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Mountain scenery, dense tropical forests and diverse wildlife await the adventure-seeking traveler to Madagascar. The nation also offers fine restaurants and quiet, accommodating hotels.

The Malagasy heritage is mixed with that of southern Africa and Indonesia. Having been colonized by the French, Madagascar achieved independence in1960. Under President Marc Ravalomanana Madagascar is struggling to revive its economy.

Madagascar has a population of 19.5 million, most of whom practice Christianity or their own indigenous beliefs. The official languages are French and Malagasy. Some of the country's ethnic groups include Malayo-Indonesian, Cotiers - a mix of Malayo-Indonesian and Arab ancestry - French, Indian, Creole and Comoran.

Several airlines fly into Antananarivo. The most cost effective and convenient method of exploring the city is by taxi. Although a public bus is far cheaper, it is often crowded, slow and confusing for the visitor.

The Hotel Raphia in Antananarivo offers a clean and family-like environment with wonderful views of the city. Breakfast can be enjoyed inside and outdoors. Hilton Madagascar offers a swimming pool, a fitness club, a shopping arcade as well as other amenities.