Madagascar Favorite Tips by Norali Top 5 Page for this destination
Madagascar Favorites: 63 reviews and 98 photos
Not good to be a Foza orana... as a crustacean
Favorite thing: Not a favourite but... Year 2009 started out with a political crisis in already economical-crisis-stricken Madagascar. 2008 ended with a series of demonstrations led by capital city mayor, Andry Rajoelina. The latter and his clique dubbed themselves "Orange revolutioneers". Everywhere in Tana streets: orange flags, orange tee-shirts, orange scarves. Later on, the revolution turned into a putsch that led to the departure of Pdt Marc Ravalomanana out of the country (March 17). In between, the "Orange" revolution has led into lootings, arsons of commerce, malls in Tana and other major cities (26 Jan. 2009, our "Black Monday"). Feb. 7, shots while the "Orange folks" marched to assault the President office. Still Orange, huh ? The then mayor had become Head of a Banana republic state (as hed of putschists, rather). Trying to have the international recognition. In vain... Madagascar is in crisis, regarding several aspects of it: economical (what's new? it's it everywhere in the world), political, social, spiritual. I see the end of it... but have to wait.
Sooo... what a crustacean to do with all this ?
Foza orana is a crustacean that was (criminally?) lately introduced into Madagscar. It kills fishes, eats rice springs and made itself its bad press. Plus, it's so wide and quickly spread that makes it even more dislikable. It's halfway between a foza (our tiny mud crabs) and a orana (crayfish).
Foza orana, as an adjective is to qualify an item that is easily to be found everywhere. Like those phones sold by telecom companies which are dead cheap and that are so widespread everyone has to check his/ her own phone screen each time a ring is heard in a bus.
Foza orana, as an adjective is to qualify an easy girl. One can have her so easily (cheaply?). Also, it has become the nickname of "Orange movement" folks. Not only because of the colour (pic. 2), also because of the Orange demonstrators being mostly made up with pickpockets, looters which were paid to swell the bulk of demonstrators and their militia.
"Biby nitour-ne", i.e "an species that has turned into something else", is also to describe this crustacean which is half crab half crayfish.
Nope, it's not good to be a foza orana, as a crustacean... nor a human.
To me, eating foza orana is to contribute in erasing the crisis in rural areas, as it eats rice springs, fishes and well, many here think that getting rid of urban foza orana is to end the crisis... lol
Posy-posy (ricksaw) is commonly used in Mada
Favorite thing: This Indian Ocean Island of mine is located East of Mozambica coast ( least distance between Mada & Africa is about 400 km ). Size is as 18 times as much as Belgium's, 1.5 times as UK's or some 587 000 km². 18 millions of inhabitants, Malagasy people.
* Antananarivo as capital city (my city).
* Until lately, 6 provinces (Faritany). New official arrangement lists 22 regions. Analamanga, Bongolava, Itasy, Vakinankaratra (from the Antananarivo province); Diana, Sava (from Antsiranana); Amoron'i Mania, Atsimo Atsinanana, Haute Matsiatra, Ihorombe, Vatovavy Fitovinany (from the Fianarantsoa's); Betsiboka, Boeny, Melaky, Sofia (from the Mahajanga's); Alaotra Mangoro, Analanjirofo, Atsinanana (from the Toamasina's); Androy, Anosy, Atsimo Andrefana, Menabe (from the Toliara's).
Whilst the artificial partition in province was introduced by colonials, cultural reality has one day to prevail. The current 22-region-partition is simply a translation of the peaceful coexistence of 22 tribes within an island. Here & more than ever, difference means wealth.
The VT database still runs the old scheme with Faritanin' Antananarivo; Faritanin' i Toamasina; Faritanin' i Fianarantsoa; Faritanin' Antsiranana; Faritanin' i Mahajanga; Faritanin' i Toliara ... Not to be mixed up with their main towns: Antananarivo; Toamasina; Fianarantsoa; Antsiranana; ´Mahajanga; Toliara cities.
* Ooops, I forgot!... 5000 km of beach: yellow sand, grey sand, white sand...
Fondest memory: * Landscape ranges from rainforest areas to desert. Rain uses to mould the Island landscape. Dry, yellow-grass steppes and savanna in inland may turn green in rainy seasons. East coast is the most humid area as West coast is the driest. Plains alternate with hills and rocky mountains.
This unique and varied nature that spreads over these 6 provinces, is, however, under threaten. Man, unaware of the Island uniqueness, used to burn steppes, forests, chop trees for profit and, therefore, exterminate endangered species... Thanks to awareness arising, efforts are made to preserve nature's future .. thus man's future.
Also a hope for the future
Picture shows posy - posy, pousse-pousse or ricksaw. Its use is widely spread all over the area. Whilst it is used for conveying goods in Tana area, elsewhere, it is used for people's transportation. Quite in each province's capital city, you can hire posy in urban areas.
Faritanin' Antsiranana (N)
Favorite thing: UNDER CONSRTUCTION
The new official partition in regions 2 regions in this faritany: Diana & Sava.
Faritanin' i Toamasina (E)
Favorite thing: Faritanin' i Toamasina is located on Eastern coast & edged with Indian Ocean. It stretches from Antongila Bay (North) to Nosy Varika. Toamasina is the Malagasy first port city.
Mainly inhabited by Betsimisaraka (for main parts), it comprehends other tribes such as Bezanozano (Western part of Moramanga), Sihanaka (Ambatondrazaka region). It has been common to assimilate this province with Betsimisaraka. The new official partition in regions is a simple translation of the cultural reality. This province is now divided in 3 regions: Alaotra Mangoro, Analanjirofo, Atsinanana. Btw, "Betsimisaraka" means "those who cannot be divided".
Landscape is made of rainforests in the inland and superb beach shores. Deep rainforests use to house several species of lemurs, orchids, birds. Nonetheless, they are endangered since hurricanes, torrential rains, floods and Man contributed in destroying such wonders... WWF and Malagasy government implemented programs to protect nature and last remnants of the whole deep forest that covered Madagascar in the past. Note its nickname turning from "Blue Island" into "Red Island" after the past 30-year communist regime & the red earth that replaced deep blue forests.
Not to forget as well that the French fit out Lakandranon' Ampanalana known as Canal des Pangalanes. Rivers, lakes, pounds were "merged" so as to make it easy to convey goods and develop trade between coastal cities in a large channel... 700 km accessible by boat, pirogue...
This is the rainiest & most unpredictable part of the Island. In rainy season (Jan- March), water & winds just combine their powerful actions with strong hurricanes (cyclones) that devastate everything. Ap.-May, far less rain and bright sun. June-Oct., those kind of sudden, heavy but short rains in sunny weather. They just leave sky clear, bright sun and smoky earth. All of that just comes in unpredictable ways since climate changes in Mada & elsewhere.
Fondest memory: See my Toamasina province page as well as pages on cities of:
- "Heading East" I, II Tlogues in Faritanin'i Toamasina pages
Lakandranon' Ampanalana is my fondest memory of this part of the island. See my "Off the beaten path tips" in Faritanin'i Toamasina as well...
Faritanin' i Toliara (S- SW)
Favorite thing: UNDER CONSTRUCTION
The new official partition in regions lists 4 regions in this Faritany: Androy, Anosy, Atsimo Andrefana, Menabe.
Fondest memory: Please note that 3 albums are dedicated to my "Big South Journey" and tips related to them are in my Madagascar pages. Big South Journey is this roadtrip from Tana to Toliara surroundigs.
Faritanin' i Mahajanga (N-W; W)
Favorite thing: UNDER CONSTRUCTION
Faritanin' i Mahajanga occupies a long territory West of the island. Used to be referred as the Boina region, it, however comprehends other regions inhabited by other tribes. The new official partition in regions is a simple translation of the cultural reality. This province is now divided in 4 regions: Betsiboka, Boeny, Melaky, Sofia .
I started posting pics in my Mahajanga page. Tips are added bit by bit...
Fondest memory: See my Mahajanga province and city pages.
I just discovered this wesite, kind of interesting, about the province of Mahajanga. Browse it, you would find interesting info about tourism in the area (in French): www.majunga.org
Faritanin' Antananarivo (Center)
Favorite thing: Faritanin' Antananarivo is the capital city' s province. It is located in the Highlands, in the center of Madagascar & mainly inhabited by Merina peoples. "Merina" means "Those who live in the heights". The region uses to be named "Imerina" as well whilst it actually comprehends other regions inhabited by other tribes. The new official partition in regions is a simple translation of the cultural reality. This province is now divided in 4 regions: Analamanga (region of the Merina), Bongolava, Itasy, Vakinankaratra.
Some of these regions share the Highlands (altitude varying from 700 to 2800m) with Sihanaka (Eastern part of Highlands), Betsileo (Fianarantsoa province), Tanala, Bara (Fianarantsoa and Toliara provinces) peoples.
Landscape is made of hills and plains (that house acres of ricefields), with wide ranges of red, green shades. Red shades come from red earth, orange bricks as ricefields, grass on hills display several shades of green depending on growing of rice plants. The region counts many sacred lakes as well. Some of them resulted from past vulcano activities (cratera lake Tritriva, for instance). Beware, many fady in those spots...
Due to height, climate there is fresher than anywhere else in Madagascar. From March to October, winter nights (0°C in Antsirabe) but noon temperature can reach 25°C. Rainy and hot from November till March.
Fondest memory: Roadtrips.. lunar landscape through Andringitra massif (see my Faritanin' Antananarivo page for that).. Soil burning *sigh*.. Fog on winter mornings
See my pages on cities of:
- Antananarivo city (Ambohimanga and Ambohidrabiby included)
- Antsirabe city
to have my feelings on those cities... You won't be deceived
Faritanin' i Fianarantsoa (Center- SE)
Favorite thing: Known as the Betsileo province, located in the center of Madagascar & mainly inhabited by Betsileo peoples. However, Eastern parts of the province (East coast) are home of Tanala ("those who live in forests"), Antambahoaka, Antaimoro ("those who live in the banks") & Antefasy ("those who live in sandy areas") peoples. In Ambositra area, Zafimaniry families, traditional woodcraftsmen, adjoin with Tanala peoples in the forests. The new official partition in regions is a simple translation of the cultural reality. This province is now divided in 5 regions: Amoron'i Mania, Atsimo Atsinanana, Haute Matsiatra, Ihorombe, Vatovavy Fitovinany.
Betsileo & Tanala share the Highlands (altitude varying from 700 to 2800m) with Sihanaka (Eastern part of Highlands) & Bara (Fianarantsoa & Toliara provinces) peoples.
Landscape is made of hills & plateau, includes Andringitra massif. Like anywhere else in Highlands, red shades come from red earth, orange bricks. Ricefields terraces, grass on hills display many shades of green depending on the rice growing. That was for Highlands.
As for the Eastern parts, they include villages that are edged by Lakandranon' Ampanalana on one hand & Indian ocean on another hand. Nice shores.
And of course, don't forget that Fianar is the gate to South. Amazing landscapes are in my 3 albums dedicated to my "Big South Journey". This is the province where Eastern rainforests adjoin with bush and desert areas, those of Southern parts.
Due to height, climate in the Highlands part is fresh in winter. March-Oct., winter nights but noon temperature can reach 25°C. Rainy & hot in Nov.- March.
In Eastern parts (East coast), climate is unpredictable. These are the rainiest parts of the Island. In rainy season (Jan- March), water and winds just combine their powerful actions with strong hurricanes (cyclones) that devastate everything. April & May, far less rain & bright sun. June-Oct., those kind of sudden heavy but short rains in sunny weather.
Fondest memory: See my pages on Fianarantsoa province as well as my pages on Fianarantsoa city.
Fondest memories: "Big South Journey".
Please note that 3 albums are dedicated to my "Big South Journey". They include pictures and comments on Fianarantsoa. Find them amongst below Tlogues. Enjoy!
Chameleon in a nature park.. far from the networld
Favorite thing: Cybercafes in Tana area: some addresses I could gather here and there. Who knows, they may be useful one day. Never tried them though... Also check at your hotel in case internet is available. Internet at hotels is reputed far better & safer & more expensive than cybercafés though.
- Cybercafé de l'Ouest
III G 55 Ouest Ambohijanahary Tél. 02022.545.07
Lot IVG 1 bis Behoririka
- City.net Mahamasina
- Free Net
Lot IVE 32bis Behoririka
Tél.03312.782.05 - 03312.029.02
- Multi Electronics Espace Web
70m from Ampasapito U-turn on the road to Institut Pasteur
Tél. 020 22.528.13
Mon- Sat + Sun. morning
- Planète Cybercafe
0 20 22.555.51 between DECORAMA shop and Behoririka bridge.
Terminus taxi B Andoharanofotsy
0 20 22.573.12
- Zéro un
202 Rte Circulaire Ambaninida
0 20 22.317.81 - 03312.087.67
Fondest memory: I am starting gathering adresses in other areas too and will update...
The hardest at work have sthg to eat, the others..
Favorite thing: Rich fauna, flora, nature to marvel at, soil WEALTH ... and population POVERTY.
Madagascar is amongst world's poorest countries. For decades, population has to struggle for life. 80% of population is rural, many being illiterate. In remote areas, no electricity neither current water.
For years, government members just grabbed all they could at expenses of population. The latter uses to tackle tough life, the one international institutions use to impose in order to meet up criteria for financial backing.
The South, for instance, has suffered from starvation for years. Years ago, volunteers and humanitarian groups went there to see and save some lives. However, Madagascar's then government made everything possible to hide Southern starvation, declaring that there was not any starvation in the Southern region.
Same thing as for Malagasy students in Europe. In Belgium, Malagasy students have been facing some strange situation in paying higher scholarship fees. Belgium has agreements with other countries as far as students are concerned. Thus, African students pay, at most, same fees as Belgians, NOT Malagasy students.
In fact, Malagasy students are in same category as US, Japanese students since, according to our then president, Malagasy students could afford studying. Thus, there is no point in putting Madagascar in same category as other African countries.
In fact, even some volunteers to save some lives in Southern Madagascar were hindered in their job. Even some countries that accepted that Malagasy students pay less were prevented from doing so.
Why that, would you say? In my humble opinion, because of some ego of then Malagasy officials who didn't want the world to see that the country was so poor, that people were starving. Too late for them, MSF and journalists were there.
These are examples of what happened there, of what people have endured for decades (esp. since 1975 when D. ratsiraka became president)...
Fondest memory: - Corruption is one of features of this country, some of my warning tips inform you on what to be done. I hope they will work for you. New government now implements its anti-corruption cell. It seems to be a serious task that awaits the cell staff but the president is determined in his actions. So, dear tourists, pay attention from now since situation is changing.
- Tana epitomizes fastuous and miserable Madagascar. Streets urchins, prostitutes of all ages in some areas on one hand, 4WD cars and business people on other hand. Shanty towns adjoin with posh villas (sometimes extravagant and of bad taste). Visiting other cities just made me aware of that since in Toamasina, for instance, there are really few beggars. While urban Tana abunds in street urchins... Rural people are poor as well and make the bulk of Malagasy population... but at least, they have houses there, or huts and some plots where to grow some crops and breed poultry and livestock.
Hopefully, new government, with its president Marc RAVALOMANANA elected in 2001, is working on. Pressure is put on them since people are really hoping for better life in the future. I hope the new government would do its best to support the population in its projects, ambition.. because many of Malagasy people are really skilled but never had the opportunity to express themselves, to achieve goals and live with talent.
First picture, rural picturesque scenery during rice harvesting season (seen from our orchard).
The second is a picture of a stall in Mahavelona area (East of Madagascar).
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