Famed for its abundant lemur population, tropical rainforests, and warm sapphire oceans, Madagascar is an island of natural treasures. Sitting off the coast of Africa, Madagascar offers an unforgettable wildlife-rich holiday experience. From scuba diving to dhow safaris, trekking through jungles, and spotting lemurs, the island is a haven for nature lovers. On the island, locals don’t use cars very often, so a lot of areas are explored by walking or using a pirogue—a traditional Malagasy boat. The country is a diamond in the rough, with some regions boasting an infrastructure geared towards tourism, while others are completely unchartered. The diverse heritage influenced by Arabs, Indians, British, French, and Chinese, is evident in the mouthwatering Malagasy cuisine.
The southern stretches of Madagascar are dominated by dry mountainous national parks, plateaus, rock limestone structures, caves, and canyons. Many people flock to this part of Madagascar to hike and explore the rugged terrain. Northern Madagascar comprises hilly regions, mangrove swamps, rainforests, white sandy beaches, and avenues of ancient baobabs. The northwest coast is a picturesque part of the island comprising deep bays, islands, and tropical island vibes.
The capital city of Madagascar is Antananarivo, where there is an international airport. Small towns scattered across the island have domestic airports that connect to the country’s main airport.
Madagascar’s major drawcard is its lemur population. Tourists flock to this pristine island to walk with lemurs and observe them in their natural habitat. Lemurs are found in most – if not all – national parks and reserves. However, Isalo National Park is the best place to see diverse species, and Berenty Reserve is ideal for getting up close and personal with habituated lemurs.
Lemurs aside, Madagascar is a renowned surfing and diving destination. The best snorkelling happens at Île Sainte-Marie and around the island of the Nosy Be Archipelago. The clear coral-filled waters around the archipelago provide the perfect place for populations of humpback whales, dolphins, clownfish, green and hawksbill turtles, and dugongs. Surfing-wise, the best waves are located in extremely remote areas in southwest Madagascar. Waterbabies often hire boats or join traditional sleep-aboard dhow safaris to take them to the best waves.
The best hiking circuits are in Isalo National Park and Tsimanampetsotsa National Park. Isalo is home to incredible rock formations and secret rock pools with waterfalls. The fascinating spiny forests of Tsimanampetsotsa National Park should not be missed.