Madagascar: A photo story

Home to baobabs, lemurs and endless sandy beaches, Madagascar is a much loved destination for beach aficionados and wildlife lovers alike. However, for Africa expert, Jo, it was meeting the local Malagasy people that really made her trip so special. Her photos give us a glimpse of island life on Madagascar…

Inspired by Jo’s photo story? Get in touch with our specialists on 020 3553 0848 to find out more about this incredible destination.

Madagascar; for some, a word that conjures up thoughts of animated films, of escaped zoo animals and a waddle of plotting penguins and for others, of cuddly looking lemurs jumping from tree to tree in a verdant rainforest. However, after a recent trip there, what resonated the most for me was the Malagasy people. Remaining uninhabited until approximately 2500 years ago, waves of settlers coupled with the country’s geographic isolation from mainland Africa, have both contributed to create a culture that is just as unique as its wildlife.

The culture and traditions of the Malagasy people are incredibly complex and rich – I cannot think of anywhere else I have been in the world where the way of life is still so steeped in tradition. From the style of the houses and the clothes people wear to the daily routine, customs, otherwise known as fadys dictate life for the people Madagascar. There are nationwide fadys, such as not pointing directly at a tomb, regional fadys, for example Merina people are not allowed to visit Ankarana National Park, and there are even village and family fadys. To find out more from someone who has encountered these fascinating traditions, speak to one of our specialists and find out how you can experience them for yourself.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words so enjoy a snapshot of life on this magical island…

Batik fabrics of Madagascar

The lamba is a traditional garment worn by both men and women in Madagascar. They are used as basic clothing, to tie babies to their mothers’ backs and as funeral robes. The lamba is highly emblematic of Malagasy culture.

Traditional Merina houses in the Madagascan Highlands

The architecture of houses in Madagascar will vary from region to region but all are influenced by their ancestors and full of symbolism. You can also tell the status of the occupants by the height of the house.

Traditional pirogue boats line up for a race

Much like the dhows of the middle east or outriggers of the Pacific, the pirogues are an icon of Madagascar’s seas. Still very much used today, you can’t avoid these boats when at the beach – so why not jump in one and go and explore.

Zebu herder, Madagascar

The zebu cow has almost god like status in Madagascar. They are not only a form of transport but also part of the workforce for farms and a visible sign of someone’s wealth. In certain areas you are not even considered a man until you have stolen your first zebu.

Oceanfront strolls in Madagascar

Madagascar has a 3000 mile coastline – but sometimes you just fancy a walk. Recycling is very much part of the culture and so any glass, plastic or tin is reused in some way. This young man was on his way to trade in his bottle for a small amount of change.

Typical local shop in Madagascar

In Madagascar you keep it local! Because the roads are not kept in good condition the shops and markets are very important as a way of keeping up to date about the latest news. Little shops like this will be everywhere.

Book after book has been written on the subject of Malagasy culture, yet for first hand knowledge of the fascinating culture of Madagascar, speak to one of our specialists on 020 3553 0848.

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