There’s something about … Madagascar!
Hands up if you’ve seen the film Madagascar?
I’m sure most of you have, and even though this stunningly beautiful country isn’t filled with talking lions and hippos, it is full of bright, colourful and downright fascinating wildlife, with more than enough to fill another Pixar film twice over!
To get the most out of the diversity of Madagascar, it’s worth taking a guided tour, with a reputable company of course, as this way not only will you see the best of the country’s many stunning sights, but you’ll also have a knowledgeable guide to impart words of wisdom and knowledge.
Madagascar is an island of true natural beauty, in fact it’s almost otherworldly in its wildlife, with many different animals and types of flora completely indigenous to the island, with downright weird and wonderful species, such as a freakish hissing cockroach, and Dracula ants! The island’s most famous resident is of course the lemur, with 40 difference species calling Madagascar home, although unfortunately not one of them sings ‘I like to move it’!
The lack of singing is more than made up for with what you will see, not only the furry and moving kind, but also flora and fauna to take your breath away, with seven of the world’s nine species of Baobabtree, and almost 1000 different species of fragrant orchid.
To visit this island, which is the world’s fourth largest, you will need a visit visa, which is issued to you on arrival at the airport in Antananarivo, the capital city. Due to the nature of the island, ensure you visit your GP around eight weeks before you plan to visit, to get any immunisations or medical attention you need prior to your visit, such as anti-malaria tablets.
If you choose to go down the route of a tour, which is to be recommended, you will have a large range to choose from, taking you through rainforests, across stunning beaches, and skimming around canyons. Places of interest are huge and there are far too many to mention here, however a visit to the Tsiribihina River region is a must, with the Park National des Tsingy de Bemaraha, which is a World Heritage Site, as well as Ambohimanga, for a spot of culture and to learn about the people of Madagascar. Whilst meeting the locals, you might be treated to a traditional form of Madagascan entertainment, called Hira Gasy.
If trekking is your thing, then you’re spoilt for choice, with Bongolava a great place to head. The Bongolava Mountains are breathtaking, with rugged landscape and canyons, and a spot of canoeing possible on the Manambolo River too. Alternatively, walking in the Ranomafana National Park is where you’ll see the famous lemurs, with quite steady trails for different energy levels. How about camping in the Kirindy Forest? Taking stunning panoramic photographs from the top of Mont Passot? Or how about scuba diving?
Of course all this nature might leave you a little exhausted, and in that case it’s time to head to the beach. Nosy Be not only sounds great, but is actually one of the most stunning beaches you’ll lay your eyes on.
As you can see, a visit to Madagascar will not be leisurely and lacking in sights, in fact you might struggle to pack it all in. One thing you can never accuse Madagascar of is being boring. Sights, sounds, scents – it has it all, and then some.