The island of Madagascar is filled with picturesque landscapes, white sand beaches, tropical rainforest, and mountains teeming with unique and wonderful creatures. I recently had the opportunity to visit Madagascar, as the second member of the Frontiers team, and wanted to share my observations about why now is the time to visit.
Who should travel to Madagascar?
- Those who relish adventure
- Nature enthusiasts
- Beach lovers
- Scuba divers
Why to add Madagascar to your bucket list:
- Endemic species: Madagascar is home to 5% of the world’s plant and animal species, 80% of which are endemic to the island. There are many distinct and wonderful creatures to discover here including over 100 lemur species, 285 bird species, fossa, over 300 species of reptile, 1,000 orchid species and more.
- Unique culture: Malagasy culture is a unique blend of Southeast Asian and African cultures that is very far removed from our own European and North American cultures. The heavy emphasis on tradition and ritual is fascinating and an intrinsic part of Malagasy everyday life.
- Fabulous beaches: Nestled between the Indian Ocean and the Mozambique Channel, Madagascar offers a beautiful array of white sand beaches, azure waters and coral reefs. With the fairly underdeveloped tourism sector, if you wander off the beaten track, you will likely have this paradise all to yourself.
- Improved accommodations: These standards of accommodations in Madagascar have greatly improved. Over the years, Madagascar has received a lot of attention for not having the best properties when compared to mainland Africa. Luxurious properties run by operators with experience of working in remote areas are beginning to change this, and you’ll find a distinctive range of places to stay that add to the charm of the island.
Photo Courtesy of Tide + Tide Miavana.
- Stunning landscapes: With the unreal beauty of the Tsingy, lush rainforests, otherworldly spiny forests, towering baobabs, white sand beaches, mountains and plains — the red island offers one-of-a-kind landscapes that are a photographer’s dream come true.
- A walking holiday: Wildlife safaris to Africa often involve sitting in a vehicle for a good part of the day. In Madagascar the majority of your wildlife viewing will be done on foot in the island’s diverse forests, getting you closer to nature. You’ll also come back from holiday feeling fit and energized. Walks range from a gentle stroll through the forest to fairly strenuous hikes through astonishing limestone formations.
- Safety: Madagascar offers a gentle introduction to African wildlife holidays as there are no dangerous animals, insects or reptiles (with the exception of the Nile crocodile which is found in the caves of theAnkarana special reserve).
- This tiny island nation is an ideal destination for a stand alone trip and equally, a fascinating extension to a safari in East or Southern Africa and easier to get to that you might suspect.
- Ethiopian Airlines: From the U.S. via Addis Ababa directly to Antananarivo
- South African Airways: Direct flights from Johannesburg to Antananarivo and Nosy Be
- Air France: Direct flights from Paris
- Kenya Airways: Direct flights from Nairobi
Times to Visit:
- In General: May – November (the coolest months are June – August)
For Birding: September – November
- Reptiles: October – December
- Whale Watching: June – November
- Scuba diving: August – November
- Months to avoid – typhoon season: January – March