 Petanque World Champion was from Madagascar. Petanque is a game in which a player stands inside of a starting circle with both feet planted and throws hollow metal balls as near to a small wooden ball as they can get them.
The Malagasy are martial art geniuses
The traditional martial art of the island is called Moraingy and it uses absolutely no weapons but rather is a bare-fisted striking style.
Lemurs are celebrities
Lemurs, mentioned previously as an animal only found in Madagascar, often have main roles in Malagasy taboo-related folk tales. Lemurs are considered to be protectors and sometimes thought of as relatives to humans.
Malagasy are great poets
One of Madagascar’s main forms of art is oratory. The Malagasy are known for writing and reciting epic poems. The art is broken down into three categories: hainteny (poetry), kabary (public discourse) and ohabolana (proverbs).