Faces of Madagascar

Posted on July 30, 2011 by

I love interacting with people when I travel – locals, expats, guides or peddlers, they are the ones who tell the story of a country. During our trip through Madagascar, I was especially drawn to its people: the Malagasies are an optimistic, hardworking and resilient bunch. As we walked through markets and drove past rice fields, the people of Madagascar showed us warmth and hospitality with wide grins, excited waves and heartwarming greetings. While there are many aspects of Madagascar that I love, its people have touched me tremendously. Here’s a photo essay showcasing the beautiful people of Madagascar and their endearing soul.

This is my favorite portrait shot. It was taken at a village market in Belo-sur-Tsiribihina. The lady is seen wearing a facial mask extracted from tree barks. She smiles as she chats with her friends at the bustling market.

We met this lady as she waited patiently for the fishermen to arrive from their day out at sea, in the village of Manafiafy. She was one of the many ladies wearing colorful straw hat. Many of them kept their money in the hats before swapping them for fresh fish.

I came across this young boy while wandering through the savannah surrounding the Avenue du Baobab. The stick he’s carrying is used to gather his herd of zebus. When I asked if I could take a photo of him, he smiled coyly and looked flattered. The expression on his face as he saw his own photo was priceless.

Shot at the village of Manafiafy in Southern Madagascar, this picture catches the perfect moment. Out in the village centre, children are hanging out with their friends and families in the afternoon sun.

 This sister-and-brother pair were excited to have their photo taken. I can feel the love transmitted through the girl’s eyes.

A local lady is seen carrying fish on her head along the beach of Morondava. It’s common to see ladies stack up buckets and sacks on their heads, a practice also seen in the African continent.

This is not a great shot, but it brings back wonderful memories. We’d stopped at a tiny village on our way to Morondava, and our guide took us around for a casual walk. He striked a conversation with this humble lady, who showed us her house, introduced us to her family and shared with us some stories. I couldn’t thank her enough for bringing us into her life. We left with a smile and a deeper understanding of how rural Malagasies live.

At daybreak, we came across this family along the Manombolo River that flows through the Tsingy de Bemahara (rock pinnacle forest). Most people in the area travel by pirogues, dugout canoes, and as we exchange pleasantries, we found out that this family was heading upstream to do their weekly grocery shopping. It would take them almost 2 hours to get to the next town.

The Tsiribihina River, a major water channel that flows through Western Madagascar, sees hundreds of river crossings each day. I took this picture in the early morning, catching peak hour traffic.


About Nellie Huang

Nellie Huang is a professional travel writer and blogger with a special interest in off-grid destinations and adventure travel. Her mission is to visit every country in the world. In her quest, she's climbed an active volcano in Iceland, swam with sealions in the Galapagos, built a school in Tanzania, waddled with penguins in Antarctica, crossed into North Korea and drank beer in Palestine.

5 Responses to “Faces of Madagascar”

  1. Sophie July 31, 2011 8:22 pm #

    Such lovely portraits! I've always been drawn to Madagascar, but for some reason, I haven't visited yet…

  2. Nomadic Samuel August 1, 2011 5:37 am #

    Those are beautiful smiles :) I haven't seen a lot of articles/photos on Madagascar, so this was a real treat.

  3. Ekua June 30, 2012 8:06 am #

    This is really interesting and made me realize that most of what I've seen from Madagascar are images of trees and wildlife. Thanks for giving a little insight into the people and culture of the island.

  4. Violet March 14, 2013 5:53 am #

    I wanted to thank you for this great read!! I certainly loved every little bit of it.
    I have you book-marked to look at new things you post…


  1. Madagascar photos - January 22, 2013

    […] Madagascar’s approximity to continental Africa, its people have few ties with Africans. The people of Madagascar, known as Malagasies, are mainly descendants of Indo-Malayans who had sailed along the Indian Ocean […]

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