Isolated from Africa millions of years ago, Madagascar is a biodiversity hotspot with over 80% of its plant and animal species are found nowhere else on Earth. The country is as bizarre as it is unique, promising an experience that’s incredibly rich in ecology and landscape, but where do you start?
Whether you want to delve into every hidden corner, have limited time to see it all or like to focus on a certain part of the African island, this quick guide will highlight four ways to uncover Africa’s biggest island.
The complete exploration
From the playful lemurs to endemic varieties of baobab trees, it’s possible to get a full immersive exploration of the island ‘continent’ in just three weeks.
Walk across grassy plateaus, cross starkly eroded hills and climb amongst moonscape rock formations. On our Madagascar Adventure you can discover natural swimming pools, canoe leisurely down remote rivers, camp in panoramic locations, take night walks to spot nocturnal fauna, search for ‘fosa’ (the island’s largest carnivore) and, of course, watch the world go by as locals and visitors alike traverse the iconic ‘Baobab Alley’.
For tropical beaches & exotic scents
The northern coast of Madagascar evokes images of a classic island paradise with its stretch of white coral beaches, clear blue waters and the scent of exotic spices and flora in the breeze. Rainforests teem with endemic wildlife and the coral reefs offshore are equally full of life and colour.
To experience this all, you can go on walks that traverse the headlands and historic fortifications of the craggy coast, passing crater lakes and waterfalls of the forested hinterland. Hop on a boat and journey to the ‘scented island’ of Nosy Be, where the fragrances of ylang ylang, frangipani, vanilla and cinnamon drift on the breeze.
Get an insight into the little-visited northern section of Madagascar our our Reef and Rainforests adventure where you can experience vibrant island life mixed with exciting safari experiences and day walks that will see you leaving the rest of the world behind.
To get off the beaten track
Want to go far from the tourist trails? The wild and tropical east coast of Madagascar home to white sand beaches and coconut palms is hidden treasure of the island. From the dry Central Highlands, there are hidden roads that take you through lush verdant landscapes and small village communities where tropical fruits and terraced fields set the scene.
And what about a lodge in the midst of a Malagasy rainforest? A stay here will allow you to take both day and night walks, away from other travellers, in the forest to view colourful chameleons and observe numerous species of lemurs. To explore coastal fishing villages, take a boat journey that brings you through a series of lakes and along narrow canals (known as ‘The Pangalanes’), to these settlements by the water where nets and palms abound on our week long getaway that explore the culture & wildlife of Madagascar.
A short and sweet introduction
Exotic and quirky Madagascar has its own unique cargo of endemic animals and plants, from arid Spiny Forest in the south to tropical rainforest further north. Explore the spectacular collection of the island’s top national parks such as Isalo, Andringitra and Ranomafana with opportunities to take in the full diversity of the land and animals.
A unique and all-encompassing taste of Madagascar doesn’t necessarily make you take up all your holidays. And in just a week an a half’s time, you can even include a visit to the city of Antsirabe – known for its high concentration of pousse-pousse (pulled rickshaws), the wood-carving capital of Ambositra and the colourful town of Ambalavao, whose local craftspeople manufacture antaimoro paper from the bark of ahova trees.
Ready to don your pack and boots and step into Madagascar’s striking wilderness? View our full range of active Madagascar holidays >