Top tip: Know the difference between a Fossa and an Aye-Aye
The east coast is made up of dense rainforest lowlands, and experiences monsoons from December to March. The west coast was once covered by dry deciduous forests is now mostly savannah. The climate is wettest in the north while the southern tip is semi-desert with great forests of cactus-like plants. Much of Madagascar’s flora and fauna is unique to the island including 3000 endemic species of butterfly and many endemic species of lemurs. There is a huge diversity of animals including racoons, monkeys, marmots, bushbabies and sloths as well as reptiles, amphibians, birds and plant life.
Madagascar has a hot and subtropical climate, though it is colder in the mountains. The rainy season stretches from November to March, and the dry season from April to October. Monsoons bring storms and cyclones to the east and north from December to March.
Facts and Figures
|Area||587,041 sq km (226,658 sq miles).|
|Population||20,653,556 (2009 estimate)|
|Capital||Antananarivo – population 1,111,392 (2001).|
|Language||The official languages are Malagasy (which is related to Indonesian) and French. Local dialects are also spoken.|
|Religion||51 per cent follow animist beliefs, about 43 per cent Christian; remainder Muslim.|
|Time||GMT + 3|
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