Madagascar is the dream destination for many people, whether it’s to relax on the white sand beaches or hike in the mountains. The island’s perennial tropical weather draws in many tourists each year.
Here are a few sights we recommend visiting if you want to explore the island’s natural beauty.
Nosy Be is an island eight kilometres off the coast of the Madagascar mainland so it’s a short boat ride from Ankify Harbor. This is the perfect spot to spend the day in crystal clear waters as the surrounding coral reef is great for diving and snorkelling. Fishing and sailing boats are also organised to take tourists out around the island.
The Lokobe Reserve, located on the south-eastern part of Nosy Be, is known for its nocturnal species and lush, green flora. The types of animals you can expect to see living in the humid conditions and evergreen forest include endangered black lemurs, the world’s smallest chameleons and miniature frogs. You may also stumble upon fascinating cocoa, vanilla and coffee plantations.
Isalo National Park
What used to be just a sandstone massif is now a dramatic landscape comprised of gorges, canyons and plateaus, all uniquely designed by erosion from the weather over time. One of the most picturesque sights in this breathtaking national park is the cave overlooking a waterfall tumbling down into a deep pool, surrounded by overhanging screw pines.
More endangered lemurs can be found here (sifaka,ring-tailed and brown), all leaping through the tall trees, grabbing onto oncoming branches with their tails. During your hike, you’ll see plenty of birds too. There are around 80 different species to spot, including the rare Benson’s rock-thrush and beautiful crested ibis. However, you’re likely to hear them before you see them, so brush up on your bird calls.
Avenue of Baobabs
The Avenue of Baobabs, where the unique Grandidier’s baobabs stand out along both sides of the RN8 road, is considered one of Madagascar’s most recognisable sights. It consists of 25 trees lining a 260-metre stretch of road, some over 800 years old, standing 98 feet tall and 36 feet wide.
It soon becomes clear why these trees are nicknamed ‘the roots of the sky’. Their gnarled branches, a rare characteristic, sprout out at the top to resemble roots. It’s highly recommended to visit this area either during sunrise or sunset as it paints a spectacular picture. Having your camera at the ready is a must as you’ll want to capture this moment and reminisce time and time again.
Marojejy National Park
The Marojejy National Park consists of 550 square kilometres of stunning, mountainous rainforest. It covers the awe-inspiring Marojejy massif, providing hikers with striking views of the surrounding scenery. Visitors are drawn to this park because 90% is covered in primary forests. These are areas that haven’t been affected by human activities and therefore hold many wildlife species and unique plants.
This wildlife-rich area is home to 118 different species of bird, 150 species of reptile and 11 species of lemur, including the previously mentioned sifaka. Many of the animals living in this park can only be found here,making it a one-of-a-kind nature spot. Whether you choose to climb the mountains or stay on the flat rainforest floor, you’re bound to see plenty of unique wildlife.
Another island off Madagascar’s coastline is Nosy Boraha. Also known as Île Saint-Marie, it’s a narrow sliver of paradise, where you’ll discover palm tree-lined beaches and shaded rainforest areas. A highlight of visiting this island is the regular sight of humpback whales from June to September in between both coastlines. They’re said to come here to calve and nurse their young because the waters are sheltered.
Secluded bays dominate the coastline, making this island the ideal place for snorkelling and diving. Near La Crique and Atafana, there are beautifully colourful coral reefs that provide great underwater experiences, as well as shallow wrecks. Nosy Boraha has no roads and cars, so why not stay in the water and take out a pirogue (dugout canoe) to explore the island?
If you wish to book a holiday to Madagascar, contact us via our website or call us on 0800 021 3237. Alternatively, you can visit our Ipswich, Framlingham or Woodbridge travel agents and speak to a member of our team.