Official languages: French and Malagasy
Welcome to the magical island country of Madagascar!
Here on the proverbial eight continent of the world a unique and breathtaking journey of discovery awaits each and every traveler. On the display is the rich cultural diversity of the locals, incomparable natural landscapes, stunning unexplored coral reefs and unique and fascinating indigenous fauna and flora that are not found anywhere else on earth. Imagine…warm hearted Malagasy people, massive wildlife reserves completely off the beaten track, astonishing marine life and endless trekking opportunities. Step inside and allow the magic of Madagascar to transform your world.
Madagascar is about as unique as they come. This evolutional playground that had to literally create its own life is simply unrivaled by any countries in its midst. The beautiful landscapes are somewhat moonlike in certain parts and then there’s the dense and mind-blowing rainforests not to mention the weird and wonderful animals such as the tomato frog and the ever popular lemurs. The pristine landscapes remain largely unexplored and this island country is nothing like the neighbouring continent from which it separated millions of years ago. Madagascar is truly one of a kind.
Madagascar’ the animated movie might have been an eye opener to millions of people across the globe that sparked interest into the country of Madagascar, but it’s also famous for its totally unique bio-diversity. Scientists and Biologists worldwide view the island as evolutions empty pallet, when life began on the island there was nothing so almost all fauna and flora, except the bats that could fly in from land, are indigenous and unique and aren’t found anywhere else in the world. The country also has a reputation as having some of the best scuba diving waters around where the ocean creatures are as unique and beautiful as their land bound counterparts.
Must see places in Madagascar
Antananrivo -- often shorted to "Tana". Tana is quite like any city you will ever visit with colorful houses decorating the hillsides, extensive rice paddies running through sections of the town, and bustling streets full of cars and Zebu-drawn carts. Tana is located in the central highlands of Madagascar where the climate is mild. Tana lies in the heartland of the Merina people
Isalo National Park
A diverse landscape doesn’t quite sum it up. Grassland areas, sandstone formations, steep canyaons and oasis like pools with palm trees makes this park truly remarkable and a sight you have to see to believe.
Tsingy de Bemaraha
This nature reserve houses 7 different lemur species within its mangrove forest that surrounds the limestone plateau and the breathtaking pinnacle. Well worth a visit if you want to explore the raw natural beauty that the island has to offer.
This small island just off shore is one of the top tourist attractions in Madagascar, and with good reason. The atmosphere lends a feeling of tranquility; the most amazingly clear turquoise waters and restaurants serving delectable seafood dishes right on the beach.
Masoala National Park
Ranging almost 250 across the country, Masoala offers unrivaled rainforest exploring and even has three marine parks located within the land park. Aside from the amazingly diverse collection of wildlife found here, snorkeling and kayaking are also top activities when visiting the marine parks of Tampolo, Ambodilaitry or Ifaho
Ranomafana National Park
This park is a hiker’s paradise and you can splash in the cool waters of the streams that run through the forested hills. Another indigenous creature calls this park home, the endangered Golden Bamboo lemur, which diet consists of bamboo shoots that have traces of cyanide in, fascinating and amazing. Weird and wonderful animals thriving in a breathtaking environment makes it a top tourist attraction and one certainly worth viewing.
Avenue of the Baobabs
Lining the road between Morondava and Belon`i Tsiribinina, 800 year old giant baobab trees that were once part of a dense tropical forest stand tall and attracts hundreds of tourist. It’s a scenic view and these majestic trees are something you have to go and see.
Royal Hill of Ambohimanga
Ancient home to the Malagasy royalty, this sacred ruin offers insight into Madagascar’s history. The city walls were built with a mortar made from lime and egg whites and inside you will find relics from a great ancient king such as weapons and talismans.
This national park just outside of Madagascar’s capital boast 11 lemur species and among them is the Indri lemur, the biggest of all lemur species. Guided tours ranging from 1 up to 6 hours are offered by experienced guides and will truly allow you to soak up all this awe inspiring park brings into focus.
Must do activities in Madagascar
Be a beach bum
Madagascar offers amazingly scenic beaches and some unexplored wilderness areas along its coast. Luxurious beach resorts or a more authentic experience is all within reach here. Most popular beaches include Diego, Anako, Nosy Be, Sainte Marie and Nosy Ve.
Experience life in Tana
The capital city of Madagascar offers an amazing market that winds up and down along a series of staircases and the Lemurs Park just outside of the city borders is sure to entice travelers from all walks of life.
Whale watching from Sainte Marie
Humpback whales are seen year round in the waters surrounding the island of Sainte Marie and it’s definitely something that should be on every travel itinerary.
Rough it on-route to Stone Forest
It takes one full day by 4x4 vehicles through some rugged terrain but the views on this scenic route are simply breathtaking and you can truly experience the rich diversity in the landscapes.
Take a dive
Madagascar offers unique and breathtaking snorkeling and scuba diving opportunities. There are also various number of diving courses available and most popular diving spots include Ifaty, Anakao and the waters surrounding Sainte Marie.
Explore the wildlife
In parks such as Berenty, Kirindi and Masoala among the many that are available, you can explore the unique animals and plant life of the island country. It’s also one of the only wilderness areas where you can hike around without the fear of being attacked by large predators, as Madagascar’s animals are rather peaceful and you won’t find animals such as leopards stalking you from behind
Best time to visit Madagascar
Tourists visit Madagascar between April and October
Madagascar has a tropical climate along the coastal regions and contrasting temperate inland conditions which tend to be arid. Cyclone season starts from December through March so those months obviously aren’t favorable for traveling. The best time to visit Madagascar would be between April and October when conditions are drier and not overwhelmingly hot.
Did you know?
- Rice – it may sound so simple and plain but rice is the main staple food of Malagasy people and you will find rice is served with just about every dish and the variations of dishes made from rice is immense. From the traditional dry rice with sauce, to saucy rice dishes for breakfast and rice porridge, you have to try at least one traditional rice dish.
- Gasy – Malagasy bread is made from sweetened rice flour and cooked in circular molds over charcoal. Have it for breakfast or as a snack with some coffee.
- Koba Akondra – Sweets made from a batter of ground peanuts, mashed banana, honey and corn flour that gets wrapped in banana leaves and then steamed. It’s a traditional sweet treat that you have to try.
- Ramazava – The Malagasy national dish is made from beef (zebu) mixed with greens that have been sautéed in tomato, onions and garlic. It comes highly recommended and is filling and very delicious.
- Kapitan – This fresh fish dish gets cooked in a coconut sauce and served with rice. The fish literally melts in your mouth and it’s a traditional meal that will surprise even the most experienced pallet.
Alahamady Be Celebrations of the Malagasy New Year see traditional dancing and music as well as great cuisine on offer in this two day festival that draws extremely large crowds (March)
Santabary An annual celebration of the first rice harvest includes lively traditional song and dance and inevitably loads of rice dishes on showcase. Malagasy traditional cuisine is largely based around rice, rice with that, rice in this… rice is everywhere and considered the main staple of the people so celebrations for the harvest are always a huge attraction(April)
Hiragasy Originating from the 18th century, this fest sees competitive dancing and singing from different tribes as well as eating and drinking competitions. It’s largely a spectator’s attraction and a showdown of how the traditional lifestyles are still being implemented today (July)
Donia Attracting roughly 40 000 visitors annually this event showcases colorful sports, cultural traditions and tribal music in a fascinating extravaganza. The week long Malagasy fest takes place in the island of Nosy Be(September)