Madagascar, the fourth largest island in the world, is situated off the east coast of Africa. This isolated island nation is known for its ecological diversity, unique wildlife and incredible landscapes. 90% of the plant and wildlife found in Madagascar is endemic and this is partly the reason why most of Madagascar’s top attractions are nature-centric. Here are the things to see in Madagascar for an ultimate nature-centric experience.
You will get a chance to experience rain-forests, deserts and beaches without ever leaving the island. While in Madagascar, flexibility with your itinerary is important. The underdeveloped infrastructure, pothole-ridden roads and less than reliable flight schedules may throw a wrench in your schedule but the fact that tourism is booming despite all these setbacks is a testament to the charm of the country.
A trip to Madagascar is incomplete without a trip to one (or more) of its incredible national parks. You will encounter various species of plants and animals that you will not see anywhere else in the world. Just like in the animated movie, lemurs, fossa and chameleons are found in abundance. While the list of National parks are endless, here are a few of the most popular ones-
One of the most visited National Parks in Madagascar, the Andasibe-Mantadia is about a 3-hour drive from Madagascar’s capital. It is home to 11 lemur species including the largest Lemur, the Indri. Hire a local guide as they help you spot most of the animals hidden in the foliage that you might otherwise miss.
2. Masoala National Park
This national park covers both large expanses of pristine rainforest and three marine parks. Spanning a massive 2400 square kilometres, this world heritage site is a perfect representation of the vast biodiversity of the country. Get immersed in the wildlife during your stay here and if you’re in the mood for some adventure, this park is ideal for a number of activities such as hiking, river crossing, camping, snorkelling and much more.
3. Isalo National Park
Known for its varied terrain, this national park is popular among the tourists for its incredible scenery, canyons and natural waterfall pool.
Located along the southern coast of the island, Ifaty consists of two quaint fishing villages ideal for unwinding after your strenuous trip to the National Park. The coral reef lining the shore act as a natural barrier to the harsh waves making it an ideal spot for fishing or snorkelling. Head there between the months of July and August for a chance to spot migrating whales.
Avenue of the Baobabs
Located in western Madagascar, this heavenly landscape unsurprisingly draws in tourists from all over the world. The centuries-old Baobab trees line a simple dirt road between Morondava and Belon’i Tsiribihina and are a sight to behold. Head there during sunset for a sight that will be engraved in your memory for years to come.
The capital of Madagascar, lovingly known as Tana, is home to beautiful colonial buildings, museums, palaces and restaurants. Because of its infamous traffic and suffocating pollution, many tourists tend to avoid the city altogether but doing so will mean missing out on a lot of history and culture so do make a quick pit stop at Antananarivo and treat yourself to some incredible food ,excellent shopping and a fair share of culture and history as well.
Many smaller islands surround the main island of Madagascar and are popular tourist destinations due to their turquoise waters and tranquil beaches. Opt for an island hopping tour for an expensive yet once-in-a-lifetime experience you’ll be boasting about for the rest of your life.
The vast expanses of this incredible country mean that you simply cannot cover all the attractions in one visit. In order to complete your itinerary, you will have to return to Madagascar and who would turn down a chance to revisit paradise?
If you liked reading the best things to see in Madagascar for an ultimate nature centric experience, click here to read about touring Serengeti National park