Madagascar is a beautiful island country filled with diversity and sprawling landscapes. Previously known as the Malagasy Republic, the area is still home to the Malagasy as well as the Bara Tribe, amongst many others.
Known as “those who make Taboos”, the Malagasy tribe’s belief system is deeply rooted in taboos and spirits and almost every part of Madagascan culture have held some sort of taboo or belief ever since their arrival on the island around the twelfth century. This ethnic group can be found in the plains of Betioky. They are also known to make their homes in the Spiny Forest which holds incredible spiritual significance for the Malagasy people.
This forest is filled with wooden Mahafaly houses. Known also for their burial rituals, the Malagasy people create large tombs that are built to honour the dead. These large square stones have sculptures and animal horns placed on top of them. The number of sculptures and horns placed upon the grave are dependent on the importance of the person being buried.
The Bara people are not as superstitious as the Malagasy and make up at least 3.3% of the Madagascan population. The Isalo area holds great spiritual importance and is sacred to this ethnic group who can be found living in the park as well as in Ihosu and Betroka. They originally consisted of two Kingdoms but one of them died out after being attacked and disbanded.
Today they keep Zubu cattle; a commodity that is also used for bartering and also holds great significance for the transformation from boy to man; a boy is only ready to marry once he has stolen a Zubu from a neighbouring clan. Women are very inferior in this ethnic group and they remember their dead by shaving their heads in honour of them.
No tour to Madagascar would be complete without a glimpse into the lives of both the Malagasy and Bara people.