Official name: The Republic of Madagascar
Capital: Antananarivo (Tananarive is the traditional French name)
Extent: 587 041 square kilometres
Population number: 16,9 millions (estimate of 2002)
Official language: Malagassy
State organization: Republic
Main religion: Traditional faith (animists) 52%, Catholics - 20%,
Protestants - 20%, Moslems - 5%
Highest point: Tsaratanana - 2876 m
Madagascar Island is placed in Indian Ocean. Concretely, from Mosambique in Africa, it is separated with 400 kms wide Mosambique Channel, in west direction from the island. Madagascar is the fourth greatest island of the world, after Greenland, Borneo and New Guinea Islands. The island is 15000 kms long (from north to the south), and 571 kms wide in its widest point. Its extent makes 600 000 square kilometres, and with its coasts (5000 kms long), it is twice so big as Great Britain.
From administrative point of view: the island is divided into six regions, such as: Antananarivo, Toliara, Fianarantosa, Mahayanga, Toamasina and Antsiranana.
The island has extraordinary endemic spectrum of flora and fauna. However, this stage is still threatened with subsequent cutting down of tropical rain forests - just 85% of original afforested surface was removed. From this reason, the number of national parks was increased rapidly, in order to be saved not only the green, but also the animals, living inside. In 1985, 36 sorts were alive there, now, it is more, just 50 animal sorts.
The climate of Madagascar is tropical - it dominates: hot and dry or hot and wet. In general, the weather is divided into dry or wet (humid) periods. Wet climate prevails since November till March. Average precipitations reach 300 mm in a year in dry south-west area, and 300 mm in a year in north-east region. During dry saison, the average temperatures reach 25 - 30° C. Most hottest weather prevails in capital during October, November and December.
To most interesting fact of local population belongs that nearly a half of persons are younger than 15 years of age. Another phenomenon: comparatively big percentage of people, making comparison to the other African states, can read and write (88% of men and 73% of women).
Information and warnings on travelling abroad is to be found HERE.