Madagascar: Africa’s hidden Treasure


Madagascar is Africa’s hidden treasure. It is also an earthly wonder because of it’s biodiversity hotspot; over 90% of its wildlife is found nowhere else on Earth. Developed in isolation, the island nation is famed for its unique wildlife. Due to beautiful landscapes and the cultural resources to support tourism, the nation is a growing interest as a tourist destination.  Yet the tourism industry has a number of large challenges.  Currently one of those large challenges is the recovery of one of the largest plagues that devastated the nation for months. The country’s government recently announced that the plague outbreak is under control, yet there is a long way to go before travelers’ confidence can be fully restored.

Just last week, news spread that Madagascar has announced the end of a plague epidemic, which broke out in August and has claimed more than 200 lives and caused over 2,000 cases of infection. The Madagascan National Tourism Board states that no new cases have been confirmed since November 3.

August 2017 the country witnessed its worst plague outbreak in 50 years. To make things worse, most of the cases were transmitted person-to-person, and the virus that caused the plague mutated. Apart from the serious shortage of doctors, another major reason why the plague in Madagascar spread so quickly is that shortly after the initial outbreaks in the major cities, infected patients began to escape from hospitals by the hundreds of thousands and return to their own homes, as most of them would rather self-medicate than entrust their lives to local doctors.

The World Health Organization estimates that there is a “moderate risk” of the disease recurring in the country. Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general, added: “The strongest of the outbreak is behind us but we need to be able to continue to detect cases and intervene until the end of the epidemic season in April 2018.” Outbreaks of plague tend to be seasonal and take place in the rainy season in Madagascar. Around 500 cases are reported per year.

There was widespread concern among health experts around the world that the crisis on the island could eventually result in a global outbreak, considering that the country is poorly governed and many of its people are ignorant about disease control. These health experts may have reason to be worried. Madagascar is an impoverished country where 80 percent of the population is just living on less than US$2 a day. If any disease outbreak spun out of control and triggered a mass exodus of refugees from the island, the result would be catastrophic. Luckily this did not occur.

The Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has expressed the Organization’s full support to Madagascar’s tourism sector.  He advises no restriction on travel or trade on Madagascar.

Madagascar’s tourist attractions include its beaches, history and biodiversity. It’s home to thousands of animal species, such as lemurs, found nowhere else, plus rainforests, beaches and reefs. The island’s endemic wildlife and forests are unique travel wonders. Historical sites, craftsmen communities, and relaxed cities also draw all types of travelers. The island is one of the world’s most biologically diverse areas, and is internationally renowned for wildlife tourism and ecotourism.


Editor’s note: Join Original World for a fantastic journey through the mountainous central Highlands of Madagascar. Celebrate culture, wildlife, and beauty as we experience an exploration of ecologically pristine Madagascar October 22-November 6, 2018.

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