Madagascar is one of the most thrilling destinations in the world. It’s been high on Sean’s travel list for a long time. Where is it on your list? After reading this blog, our bet is that it will have moved up a spot or two! The fourth-largest island on the planet, Madagascar is overwhelmingly diverse in terms of its plants, wildlife, and landscapes. The island’s national parks are teeming with native species like lemurs, fossas, and chameleons. Meanwhile, there are mountains, white sand beaches, and a 300 km coral reef system to explore.
Despite its beauty, Madagascar is still relatively undiscovered by tourists. The beach resorts are low-key and the national parks are often quiet. It’s likely that this will change one day, as the nation’s infrastructure continues to develop. So if you’ve ever considered travelling to Madagascar, go while the island retains its authenticity and dazzling natural beauty.
Here’s why you should go to Madagascar sooner rather than later:
1. Lemurs in their natural habitat
Lemurs are unique to Madagascar, so it’s the best place in the world to see them. Today, there are almost 60 species and subspecies of lemurs on the island. These range in size from the tiny 25 gm pygmy mouse lemur to the indri. As a result of this huge variety of lemurs, Madagascar has the second highest number of primates in the world, after Brazil. Some of the best places to go lemur trekking on the island are in Parc National d’Andringita and Parc National de Isalo.
2. Unspoilt beaches
With 5000 km of coastline, Madagascar is an exceptional beach destination. The white sand, turquoise waters, and minimal development make it an idyllic place to relax. There are also about 250 outer islands off Madagascar. One of these islands is Nosy Be, located off Madagascar’s eastern shore. Although Noisy Be is the most popular and expensive beach destination in the country, it’s still relatively peaceful.
3. Diverse national parks
Madagascar is home to some of the most naturally diverse landscapes in the world and visiting the national parks is the best way to experience it for yourself. The incredible Parc National de Masoala is a 2100-sq-km national park on the Masoala Peninsula. It includes three protected marine areas within its boundaries and is only accessible by boat and or on foot. Parc National de Isalo features very different terrain, yet it’s equally dramatic. The landscape is dominated by canyon formations, gorges, pillars, and unusual sandstone ridges.
4. Unique flora and fauna
Much of Madagascar’s flora and fauna is unique to the island, so you won’t see it anywhere else. Besides lemurs, Madagascar’s native mammals include the Malagasy Ring-tailed Mongoose, the Red Forest Rat, and the Fossa (a cat-like mammal). Madagascar is also home to a number of chameleon species, like the Parsons Chameleon, which is the world’s largest chameleon.
Take a trek through Madagascar’s rainforests with a guide and you’re also likely to spot colourful frogs, rare birds, and insects. Madagascar is also home to over 10,000 plant species. The most famous of these is the Za Baobab – a tall tree that’s narrow at the base and widens at the top. To see them up close, head to the Avenue of Baobabs on the Mononodova Peninsula.
5. Opportunities for outdoor adventure
Madagascar is paradise for outdoor adventure enthusiasts. From diving and snorkelling to hiking and horse-riding, the options are as varied as the island’s landscape. Nosy Be is one of the most popular destinations for diving and snorkelling, due to the diverse marine life and eerie shipwrecks.
Where does Madagascar fall on your travel list?