Madagascar has the highest bio diversity on the planet, with an incredible 97% of the species being unique to the island, including over 50 types of lemurs - the island’s star attraction! The landscape of the island is equally diverse, with lush wet rainforests and dry spiny deserts, lunar landscapes of limestone formations, uninhabited off-shore islands, beaches and baobabs. Here are our pick of the best places to visit in Madagascar.
Madagascar’s bustling capital occupies a commanding position atop a long ridge where the remains of the old royal palace, looks down upon the rest of the city, spread across 12 surrounding hills. Antananarivo (aka Tana) is a fascinating city of contrasts, where crumbling buildings and modern architecture stand side by side with bustling markets and chic French shops and historic palaces.
Madagascar has several beautiful national parks, with an abundance of wildlife. Ranomafana National Park is home to 12 species of lemurs and has a spectacular mountainous landscape, with densely forested hills and winding streams. Indri, the largest of the lemur family, with its bizarre forest whalesong, can be found in the lush rainforest of Andasibe National Park. While Park National de Isalo is ideal for trekking with its wonderful landscape of gorges, canyons, oases and grassy plains.
Nosy Be (Big Island) is the largest of Madagascar’s offshore islands, with quiet sandy beaches and crystal waters which are ideal for diving and fishing. The island is lush, covered with palm trees and bougainvillea. The popular Lokobe Reserve on the island is famous for its black lemurs and the Nosy Be panther chameleon. Nosy Be is part of a picturesque archipelago which is ideal for island hopping.
Sainte Marie is a beautiful island with an almost Caribbean flavour, situated 8km off the coast of eastern Madagascar. The island has a rugged east coast, rolling green hills, miles of sandy beaches, deserted bays, crystal clear shallow waters and incredible coral reefs, teeming with marine life. Sainte Marie offers a wide range of activities, including diving and it’s a whale watching hot spot with hundreds of humpback whales swimming past between July and September each year.