Madagascar is the 4th largest island in the world. It covers an area of 587,000km about the size of France and has nearly 5,000kms of coastline, with the Indian Ocean on the East and the Mozambique Channel on the west. The highest mountain is Mount Maromokotra (2,800m high) which is located in the Tsaranana Massive.
The capital of Madagascar is Antananarivo (more commonly referred to as Tana).
The population of Madagascar is around 21 million.
Politics & Security
The political situation in Madagascar is unstable and has been since Jan 2009. That said, Madagascar is a stable and trouble-free country to visit as a tourist and Madagascan people are very friendly. Outside of the capital, few Madagascans know or care about the political situation.
Regarding security and safe ordinary common sense precautions should be taken ie. Avoid carrying valuables obviously, do not carry too much cash, watch out for pickpockets (in busy areas – airports/markets), avoid walking around city centres at night.
Economy & Tourism
The main industries for Madagascar are textiles, mining (chrome, graphite, precious stones), agriculture (vanilla, sugar and coffee), shrimp farming and tourism. With regard to tourism Madagascar is a developing country and although an important part of the economy it is definitely in its early stages as such you will not find the infrastructure typical of other Eastern African countries.
Malagasy is the official language and is widely spoken in rural areas. French is also widely spoken in cities and is predominant in business. Our English speaking guides are local so their natural language is Malagasy, French is their 2nd language and English their 3rd.
Approx 45% of the population are Christian (Catholics and Protestants), approx. 10% are Muslim and the rest of the population practice traditional religions.
Meet our Guides
Having a great guide really makes a holiday. Pioneer only use local guides and working with our local partners have arguably the best adventure guides in Madagascar. Check out our ‘guide biographies and photos‘.