Madagascar is a large island in the Indian ocean, 250 miles off the southeast coast of Africa. Its narrow coastal plain rises to a high mountainous plateau in the island's center. The mountains' granite peaks rise above grasslands and cultivated slopes and valleys. Towns and villages are scattered throughout the mountains, predominantly inhabited by native islanders known as the Malagasy. Madagascar's highest mountain is Maromokotro (9,436 ft./2,876 m.)