7 Interesting Facts About Madagascar You Should Know Before Traveling There

Madagascar is more than a funny animated movie. It’s an island country off the coast of Africa. Perhaps you know very little about it other than this, but for more interesting facts about Madagascar, keep reading. There’s much more to discover about this African island before you travel there.

1- The wildlife of Madagascar isn’t found anywhere else.

Because Madagascar has been on its own for a good 70 million years, it has developed its own unique flora and fauna. Roughly 90% of the wildlife in Madagascar can only be found there.

2- Behold, the lemur!

Lemurs are more than just cute animals. In Madagascar, they are protected creatures. There are many myths that connect lemurs and humans through a common ancestry. According to data, 103 species of living lemurs existed in Madagascar as of 2012. Most of them are considered rare or endangered. When visiting Madagascar, seeing the lemurs is a great activity though be sure you are respectful!

3- It has a very deep history.

Ages ago, the first humans to call Madagascar home were from Borneo, which was once an island that is now split between Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei. So the island country was settled by Asians somewhere around 350 BCE and 550 CE. Mainland Africans turned up about 500 years after that. And as time wore on, other settlers from European, African and Asian descent arrived, turning the island into a uniquely cultural place. It would go on to be ruled by French colonists.

4- And that history may have included pirates!

As if Madagascar wasn’t interesting enough already, it was apparently a hot-bed for pirates. European pirates in the late 1700s and early 1800s as well as traders would rest here, though rumor has it that it was the site for the independent nation of pirates called Libertalia. Historians are still debating whether or not this place actually existed.

5- It’s a culinary melting pot.

As mentioned, the history of Madagascar reveals the merging of cultures together to create the unique culture you find on Madagascar today. The same can be said of the food. While you’ve probably eaten food from Asian nations, India, Europe and Africa, the incredible blend of these cuisines together make it out of this world. Malagasy cuisine involves rice – which is considered an essential meal item – along with dishes that contain garlic, ginger, onions, tomatoes, coconut milk, curry, vanilla, turmeric and cloves. Additionally, you should know that Madagascar is one of the main suppliers of vanilla, coffee, cloves, shrimp, and lychees.

6- It is home to some World Heritage Sites.

Come to Madagascar and you’ll get to check some more World Heritage Sites off your bucket list. The Royal Hill of Ambohimanga is a 500-year-old burial site. There’s also the rainforests of Atsinanana, the place that rare primates and lemurs live. Tsingy de Demaraha Strict Nature Reserve is a breathtaking view of cliffs. All three of these places are incredible natural wonders to behold.

7- Medicinal plants are native to Madagascar.

The plant life here is more than lush landscape for the perfect backdrop. Several species of it are revered for herbal remedies. Drugs like vinblastine and vincristine are derived from the Madagascar periwinkle, which are used to treat leukemia and other cancers as well as Hodgkin’s disease. And speaking of plants, many Malagasies smoke marijuana. The percentage is larger than that of marijuana smokers in The Netherlands. Marijuana has been shown to have incredible benefits for health as well as a bounty of healing properties for those with certain ailments.

Of course, there is much more about Madagascar to discover when you arrive. From the sprawling sandy beaches with rolling turquoise waves to the friendly locals, it is a wonderful country to visit, even better if you’re planning a honeymoon trip! It is here that you will find out so many more things about it. Ideal for history buffs, Madagascar truly gives you more new things to learn each day. Plus, those that love wildlife also love visiting to be able to get up close and personal with the unique yet gentle creatures that dwell here. And let’s not forget the overall element of adventure that Madagascar possesses as a destination. It’s thrilling and eclectic, making it an absolutely brilliant choice for your next adventure abroad.

Are you ready to try something new? Pack your bags for Madagascar!