Madagascar. Travel And Things To Do.

Madagascar, formerly the Malagasy Republic, is a country in the Indian Ocean off the eastern coast of Africa. It is the fourth largest island in the world.

Regions

  • Antananarivo Province (Antananarivo, Antsirabe) The capital is the arrival point for many visitors, and the hub of both the domestic airline and land transport routes. Outside of the capital are small towns known for their craft workshops, as well as small reserves that are home to lemurs.
  • Antsiranana Province (Antsiranana, Masoala National Park, Nosy Be) Home to the beautiful tropical island of Nosy Be, and its surrounding sub-islands, this region is where most travellers go for upscale resorts and pristine beaches, and is one of the most popular destinations in the entire country.
  • Fianarantsoa Province (Fianarantsoa, Ambositra, Ambalavao, Andringitra National Park, Ranomafana National Park) The area south of the capital is home to rain forests and mountains, and relatively accessible via RN7.
  • Mahajanga Province (Mahajanga, Tsingy de Bemaraha Reserve) Mahajanga is home to impressive wetlands and some hidden resorts that can be reached only by private plane or boat.
  • Toamasina Province (Toamasina, Vatomandry, Ile aux Nattes, Andasibe-Mantadia National Park) This province is home to Andasibe-Mantadia National Park, where the Indri lemurs sing, and to some less-visited destinations along the eastern coast.
  • Toliara Province (Toliara, Anakao, Isalo National Park) The southern portion of the country is the land of the spiny forest, with hot and dry conditions leading to an environment of harsh vegetation that is nevertheless home to a vast array of lemurs, lizards, birds and insects.

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See
Tsingy de Bemaraha is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is Madagascar’s largest reserve (152,000 hectares). The fascinating raised limestone plateau is decorated with a frail, chaotic razor-sharp collection of pinnacles, the “Tsingy”, also called the Labyrinth of Stone. Areas of deciduous forest also provide the chance to see brown lemurs, a variety of bird life and the rare all white Decken’s sifaka. The great variety of flora includes: aloes, orchids, numerous pachypodium and baobabs. The deciduous forest is home to over 50 species of birds; 7 species of lemurs (including the all-white Deckens sifaka) and the rare stump-tailed chameleon (Brookesia perarmata). The site of Bemaraha is managed under special UNESCO and access is restricted and the areas you are allowed to visit vary from time to time. Located approximately 180 km north of Morondava.

Avenue of the Baobabs is an extraordinary stand of huge baobab trees, 45 minutes north of Morondava on Madagascar’s west coast. It is one of the most visited sites in the Menabe Region. A candidate as one of the 7 Wonders of Africa; efforts are underway to protect this unique grove of more than a dozen trees. Some of the trees, Adansonia grandidieri, are over 800 years old and reach a height of more than 30 metres. A photographer’s paradise, and especially beautiful at sunset.

Do
Most people visiting Madagascar do so for the wildlife, and there are a number of national parks and private reserves scattered throughout the country. Some are easier to reach than others – the dual Andasibe-Mantadia National Park area is a few hours from the capital via a paved road, while other parks require days of driving and trekking to explore.

Scuba diving and snorkeling is exceptional in Nosy Be, and is also possible in other areas like Toliara. Be aware that the nearest hyperbaric chamber lies across the Mozambique Channel, and that outside of Nosy Be scuba equipment may not be up to expected standards, so exercise caution and be careful to minimize risks when diving. The condition of corals varies from pristine at Nosy Tanikely to completely destroyed elsewhere, and depending on time of year the visibility may exceed 30 metres, or may be reduced to zero by the outflow from rivers, which, due erosion caused by deforestation, can turn the ocean brown. In the far north near Diego kitesurfing and windsurfing are exceptional between April and November when a constant 30 knot-wind makes the area one of the best surfing spots in the southern hemisphere. Kayaking and deep sea fishing are always rewarding water activities.

The UNESCO World Heritage site Rainforests of the Atsinanana is made up of six national parks along the eastern coast of Madagascar; Marojejy National Park, Masoala National Park, Zahamena National Park, Ranomafana National Park, Andringitra National Park and Andohahela National Park.

Madagascar information from wikivoyage.

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