Even in this day and age the exotic island of Madagascar still remains largely undiscovered and unvisited, with tourists almost being put off by the sheer uniqueness of this unusual destination that they know so little about. To counter this, we have outlined some of the top things to experience in Madagascar, the best times to do them and where to stay to make the most of your stay there.
GET UP CLOSE WITH THE LEMURS
From the tiny mouse lemurs to the morning calls of the teddy bear-esque Indri, Madagascar offers something truly unique for the wildlife lover. For those wishing to see the renowned dancing lemurs (sifakas) then the southern reserve of Berenty is world renowned as well as the Relais and Chateaux private reserve of Anjajavy. Nothing however can beat the lazy ring-tailed lemurs which can be caught spread out sunbathing as the early morning sun comes over the horizon. If lemurs aren’t sweet enough for you as they are, then make sure you visit during the months of October and November when it is baby lemur season, ideal for those photographers amongst you!
• Best place to see lemurs in Madagascar: Andasibe, Berenty, Anjajavy, Isalo, Ankarafantsika
• Best time to see lemurs in Madagascar: June to December
AVENUES LINED WITH BAOBABS
Despite the fact that baobab trees are dotted all over the island, the ideal location to view them is along the Avenue of Baobabs located in Kirindy. This breath taking dusty road is lined with huge baobabs, towering like giants on either side watching all that passes beneath them. The best time to visit the avenue is just before sunrise or at sunset so you can take advantage of this spectacular setting in the best light. Aside from being a tourist attraction, baobabs have also been used locally for hundreds of years as sources of medicinal remedies and often useful water resources as rain is trapped in their huge trunks forming pools for wildlife and even humans to drink from.
• Best place to see the baobabs in Madagascar: Avenue de Baobabs, Kirindy
• Best time to see the baobabs in Madagascar: sunrise and sunset
SOAK IN THE SUN ON MADAGASCAR’S BEAUTIFUL BEACHES
From private islands to luxury retreats, here are a few of the options available to you if you want to wind down at the end of your stay to the sound of a lapping shoreline in the warmth of the soft tropical sun.
• Best beaches in Madagascar: Ile Sainte Marie, Anjajavy, Ifaty, Nosy Be
• Top beach lodges: Tsarabanjina, Princesse Bora, Anjajavy Le Lodge
The east coast of Madagascar is a hot spot for world class sightings of humpback whales as they migrate through the eastern oceanic corridor. The best times to see them is between the months of July and September as they populate the area specifically around Ile Sainte Marie. Our favourite lodge on this offshore island is the tranquil Princesse Bora Lodge, a boutique property with beach bungalows, great cuisine and private beaches.
• Best place to see whales in Madagascar: Ile Sainte Marie
• Best time to see whales in Madagascar: July to September
EXPLORING ON A KAYAK
Spend 7 days on a kayaking adventure watching an abundance of wildlife, see untouched rainforest flora, drift over gin-clear waters and relax on white beaches to wash your stress away while putting you back in touch with nature.
• Best place to kayak in Madagascar: South East of Madagascar, Manafiafy Beach and Rainforest Lodge
• Best time to go: May to December
EXPLORE UNIQUE LANDSCAPES
From the slightly chillier high plateau (the location of the capital of Antananarivo) to the hot southern deserts of the south, Madagascar offers it all. From the rainforests of the east and dramatic rock formations of Isalo, to the Tsingy of the north and baobab lined avenues of the west, Madagascar surprises you at every turn, making for a truly unique holiday of a lifetime.
• Best places for unique landscapes: Isalo, Ankarana, Andasibe
• Best time to go: May to December