Costa Romantica - Madagascar = Diego Suarez

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April 7th 2011
Published: April 14th 2011
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Dear Friends,

April, 07 - 2011

This morning we arrived early in Madagascar - Port Diego Suarez.

This port is situated on the most northern part of Madagascar and is one of the most beautiful and third largest bay of the world. The city of Diego Suarez is the chief city of this provence of Madegascar.
Its name was bestowed by the Portuguese explorer Diego Diaz, who arrived in this bay in 1500. The city, built around the bay, has a mixture of modern and colonial aspects and gives the impression of being sparsely populated. It is widely known for the fishing industry and for its handicrafts. To learn more about Madagascar you can read the Wikipedea article below about the history of Madagascar.

Today we are going to the Unesco World Heritage The Ankarana National Park.

From the port to this beautiful park with lots of beautiful black limestone formations is about 140 km. It tooks more then a two hour drive by fourwheel car. The trip to the park is super!!!!!. We never saw before such a different landscapes and lots of different green / yellow colours. Read more about this national park below.

After we arrived in the park, there was a short walk through the 'rainforest' and after that lots of climbing, around 900 metres. It was really hard work, but the PRICE WAS SUPER!!!

We hope you enjoy the pictures and we see you tomorrow on a new Costa Cruises Sailersblog.

From the Indian Ocean and Madagascar with love.

Jacqueline and Adriaan aka Monkey and Bear

Ankarana National Park

Ankarana National Park was created in 1956 and lies about 90 km south of Antsiranana covering an area of 182,5 km². It is a spectacularly eroded limestone fortress of sharp ridges, patches of dense tropical jungle, deciduous forest, deep caves and canyons (actually the biggest underground network of Africa) and rushing rivers. With an annual rainfall of almost 2000 mm, the underlying rocks undergo a heavy erosion producing an amazing karst topography, being its most known result the fantastically eroded limestone spires, known as “tsingy”. The Park is in fact one of the most visited specially among hikers: it offers incredible trails, unique and terrific landscapes and a lot of animals!
This reserve contains one of the highest density of primates of any forest in the world. Its dense forests support one of the largest and least disturbed populations of crowned lemurs. Sanford's brown lemur, perrier's black lemur, northern sportive lemur and dwarf lemurs, ringtailed mongoose, fossa, tenrecs and Madagascar striped civet are also a common sight. Almost 100 bird species, 50 reptiles (including some endemic and threatened snakes and geckos) and 10 frogs cohabit in the Park. Inside the spectacular and huge labyrinth of caves 14 bat species, local endemic blind shrimps and the world's only known cave-living crocodiles are waiting for your visit. At night swarms of bats and flying foxes swoop in the darkness.
More than 350 plant species grow in Ankarana. The luxuriant forests around the gorge are always green and are the richest ones in number of species. Some significant species are the "vazaha tree", pandanus, ficuses ad the endemic baobab Adansonia madagascarensis.
The Antakarana is the main ethnic group who lives in this region. They subsist on growing vegetables, chicken and cattle and apiculture. Although they still practice slash and burn agriculture, the biggest threat for Ankarana is the rapidly increasing sapphire mining and the illegal cut of precious woods.
Ankarana is one of Madagascar's most rewarding hiking destinations. The trails lead to awesome viewpoints on ridges above hundreds of limestone needles. Getting into the centre of the park requires a guide and coping with high temperatures (up to 37° in March and April) and an unpleasant high number of scorpions. The best time of year to visit is during the dry season, from April to November.
Visitors need to bring in all of their food and equipment.

History of Madagascar

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The history of Madagascar is distinguished by the early isolation of the landmass from the ancient super-continents containing Africa and India, and by the island's late colonization by human settlers arriving in outrigger canoes from Borneo between 200 BCE and 500 CE. These two factors facilitated the evolution and survival of thousands of endemic plant and animal species, some of which have gone extinct or are currently threatened with extinction due to the pressures of a growing human population. Over the past two thousand years the island has received waves of settlers of diverse origins including Austronesian, East African, Arab, South Asian, Chinese and European populations. Austronesian and East African populations have predominated in the peopling of Madagascar, however, and today the average Malagasy person's genetic makeup reflects an equal blend of these two origins. Other populations often intermixed with the existent population to a more limited degree or have sought to preserve a separate community from the majority Malagasy.
By the European Middle Ages, over a dozen predominant ethic identities had emerged on the island, typified by rule under a local chieftain. Among some communities, such as the Sakalava, Merina the Betsimisaraka, leaders seized the opportunity to unite these disparate communities and establish true kingdoms under their rule. These kingdoms increased their wealth and power through exchanges with European, Arab and other seafaring traders, whether they were legitimate vessels or pirates. Between the 16th and 18th centuries, pirate activity in the coastal areas of Madagascar was common and the celebrated free pirate colony of Libertatia was established on Saint Mary's Island, originally populated by local Malagasy. The Sakalava and Merina kingdoms in particular exploited European trade to strengthen the power of their kingdoms, trading Malagasy slaves in exchange for European firearms and other goods. By the turn of the 19th century, the highly populous Kingdom of Imerina, located in the central highlands with its capital at Antananarivo, began to exert its authority over the island's other polities and populations. A series of Merina monarchs ruled over the Kingdom of Madagascar throughout the 19th century and engaged in the process of modernization through close diplomatic ties to Britain that led to the establishment of European-style schools, government institutions and infrastructure.
From the 17th century through to the Scramble for Africa, the British and French colonial empires competed for influence in Madagascar. After a brief de facto protectorate period beginning in 1885 the island became a full formal French protectorate in 1890, then a colony in 1896, and gained full independence from France in 1960 in the wake of decolonization. Under the leadership of President Philibert Tsiranana, Madagascar's First Republic (1960-1972) was established as a democratic system modeled on that of France. This period was characterized by continued economic and cultural dependence upon France, provoking resentment and sparking popular movements among farmers and students that ultimately ushered in the socialist Second Republic under Admiral Didier Ratsiraka (1975-1992) distinguished by economic isolationism and political alliances with pro-Soviet states. As Madagascar's economy quickly unraveled, standards of living declined dramatically and growing social unrest was increasingly met with violent repression on the part of the Ratsiraka government. Tension over popular dissatisfaction with Ratsiraka's rule was brought to a head when presidential guards were ordered to open fire on unarmed pro-democracy protesters in 1989. By 1992, free and fair multiparty elections were held, ushering in the democratic Third Republic (1992-2009). Under the new constitution, the Malagasy public elected President Albert Zafy, President Didier Ratsiraka, and most recently President Marc Ravalomanana. This latter was ousted in March 2009 by a popular movement under the leadership of Andry Rajoelina, then-mayor of Antananarivo, in what has been widely characterized as a coup d'etat. Rajoelina has since ushered in a Fourth Republic and rules Madagascar as the President of the High Transitional Authority without recognition from the international community.

Additional photos below
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14th April 2011
National Park of ANKARANA

reactie 3
Hoi wereldreizigers, mooie natuurfoto's met dieren en mensen, vooral de vlinder is mooi in beeld gebracht. Maar ik vond de vorige serie natuurlijk interessanter, zoals je wellicht begrijpt. Weer nieuwsgierig naar je volgende serie. Heb je al leuke mensen ontmoet? Roel
14th April 2011

Gaat weer goed!!!!
Ola lieve vrienden, het gaat jullie weer goed zo te zien. Mooie foto's weer. Veel plezier nog, F&A
14th April 2011
Erg mooi weer jongens. Interessant om wat over de geschiedenis van dit magnifieke eiland te lezen. Je zult daar met het Frans goed uit de voeten kunnen lijkt me. Wat is de wereld toch groot en mooi! gr willem
15th April 2011

Wat zien jullie weer veel moois. Vooral de foto's met mensen zijn weer schitterend! Geniet verder.. Liefs, Lucia
15th April 2011

hallo schatten, dank je wel voor de leuke foto's van het National Park of Ankarana. Ze staan er echt allemaal op (zebra leeuw nijlpaard giraf) Heb je ze nu ook in het echt gezien? Dat hoor ik nog wel. groetjes en nog heel veel plezier. Josien, Ma en Lady
15th April 2011

happy people
Hoi zeebonken, Wat zijn jullie weer een prachtige reis aan het maken. Prachtige foto's, vooral de dieren. Uniek weer. Liefs en groetjes van Jan en Jannie.

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