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Area Codes in Madagascar

+261

Madagascar is the world's fourth largest island and lies in the Indian Ocean about 50 miles from the African mainland. In Madagascar, a unique flora and fauna has developed since the island was separated from the African and Asian continents 160 million years ago. The ethnically mixed population has both African and Indonesian features. Madagascar has plenty of minerals and fertile soils, but political instability has hampered economic development.
  • Abbreviationfinder: Brief profiles of Madagascar, including geography, history, politics, economics as well as common acronyms about this country.

Geography and climate

Madagascar is the world's fourth largest island, on the surface about 30 percent larger than Sweden. It is located in the Indian Ocean about 50 miles east of the African continent with Mozambique as its closest neighbor on the mainland. Madagascar is located in the tropical zone, but the climate varies between different parts of the country.

Madagascar has a 482-mile coastline. The state also has a number of smaller islands.

The hinterland, where the capital Antananarivo is located, consists of a high plateau that extends from north to south. The mountain massif rises after a narrow coastal strip steep in the east and then slopes down towards the west side. To the west, the wider coastal strip is watered by a large number of rivers. High mountains cut off the fertile northern tip from the rest of the country.

In eastern Madagascar, rainforests are still growing, but otherwise the island is now mostly covered by steppe and savanna. Grazing livestock and burning have worn hard on nature. A maximum of one-third of the forest that previously covered the island remains. Almost all the valleys on the high plateau are filled with artificial irrigated rice crops.

Geography and climate of Madagascar

Since Madagascar was separated from the African and Asian continents about 160 million years ago, a unique plant and animal world has developed on the island. Here are many species that do not live elsewhere, including 25 species of half-monkeys, so-called lemurs.

However, many animals and plants are threatened with extinction. The Tsingy de Bemaraha Nature Reserve in the west, the Ambohimanga mountain to the north of the capital and the Atsinanana rainforest in the north are classified by the UN agency Unesco as a World Heritage Site. In 2010, the Atsinanana forests were also placed on UNESCO's list of environments that are in danger of being destroyed, partly because of illegal logging and partly theft of lemurs.

The climate is hot and humid along the east coast, but hot and dry on the west coast and furthest to the south. The coast to the east receives large amounts of rain from the winds.

Inland, the climate is cooler and drier. Here are two distinct seasons: the rainy season from November to April and the dry and cool period from May to October, when night frosts can occur at higher altitudes.

Cyclones and floods often hit the country, often with disastrous consequences. The December 2006 cyclone season became the worst in modern times. Nearly half a million people were affected in various ways by six large cyclones that dragged across the island. Tens of thousands of hectares of rice crops were washed away. Madagascar is also periodically plagued by drought.

FACTS - GEOGRAPHY AND CLIMATE

Surface

587 041 km2 (2018)

Time

Swedish +2 hours

Capital with number of inhabitants

Antananarivo 1 300 000 (Census 2018) 1

Other major cities

Toamasina 326 300, Antsirabé 245 600, Mahajanga 244 700 (Census 2018)

Highest mountain

Maromokotro (2,876 m asl)

Important rivers

Betsiboka

Largest lake

Alaotra

Average Precipitation / month

Antananarivo 295 mm (Jan), 8 mm (July)

Average / day

Antananarivo 21 °C (Jan), 15 °C (July)

  1. with suburbs 3,200,000 (UN estimate 2019)Sources

2007

September

TIM gets majority

In an earlier parliamentary election, President Ravalomanana's Party I Love Madagascar (TIM) wins 106 of the 127 seats.

April

Yes to constitutional changes

In a referendum, around 75 percent of voters say yes to a series of constitutional changes proposed by President Marc Ravalomanana. Among the constitutional amendments are that in times of crisis the president may enact laws without Parliament's consent, that English become official language alongside French and Malagasy and that the country's six autonomous provinces are replaced by 22 smaller regions.

 

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