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Madagascar lies in the Indian Ocean off the South-East Coast of Africa opposite Mozambique. The world's fourth-largest island, it is twice the size of the US state of Arizona. The country's low-lying coastal area gives way to a central
plateau. The once densely wooded interior has largely been cut down
While Madagascar is an island off the coast of Africa, it was originally settled by people from Indonesia. Only later did African and Arab immigrants mix into the population of the island. As a result, Madagascar is a little bit of an oddity when compared to other African nations. Formerly an independent kingdom, Madagascar became a French colony in 1896, but regained its independence in 1960. During 1992-93, free presidential and National Assembly elections were held, ending 17 years of single-party rule.
These days Madagascar is better known due to the Pixar movies of the same name. While most of the animals in the movie do not actually come from Madagascar, it is home to a number of unique and endemic species. There are still many parts of the Island that are unexplored and the landscape varies from lush tropical rainforests to dry, cool, mountain plateaus. The culture is also as diverse, a reflection of the combination of the indigenous African-Asian population, and French colonial, Christian and Muslim influences. Given its size, Madagascar offers a wide variety of accommodation to suit differing budgets, as well as a plethora of activities to choose from, including exploring the cities, with their historical aspects and lively markets, or visiting National Parks and forests or relaxing in a coastal town, scuba diving or snorkelling.