Madagascar - Back to the Roots

The years 2000, 2007, and 2019 were when I travelled to Madagascar, the island of my ancestors. On these absolutely amazing trips across the country, I saw unbelievable wonders of nature, including Ankarana’s Tsingys, the canyons close to Majunga, the geysirs and waterfalls of Ampefy, the Malagasy rainforests, the most beautiful beaches on earth, and the baobab trees as well as wonders created by man, such as the tombs in the South. Some of my excursions led me to places where no tourists had been before - and of course, I also had encounters of the lemur kind…

What You’ll Find on This Website

Foreword to the Fifth Edition

April 2019 was the month of another trip to Madagascar. In a nutshell: The country is still as beautiful as ever. Madagascar hasn’t changed very much in the last twenty years. Sure, you can now get public WiFi in a lot of tourist places. And people living in straw huts will charge their phones with solar panels. But they still live in straw huts mostly. People are still poor. The traffic in Antananarivo is still a huge mess (probably even worse than before) and a lot of the roads around the country are still completely broken.

But the wonders of Madagascar can still be found. Despite widespread deforestation (a lot of cutting and burning down of old trees) and the resulting reeduction of wildlife, you can still go and get close to lemurs and other amazing animals. You can marvel at the rich vegetation while causally picking sweet fruit from a tree. And I just love to be among the people. I find the buzz of the cities and the villages so exciting. People seem so friendly and always in a good mood despite their hardship. Sure, this is the perspective of a tourist and digging a bit deeper — I did get to hear some unsettling stories during our visits to my family — can reveal the ugly side of Malagasy mentality. But after all, I was travelling and for that, the country is still one of my favourites, if not the favourite.

This time, I did not see many tourists. April is great time to visit Madagascar, why was nobody there? Not that I mind much, I’m not there to meet other tourists and usually stay away from them anyway. In fact, it made our visit feel even more exclusive and rare.

So my recommendation still stands: If you want an adventure of the good kind, go to Madagascar! There are not many countries where you can have such a great experience.

I did not keep a journal this time. Instead, you’ll find more comments along with the pictures. Speaking of pictures, I finally took a decent camera (and my iPhone) so the picture quality has improved significantly. You’ll find a whole lot of new pictures in the pictures section (new: Malagasy food including recipes and growing food). There are new panoramas and a few new sections: videos, stereoscopic 3D images, and a packing list.

As always, have fun browsing this website!

Oliver Kuederle
May 2019

Foreword to the Fourth Edition

As we’re approaching the third decade of the millenium, it was time to give the site a new look. The white-on-black design didn’t cut it and, frankly, was annoying, too. This version is now also responsive so you can read it on your mobile phone as well. I’ve also updated some of the stats. It’s a minor but important change.

Oliver Kuederle
September 2017

Foreword to the Third Edition

You’ve made it to this website most likely in the pursuit of more information about the island of Madagascar. This is what I am hoping to be able to provide. There are loads of pictures, sounds, travel tips, a map of Madagascar, and a glossary of words you should know when you visit the country.

Since this is a compilation of information I gathered during two (of many) trips to Madagascar, there is also an extensive journal. I documented a visit in 2000 and one in 2007. Read the journal for all the excitement, the wonders, and the frustrations one might have while travelling.

This is the third edition of this website. The 2007 information was previously not here. I finally got around to adding it while also redesigning the site, making it more accessible and legible. Continue reading the other forewords for some more information about the history of this site (it’s been here since 2000) and about me.

Oliver Kuederle
October 2009

Foreword to the Second Edition

I finally got around to redesigning this website - after seven years! It is now according to all current standards and hopefully much more legible than before. I have since been to Madagascar one more time but only for two days (!) and it was a business trip. So the information here hasn’t changed and probably won’t until I visit this country again (which is sort of in the works).

My mom and others tell me that Madagascar has changed a lot recently, mostly due to the current president’s commitment to take the country out of its “mess”. Changed for the better, of course. So many of the complications I had back in 2000 you probably won’t have anymore. I hear it’s much easier now to get from Fort Dauphin to Tuléar, for example.

I do believe, however, that it is still very much possible to get to places that have not yet been discovered by tourists. Madagascar is still not on the same radar as some of the other countries I visited. I still encourage every adventurous traveler to go and explore! And after having seen countless other countries since having been to Madagascar, I can assure you: If you’ve been to Madagascar, you can go anywhere!

Oliver Kuederle
May 2007

Foreword to the First Edition

This website provides some information about the country of Madagascar. At the same time, it is a documentation of the trip I took in the year 2000. You will find some basic facts about the country, a map, the journal I kept while I was there, and pictures I took. This is not a travel guide, although you might find some useful information in case you decide to go there yourself. I want you to get a feel for this country and point out differences from the world I (and maybe you) live in. Also, I encourage you to travel and explore the world in general or even Madagascar itself.

A few words on the journal. I wrote it on the indicated dates, keeping in mind that I will post it one day. However, some of it may be personal stuff and somewhat boring to some of you. Skip those parts if it’s too much. If you don’t understand certain expressions, take a look at the Glossary. This is where I explain, for example, all Malagasy words used here.

Many of you may not know me personally so here’s a short background: my dad is from Germany and my mom is from Madagascar, which is why my trip might have been different from those of normal tourists with no family in Madagascar. Also, this was my fourth time in Madagascar. However, the last time was ten years ago and I have only vague memories of my first three visits.

So here is something for the legal folks and Madagascar experts: most of the things I write here are based on my own perceptions. I’m even expressing my opinion in many cases. There’s no guarantee that what I say on this website is true (be particularly careful with the “Facts” section), although I am not consciously lying. If you have suggestions, such as updates on facts or other minor modifications, feel free to contact me.

And if you decide to go on a trip to Madagascar yourself, I will be able to provide you with lots of information. It’s an awesome country and if you are adventurous, you’ll spend an amazing time there.

Oliver Kuederle
November 2000