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Madagascar Information - Page 1
Geography
The Republic of Madagascar is in southern Africa. It consists of the world's fourth largest island and some smaller islands in the Indian Ocean, east of Mozambique.

Antananarivo is the capital. Other cities include Antsirabe, Mahajanga and Toamasina.

Madagasgar has a coastal plain, high plateau and mountains. Rivers include the Betsiboka, Onilahy, Mangoky and Tsiribihina.

The climate is tropical along the coast, temperate inland and arid in the south.

Environment
Many of the plants and wildlife of Madagascar are not found anywhere else in the world. Rare and endangered lemurs live in protected areas such as the Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict Nature Reserve and Masoala National Park.

A large variety of chameleons live in Madagascar including the some of the largest and smallest in the world.

Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict Nature Reserve, on the World Heritage List, consists of limestone karst, forests, lakes and mangrove swamps. The Rainforests of the Atsinanana, which include Masoala National Park, became a World Heritage site in 2007. Masoala National Park also covers three marine reserves.

Humpback whales, dolphins and marine turtles inhabit the surrounding sea.

Architecture
Examples of Colonial architecture can be found in Antananarivo. Many of the government buildings were built during the French era. The remains of the Palace, built by European architects for Queen Ranavalona I, overlooks the capital.

Ambohimanga, the royal capital before it was moved to Antananarivo, became inscribed as a World Heritage site in 2001.

Population
The population of Madagascar was estimated at 21,926,221 in 2011.

Languages
Malagasy, of Malayo-Polynesian origin, is the official language of Madagascar. French is also spoken.

Religion
Over half of the people of Madagascar follow indigenous beliefs. A significant number are Christians and others are Muslims.

Food
Rice is a staple food in Madagascar. Maize, cassava and sweet potatoes are also eaten.

Rice is served with stew, fish, chicken, meat and vegetables. Sauces are prepared using ingredients such as hot peppers, mangoes and lemon juice. Coconut milk is sometimes used in cooking.

Vegetables available include beans, carrots, cabbages, cauliflowers, potatoes and a variety of greens.

Fruits grown are apples, bananas, citrus fruits, coconuts, guavas, mangoes, papayas, passion fruit, peaches, plums, pineapples and strawberries.

Herbal teas are popular. Coffee is grown. Wine, beer and soft drinks are produced locally. Ranonapango a traditional drink, made from burning rice and water, may accompany the main meal.

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