Madagascar is the fourth largest island in the world and home to thousands of animal species, such as lemurs – found nowhere else and of which there are over 100 species – plus rainforests, beaches and reefs. Other highlights include the world’s smallest and largest chameleons. an abundance of exquisite geckos and more than 100 species of bird exclusive to this island nation.
It was once Africa’s gateway to the Silk Road and the commercial port town,Toamasina, saw gold dust, rubber products and live animals exported for international trade. Nowadays it is home to palm tree lined beaches and colourful street markets where locals peddle exotic spices and handmade crafts.
Almost as big a draw as the wildlife is the Great Red Island’s amazingly varied landscapes. These range from dense, humid rainforests to dry sandstone formations naturally sculpted into fantastic shapes, and from razor-sharp limestone pinnacles called tsingy to imposing granite domes or ‘inselbergs’.
Madagascar and its offshore islands are also fringed with gorgeous sandy beaches, and with reefs teeming with exotic fish. Holidays here can – and should – combine rainforest hikes and cross-country tours with time spent chilling out on a sunbed under a bending palm.
Travel west through the island and drive through the imposing Avenue of the Baobabs, a dirt road lined by massive centuries-old trees which have been granted protected status to become the island’s first natural monument.
The busy capital, Antananarivo, has French inspired boulevards and markets with handsome red day houses whilst nearby is Ambohimanga, a hillside complex of royal palaces and burial grounds.
Madagascar has truly unique wildlife that you won’t find anywhere else in the world, incomparably diverse flora and some landscapes unlike anything you would have seen before. With its fascinating culture, Indian Ocean beaches and pristine coral reefs, this complex island really is in a class of its own.
The island’s best-known native inhabitants are the lemurs and peeling back the branches of palm trees in a mist shrouded cloud forest to spot them is the highlight of any trip. They come in all shapes and sizes. Some could fit into an egg cup; others measure more than a metre. Night-time walks are a must; witness the forest come alive as Madagascar’s many nocturnal creatures venture out to play. Look out for the furry-eared dwarf lemur, chameleons, tree frogs and the Madagascar long-eared owl as you prowl through the dark.It’s not just the interior that is teeming with wildlife.
Madagascar’s magnificent coastline is dotted with pristine reefs and remote islands that are a haven for marine species. Watch humpback whales breaching off Ile Sainte Marie from July to September or spot sea turtles nibbling sea grass on a snorkel tour around the Nosy Be archipelago. This pretty cluster of islands offers sparkling sands and stylish lodgings. If you’re not the sit on the sand type, however, you can continue your Madagascar adventure on a kayaking or diving trip.
Internal travel can be challenging and it is often necessary to fly whilst over land trips can be taken with 4-wheel drive vehicles. We would, therefore, recommend choosing from the selection of hand-picked Madagascar holiday & tours offered by our Travel Partner, Rainbow Tours, which will enable you to enjoy these special experiences stress free.
Their tours are suitable for most discerning travellers whether it be the whole family, wildlife enthusiasts, solo travellers or honeymooners.
A family with an adventurous streak will find Madagascar a different but natural playground where you can take the kids for a trek through the rainforest to listen to the cry of the Indri lemur or pack a snorkel and head to the coast to explore protected marine reserves filled with colourful fish and meet giant Green turtles.
Wildlife enthusiasts would find few other places on earth to compete with the wildlife as from spotting Van Dam’s vanga fluttering beneath the forest canopy in Ankarafantiska Park to Golden bamboo lemurs in Ranomafana Park, most animals cannot be found anywhere else in the world.
If you are a Solo traveller then Rainbow Tours small group tours are a fantastic way to share experiences and those such as the Madagascar Wildlife Extravaganza* will be led and accompanied by the two authors of the Bradt guide to Madagascar, Daniel Austin and Hilary Bradt MBE and the two most renowned Madagascar experts.
Honeymooners can combine unique wildlife in the Andasibe-Mantadia National Park with sun drenched seclusion on Ile Sainte Marie where you can snorkel through secluded reefs or take a kayaking tour before relaxing on the sands of a palm-fringed cove.
* Madagascar Wildlife Extravaganza – Tour Highlights
ANKARANA NATIONAL PARK
Spend time in other-worldly landscapes where you can see the ‘Grand Tsingy’ and ‘Petite Tsingy’ limestone formations, awe-inspiring caves and wildlife that is unique to the far north of Madagascar.
Spot rare wildlife on walks through the Andrafiamena Andavakoera community-protected forest area. You may spot the Perrier’s black sifaka, one of the world’s 25 most endangered primates.
MIKEA NATIONAL PARK
Enjoy a visit to the Mikea Forest, famed for its ‘stunted’ baobabs and mysterious hunter-gatherer Mikea people, as well as the island’s most perfect beach.
Tailor Made Travel can fulfil your dreams and aspirations – for further details and information of other tours available from our Travel Partner, Rainbow Tours, or to tailor make your ideal itinerary please contact us.
Call 0333 3441786 or visit your local Tailor Made Travel agency – for telephone numbers and addresses of our branches please see our website
Don’t forget without a Travel Agent you are on your own.
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