Destinations

Madagascar

Once part of the supercontinent known as Gondwana, Madagascar broke away from the rest of the world about 160 million years ago. There is nowhere else like it. The fourth largest island in the world, Madagascar is home to 5% of the world’s plant and animal species, a staggering 80% of which are unique to the country.
The world's most fascinating island
Everything about Madagascar is exotic. From its fusion of African, Asian, European and Arabic cultures which have moulded the Malagasy people to its vastly varied terrain which includes tropical rainforests, stunning beaches, highlands and deserts - a trip to this enchanting island will amaze even the most seasoned traveller. With less than one-fifth of the country's roads paved, getting around is an adventure in itself.
 
 
The capital, Antananarivo or Tana for short, is right in the middle of the country and acts as the perfect springboard to head out and explore. Often passed over in favour of the island's unique parks, reserves and beaches, the city is home to great historical sites and excellent shopping and dining, and is an excellent introduction to the country and its unique culture.
 
 
The unique landscapes of Madagascar
From the forested mountains of the north, the rainforest of the east coast, the steppe landscape of the centre to the dry desert of the south with its famous baobabs, Madagascar is an island with many different faces.

The south of the island is the country’s most visited region, and understandably so. The landscapes here are nothing short of incredible and you’ll feel as though you are on a National Geographic assignment as you make your way south from Tana through tropical rainforests, deserts and forests of baobabs. 

Moving to the west, one of the island’s most recognisable sites is the amazing Avenue of the Baobabs. Linking Morondava and Belo Tsiribihina, the dirt road is framed by dozens of towering ancient baobab trees creating one of the most spectacular vistas in Madagascar.  

And on the western coast, the spectacular mineral forest of Tsingy de Bemaraha and its nearly impenetrable labyrinth of limestone needles is a sight to behold. The area was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990.​

 
Lemurs, chameleons and more lemurs
There are 103 species of lemurs. Ranging in size from the one-ounce pygmy mouse lemur to the 20-pound indri lemur, these primates are only found on Madagascar. On the brink of extinction, all catalogued lemur species are deemed endangered.

For nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts, don’t miss the Andasibe-Mantadia National Park to the east of the island. Home to a whopping 14 different lemur species, including the largest of all, the indri, the park also hosts over a hundred different bird species and the greatest variety of pre-modern mammals seen anywhere on the island.

Up north, Amber Mountain National Park is one of the country's wildlife hotspots, teeming with lemurs and chameleons, where you can enjoy miles of hiking trails through stunning indigenous forests.

 
Robinson Crusoe meets high luxury
Madagascar boasts some truly stunning beaches along its 5,000 kilometres of Indian Ocean coastline and surrounding islands. Nosy Be, Nosy Komba, Nosy Iranja, Nosy Boraha, Île aux Nattes, Tsarabanjina, Anjajavy and Mahavelona, just to name a few.

Over on the northern beaches, you will find superb diving as well Madagascar’s most luxurious hotels, including Anjajavy le Lodge, the country’s only Relais & Châteaux hotel. Located in a nature reserve, Anjajavy is home to no fewer than five critically endangered species, fifteen in danger of extinction and thirteen vulnerable to extinction. Coquerel's sifaka, common brown lemur, three species of mouse lemur are common here, and more recently the nocturnal Aye-aye has been reintroduced to Anjajavy. The endangered fossa, Madagascar's largest carnivore, also thrives in the reserve.

Finally, the uber-luxurious Miavana, on the private island of Nosy Ankao in the northeast, is one of the most exclusive beach resorts in Africa. Nosy Ankao is set within the Loky Manambato Protected Area, a marine park of pristine coral reefs, offering snorkelling, diving, and even whale watching just offshore. On land, one can spot lemurs and turtles nesting on the beach.

Lemurs, chameleons, baobabs, beaches, rainforest, desert: Madagascar has it all.

DID YOU KNOW?

Giraffes are six feet tall when they are born. They are the tallest animals on Earth and they reach heights of up to 18 feet. Giraffes have the largest eyes of any land mammal and other animals of the African savannah use giraffes as sentinels for spotting predators. The tongue of a giraffe can be as long as 18 inches and they can reach their ears with their tongue.

 

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