Madagascar is a place that has long fired the imagination of the adventurous traveler. The fourth largest island in the world has some of the planet’s most unusual and delightful wildlife – from the famous lemurs to brilliant chameleons to fascinating tortoises to migrating humpback whales.
Madagascar is also home to a wonderful blending of cultures and ancient kingdoms. The Merina people for example, in the highlands of Madagascar, sailed to Madagascar hundreds of years ago from such far-flung places as the Indonesian islands and Malaysia. There is also Arabian, Chinese and continental black African blood to be found in some of Madagascar’s people.
Also fascinating is the rich history of European influence on Madagascar. This was the land of the “golden age of piracy,” which occurred between 1680 to 1730. More than 1000 pirates, such as the famous Capt. William Kidd, made Madagascar (and particularly the small adjacent island of St. Marie) a base of pirate operations in the Indian Ocean. Here they divided up their stolen treasures, enjoyed the fresh water and delicious fruits and vegetables, and reveled in the ample supplies of island rum and willing female partners for their amorous adventures. These meetings of pirates and the local people often produced children and today the blood of the people of St. Mary Island is 25% pirate.
Follow me then to the fabulous island of Madagascar, to reveal its many exciting natural and cultural secrets. Explore the island of St. Mary – also known as Pirate Island - as I search for - and find - many artifacts and treasures, left behind by the infamous pirates of 300 years ago.