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Madagascar The Exotic Island Looking at a map of the southern hemisphere one wouldnt expect such a seemingly small island to be so exotic and bountiful but the island of Madagascar is just that A 226658 square mile 587041 square kilometers piece of land with a a coastline of about 2480 miles 3990 kilometers its a beautiful and different view of its large neighbor Africa The island itself is made up of ridges rivers valleys and tropical forests sectioning off the different regions of the landscape scattered trees and tall grasses to one side narrow coastal plains and low plataeus and plains off to another To the north is Mt Maromokotro the highest peak on the island at 9436 feet 2876 meters Coral beaches line the east coast adding to the natural beauty of the already lovely landscape The tropical climate provides varying amounts of rainfallfrom 83 inches 211 centimeters in the northwest to 14 inches 36 centimeters in the southwest The drought-infested south is extremely hot and dry and the west is hot and wet Indian Ocean cyclones bring periodic heavy rains and destructive floods Once covered by forests most of the island now has a savannah-steppe vegetation with a few forests in the west and evergreen forests on the eastern edge of the central plateau An interesting climate for such a unique place The animals there are also different and the likes of which not found anywhere else not even in Africa 50 species of lemurs inhabit the island as well as 800 different types of butterflies Though near the once-dubbed Dark Continent the species and vegitation seem to have remnants of Eastern India proof perhaps that the island is a breakaway of the decidedly larger continent of Asia The peoples of the large island are as diverse as the wildlife ranging from the Malagasy to the French several native groups mixing with those of foreign origins The population
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