Friday, December 11, 2009

Madagascar Travel

Madagascar, larger than California and about size the size of Texas or France, is the world's 4 th largest island. Isolated in the Indian Ocean off the coast of southern Africa, about 70% of the estimated 250,000 species found on the island exist nowhere else on the globe. The island is home to such evolutionary oddities as lemurs, a group of primates endemic to the island; colored lizards including geckos and chameleons; tenrecs, spiny hedgehog-like creatures; and the fossa, a carnivorous animal that looks like a cross between a puma and a dog but is closely related to the mongoose.

Nevertheless, Madagascar is an extremely poor country with poor infrastructure -- flying is often the only option to get between points since roads, when they exist, are frequently in bad condition. Phones and internet access are unknown in parts of the country and in some villages, children have never seen a person with white skin. Also, despite it's poverty, Madagascar is not a particularly cheap destination for most western tourists who are not willing to put up with the discomfort, frustrations, and hassles of public transportation.

Madagascar's wildlife is among the best in the world in terms of diversity, abundance, and approachability and travel to Madagascar for this purpose is most rewarding. Deciduous forests, crystalline lakes, massive caverns, and savanna grassland dot the broad western plains, and the southern tip of the island is covered with a magnificent desert. Madagaskar is crisscrossed by no less than 6 different micro-climates!

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