Madagascar Vacation, Tours, Travel Packages & Experiences
Madagascar is situated 400 kilometres/240 miles off the south east coast of Africa and is the fourth largest island in the world. Its principal attractions will appeal to nature lovers and beach fans on a Madagascar vacation.
It is the one of the most biologically diverse countries anywhere with an interior resplendent in its variety from grassy plateaus to volcanoes, rainforests and natural reserves. Its long isolation from the neighbouring continents has resulted in a unique mix of plants and animals, many found nowhere else in the world. Rich with wildlife, there are 10 different species of lemur that inhabit the island and about half the world's 150 or so species of chameleons.
What are the top cities or places to visit in Madagascar?
The capital is Antanarivo the capital, is a lively city and offers some interesting shopping in its markets when travelling to Madagascar. The city of Antsirabe was founded by Norwegians in 1856 and is the only place in Madagascar which has a European flavour.
Starting with nature, there are a number of places offering exotic scenery and animal and bird life. The Ranomafana National Park is the most visited and consists of dense rainforests. The wildlife is abundant. The Andasibe Special Reserve contains the Indri Indri, lemurs, chameleons and exotic birds plus dazzling displays of orchids. The Isalo National Park is spectacular with a backdrop of huge towering mountains many of which have eroded and being sandstone reflect immensely beautiful colours. Again one can see lemurs plus birds, lizards and snakes.
When travelling on a Madagascar vacation, situated inland, about 145 km (90 mi) from Madagascar’s east coast is Antananarivo, the country’s capital and its largest city. Unlike many other capitals found in southern Africa, Antananarivo was already considered a major city before colonialism reached Madagascar. Antananarivo is divided into three different levels that are linked by stairways. First, there is the Downtown area that features the Avenue de l’Independence, a broad shopping centre with a market at the upper end. Next is the “Plateau du Colbert” located in the middle of the cliffs, and finally, the old city in the upper town where palaces, cathedrals and many ancient noble families are found on a Madagascar vacation. It is not uncommon to see a blend of wooden houses and modern office buildings as well as structures built in a traditional French colonial style. The Rova of Antananarivo is a royal palace complex that served as the home of the sovereigns of the Kingdom of Imerina in the 17th and 18th Centuries, as well as of the rulers of the Kingdom of Madagascar in the 19th Century. The palace is also the resting place of many of Madagascar’s kings.
The city of Antsirabe was founded by Norwegians in 1856 and is the only place in Madagascar which has a European flavour. It is the third-largest city in Madagascar and is known for its relatively cool climate. The city can quite comfortably be explored on foot, by pousse-pousse (human-powered rickshaws) or by bicycle. The Notre Dame de la Salette Cathedral is worth a visit. Situated in the heart of the city, it is the first of its kind to have been built in Madagascar at the beginning of the 20th Century.
What are the top things to do in Madagascar
Avenue of the Baobabs, Menabe
This is a large group of baobab trees (giant deciduous trees) which line the road between Morondava and Belon'i Tsiribihina in the west of Madagascar. It is one of the most visited locations in the country and has been granted protected status. Along the Avenue are 200/250 trees about 30 metres/98 feet in height all native to Madagascar. These trees are not only rare but ancient – 800 years old - and create a beautiful and unique scene.
Nosy Be Beach
Madagascar’s other attraction, beaches can be found on small islands off its coast. One of the best known is Nosy Be Beach, a veritable tropical paradise with a range of mountains in the background and with deserted beaches and crystal clear water offering the ability to snorkel or scuba dive. Another is St. Marie beach which again offers white sand beach plus coral reefs. It is here you can view Humpback whales. A unique feature is a Pirates Cemetery.
St. Marie Beach
Another excellent beach is St. Marie beach which again offers white sand beach plus coral reefs. It is here you can view Humpback whales. Shaded by coconut palms, its bays and coves protected by coral reefs have turned this tropical dream island in is one of the most popular beach spots. A unique feature is a Pirates Cemetery.
What Animal Life can I see in Madagascar?
Starting with nature, there are several places offering exotic scenery and animal and birdlife. Close to Antananarivo is Lemur’s Park, a private reserve of lemurs, the animal only found naturally in Madagascar. Here you can observe 9 species of lemurs in total freedom. It is not a zoo but a botanical park. The Ranomafana National Park is a large tropical rainforest home to several rare species of flora and fauna including the golden bamboo lemur, the greater bamboo lemur, black and white ruffed lemur, and over 130 species of frogs. It is one of the most spectacular national parks in Madagascar. The Andasibe Special Reserve contains the Indri Indri, lemurs, chameleons and exotic birds plus dazzling displays of orchids. The Isalo National Park, Madagascar’s most visited national park is spectacular with a backdrop of huge towering mountains many of which have eroded and being sandstone, reflect immensely beautiful colours. Again one can see lemurs plus birds, lizards and snakes.
Diving in Madagascar
Nosy Be is where most of the top diving sites can be found. However, there are quite a few smaller islands found nearby which also have amazing dive sites for all levels of diver. These small islands include Nosy Komba, Nosy Sakatia, Nosy Tanikely, Nosy Miitsio and Nosy Iranja. All are all home to incredibly diverse marine life. The sea surrounding Madagascar is home to one of the world’s longest, continuous coral reefs. These waters are teeming with life and should not be missed.
When is the best time to visit Madagascar?
Madagascar is a large country and therefore the climate varies hugely. While Madagascar can be enjoyed year-round, the principal wet season is from late December to March often involving cyclones so it is not the best time. The best time to visit Madagascar is between April through to mid-December. July to September is the time to see humpback whales. These months offer excellent weather especially for the beach. October and November are excellent for baby lemurs although lemurs in general can be seen year-round. Generally speaking, the north is hot and humid, the east is wetter, and the south is arid. The central highlands are cold and wet between May and October.
What types of tours are available in Madagascar?
An excellent 12-day tour to really see Madagascar takes you to all the highlights. For nature lovers, there is a tour featuring the rainforests and rivers of the country or a tour of northern Madagascar with animal viewing. For beach lovers, a stay in Nosy Be is highly recommended.
If you are looking for an "off the beaten track" destination, then one of our Madagascar tours is a great choice.
"Globetrotting with Goway" blog articles
For some additional reading, the following articles are from our blog “Globetrotting with Goway”….. a great source of information for those people who are, or who want to be, world travellers!
Madagascar Travel Information
At Goway we believe that a well-informed traveller is a safer traveller. With this in mind, we have compiled an easy to navigate travel information section dedicated to Madagascar vacations.
Learn about the history and culture of Madagascar, the must-try food and drink, and what to pack in your suitcase. Read about Madagascar's nature and wildlife, weather and geography, along with 'Country Quickfacts' compiled by our travel experts. Our globetrotting tips, as well as our visa and health information will help ensure you're properly prepared for a safe and enjoyable trip. The only way you could possibly learn more is by embarking on your journey and discovering Madagascar for yourself. Start exploring… book one of our Madagascar tours today!
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After your Madagascar tour, why not consider one of Goway's Europe Tours.
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