At A Glance
- Country’s 4828km coastline
- Mountains stretching to nearly 3000m
- National parks protect monumental landscapes
- Mangrove swamps, jungle and rushing rivers
- Wildlife which is home to its signature Lemur
Madagascar Overland Travel
Madagascar is the world’s 4th largest island and famously referred to as the world’s eighth continent, due to its distinctive ecology that has allowed a unique and endemic island to evolve.
After splitting with India over 88 million years ago, Madagascar is now part of the African continent and lies off the South East coast of Mozambique. This is an island waiting to be explored. Discover the best of Madagascar with lemurs, colourful tribes, tropical beaches, bustling markets and ever-changing scenery.
The highlight to Madagascar’s is the iconic lemur! Madagascar is the only place in the world where these fun-loving creatures can be found, all 103 species of them. There are many more weird, wild, and wonderful creatures and plants – baobabs, insects, sharks, frogs, orchids, palms, birds, turtles, chameleons, dragonflies, mongoose…. the list goes on and on!
Fauna and Flora
The incredible fauna and flora is matched by landscapes, going from rainforest to desert in just 300km. With the unspoilt nature, the dense forests of Andasibe, the eroded hills of Antsirabe, Fianarantsoa, Isalo National Park, Ifaty and Tulear, Madagascar is home to almost 15,000 plant species, of which 80% of these are common to the island and not found anywhere else in the world. The spiny forests in the south are home to numerous shrubs and trees from the Didereaceae family, all severely spikey, hence the forests name. Orchid enthusiasts can have their dreams come true looking at the 860 species, of which 650 are indigenous. The island is also home to eight Boabab species (6 are common) and the 165 species of palm trees that can only be found in certain regions of the island.
Miles and miles of turquoise waters and natural pools wrap around the island. Species of palm trees line the coastline, with traditional wood carved canoes trawling the crystal-clear waters by fisherman. For those looking for an adventure, there are more activities than you’ll have time for with the Indian Ocean providing the ideal accompaniment for swimming, snorkelling, diving and kite-surfing.
Explore the sights to discover Madagascar’s distinctive history, enjoy opportunities to meet local people and be part their world in village stays. With 22 million residents of the island and a mix of African, Arab and Indian origin their warm welcoming and charming pre-disposition makes meeting and interacting with locals a highlight. Due to their various identities, the ethnic sub-groups of Madagascar follow their own set of beliefs, practices and ways of life while carrying on a few fundamental cultural features that creates a strong Malagasy identity.
Highlights to See
Antananarivo – Antananarivo is a city for walking. Some of the most interesting places and views will be chanced upon during leisurely walks – that may climb haphazardly over the hills. Tana is truly a lovely Madagascar vacation destination and spending a few days there will be a great experience!
Andasibe National Park – Topographically, the area is characterised by low hills covered by a degraded forest and dotted with a few small, attractive lakes.
Ranomafana National Park – The main tribal group in the area is the Tanala, who are known for the honey they produce, as well as for their ‘tavy’ (slash-and-burn) farming methods. Visiting the Ranomafana National Park is a great highlight of any Madagascar tour.
Fianarantsoa – The markets and the bargains that you can get in this Madagascar town on vacation are endless… Fianarantsoa is the place to go to experience Madagascar in its authentic beauty and raw lifestyle. The city has a chilly high-country feel to it and can get quite cool in the evenings. To the west of Fianarantsoa is Mt Kianjasoa (1374 m).
Isalo National Park – Park National de Isalo, also commonly known as Isalo National Park, was established in 1962 and covers 81,540 hectares of wildly eroded sandstone massif. The grassy plains are surrounded by sandstone ridges sculpted into various wild forms, and secluded in the rocks are many Sakalava Tombs.