Madagascar: population and cities
Countryaah website, Madagascar has about 27 million residents. The life expectancy of women is
around 61.5 years and the life expectancy of men around 58.3 years. The high
fertility rate (five children per woman) contrasts with the high infant
mortality rate (74 out of 1,000 live births). Medical care is poor. There are
just 30 doctors for every 100,000 people. Only every second Madagascan has
access to clean drinking water, even though the UN declared the supply of clean
water a human right in 2010. Another problem in the country is illiteracy, with
the illiteracy rate among women being far higher than among men.
In Madagascar there are 18 ethnic groups or main ethnic groups that are
recognized by the Malagasy state. The three largest of these ethnic groups are
the Merina (25%), the Betsimisaraka (15%) and the Betsileo (12%). There are also
numerous other ethnicities and groups in Madagascar. In addition, many
foreigners live on the island. Most of them come from
the Comoros and France. In recent years, however, many Chinese and Indians have
also come to the country.
About 15 million animists, 8 million Christians (including about 4.5
million Catholics and 3.5 million Protestants) and about 1.4 million Muslims
live on Madagascar, most of them in the north and west of the country dwell.
Furthermore, about 1% are Hindus.
Most of the Malagasy people believe in natural religions (i.e. animism and
ancestor worship). This belief also determines the everyday life and customs of
The official languages of Madagascar are Malagasy, French and
English. Malagasy is spoken by the majority of the island's residents, except
for the immigrant Mozambique people in some west coast villages (they speak
Makoa) and the people of Nosy Be who speak Swahili. There are also many other
tribal languages such as Howa.
Capital and other cities
Antananarivo The largest city in Madagascar with around 2
million residents is the capital Antananarivo, which extends in the central
mountainous region of the island at an altitude of 1,435 meters. The city, also
called Tana (or earlier Tananarive), whose name translates as “City of a
Thousand”, was founded in 1625 and is now the administrative, economic and
political center of Madagascar. According to a list by Forbes magazine, the
third-healthiest city in the world is home to the state Université
d'Antananarivo and has the island's international airport, Ivato. The city is
not an absolute tourist magnet, but offers some interesting highlights such as
the old wooden palace Rova, the Zoma Friday market and the pirate museum.
Only a few kilometers from Antananarivo is Ambohimanga, the birthplace of
The city, which is provided with numerous historical memorabilia, is also known
as the Holy or Hidden City, because it is surrounded on all sides by forest. The
old royal palace and the citadel are among the most famous tourist magnets of
This tiny, but traditional Vezo fishing and beach village is isolated and spared
from mass tourism on the southwest coast of Madagascar. Anakao beach is very
spacious, white and ideal for fishing, diving and surfing.
In Antsirabe (German: where there is a lot of salt), the capital of the
Vakinankaratra region in the Antananarivo province, about 201,000 people
currently live. The most important center of the Betsileo country after
Fianarantsoa was called Vichy Madagascar during colonial times because of its
Fianarantsoa has about 170,000 residents and is often used as a starting point
for tours to the south and the east coast.
Right by the sea in the south of Madagascar is Fort Dauphin, a city that is
ideal for excursions to some national parks. Another plus point for Fort Dauphin
are the secluded beaches that stretch for miles along the water.
In the west of Madagascar and directly on the Mozambique Channel, the
coastal town of Morondava spreads out, which is connected to Antananarivo via
regular flights from Air Madagascar.
The city is a rather relaxed and touristically relatively well developed place,
especially in direct comparison to the Malagasy capital, because Morondava is
less crowded, cheaper and cleaner.
The city attracts with its spacious, clean beach, good overnight and dining
options and is an excellent starting point for trips to the picturesque fishing
village of Belo sur Mer, the avenue of the baobabs and the Kirindy nature
Toamasina (French: Tamatave)
About 206,000 people currently live in Toamasina, the main seaport of
Madagascar, which handles around 70% of Malagasy shipping. The city,
unfortunately destroyed by a hurricane in 1927 and later completely rebuilt,
experienced the next devastation in 1986 when a cyclone swept over it. Toamasina
is connected to the Malagasy capital Antananarivo by a railway line and has a
forest station with a zoo, the Parc Zoologique d'Ivoloina, which is 12
kilometers away in Ivoloina.
Madagascar: geography, map
Defined by DigoPaul, Madagascar is around km from the east coast of Africa. About 100 million years ago, today's island separated from the African continent
- with far-reaching consequences for the island's fauna and flora. Madagascar
covers a total area of 587,295 km². Thereof:
Around 25% of the country is forested.
- Fields and fields
Around 63% of the land is used as arable land or fields, especially for
growing coffee, cloves, sisal, sugar cane and vanilla.
In Madagascar there are the Tsaratanana Mountains, the Ankaratra
Mountains and in the south the Andringitra
Madagascar is an island and therefore has no common national border with any
state. The island is completely surrounded by the Indian Ocean.
Longitude and latitude
Madagascar extends over the following geographical latitude (abbreviation Δφ)
and geographical longitude (abbreviation Δλ):
|Δφ = from around 12 ° to 25 ° south latitude
Δλ = from around 043 ° to 050 ° east longitude
You can find detailed information on this subject under Longitude and
For Madagascar, the following value applies to Central European Time (CET),
i.e. the time (without summer time). A minus sign means that it is earlier
there, a plus sign that it is later than CET:
Further and detailed explanations of the time can be found under Time zones,
The highest point of the sun in Antananarivo
Antananarivo is located at a southern latitude of around φ = 19 °.
If the declination δ of the sun has the value of 19 ° south, and thus the
image point of the sun is exactly above the city, the sun is perpendicular
there. This happens exactly twice a year, roughly 1 month before March 21st and
1 month after September 21st (for details see position of the sun).
If the image point of the sun and thus the declination δ is north of the
latitude of Antananarivo, the sun is not in the south at noon, as in our
latitudes, but in the north. In this case, the sun moves from east to north to
west, where, like us, it sets.
The highest mountain in the country is the Maromokotro with a height of
Boby (Andringita), Tsiafajavona
Other high mountains are the Boby (Andringita) with a height of 2,656 m and the
Tsiafajavona with a height of 2,643 m.
The longest river in the country is the Mangoky with a length of around
Another river in the country is the Betsiboka with a length of around
Lakes on the island
The island includes numerous smaller and larger lakes.
The largest lake is Alaotra Lake with an area of about 220 km².
Islands off Madagascar
The following smaller islands are in front of the island:
- Nosy Be (scent island) with an area of 293 km²
- St. Marie (Pirate Island)
Straits of Madagascar, Indian Ocean
To the west, Madagascar borders the Strait of Madagascar, a part of the
Indian Ocean that surrounds the island.