Madagascar is the fourth largest island in the world, located southeast of the African continent. The area covers 587,041 km ² and Madagascar is thus about as large as France and Belgium. From north to south the longest distance is 1580 km and from east to west the longest distance is 579 km.
Madagascar is also called the "red island", a reference to the red-brown earth. The central ridge which runs across the island of Madagascar has a varied landscape. To the north lies the mountain Montagne d'Ambre with forests filled with ferns, palms and other huge trees. A little further south is largely Ankarantra volcanic mountains with caves, caverns, limestone formations and underground rivers. The entire east coast is tropical and humid and is where you will find the tropical rainforests. These forests are home to a huge variety of wildlife. The southwestern tip of Madagascar is a very dry desert area with huge hedgerows and other vegetation such as the bizarre pachipodiums and baobabs. Between the savannah landscape in the northwest and the desert in the southwest is another area with a steppe landscape. In the northwest coast are many deep bays with many islands. The largest rivers are the Manambdo and Tsiribihina.
The island belongs to Africa, but you can not really call it 'African'. Its rice terraces especially, make the central highlands more reminiscent of Asia. It is a succession of fertile rice fields, mountains and valleys with the occasional village consisting of mud huts or the typical red houses of several floors. The dry landscape of the south is however typically African.