I must admit I did not know much about Madagascar before I went there. I could place it on a map, I knew the name of the capital, Antananarivo, and I knew about the lemurs. Thinking really hard I recall I had read something about huge ecological problems with deforestation and erosion. But there it stopped.
I want to summarize my experiences in two parts after visiting the country/island.
The nature is partly stunning and very varied. We visited tropical rain forest and dry savannas in one day and then rice paddies and spectacular mountains. It was great! Then the flora and fauna. Beautiful flowers, many grow only in Madagascar. Many types of lemurs and they are very photogenic if you get close enough, and I did on some occations. Cameleons are strange animals, and we got close to them as well. So all in all, from that point of view Madagasacar was great.
The depressing part had to do with the people. They were friendly and smiling, but in the rural area so poor, and begging was almost aggressive. Every time we stopped, within a surprisingly short time we were surrounded by kids, many of them. All the kids chanted “cadeau, cadeau” (gift) and they were dirty, both clothes and themselves. And so many!
I will write a separate post on this and then concentrate on the positive experiences.