Some people refer to Madagascar as the 8th continent because of its size and astounding ecological diversity. The island is the 4th largest in the world and is home to many must-see destinations and unique landmarks. From the atmospheric Avenue of Baobabs to the towering razor sharp spikes of the Tsingy de Bemaraha, these breath taking attractions feature characteristics found nowhere else in the world. Read below to find out what the Top 10 landmarks of Madagascar are…
- Baobab Avenue
The Avenue of Baobabs is a phenomenon of 2 towering row of Baobabs forming a natural path that is best experienced either at sunrise or sunset when the sky turns hues of orange and pink and the massive upside-down trees form striking silhouettes against the horizon. This is the photo opportunity that many people place high on their priority list on their trip to Madagascar. Standing at the base of these ancient trees, some as old as 800 years is an incredibly humbling experience for most visitors and the photos hardly do justice to the memories that are made.
- Tsingy de Bemaraha
The Tsingy de Bemaraha is an impressive greystone plateau of razor-sharp spikes referred to as Tsingy which means “to walk on tiptoes” in Malagasy. These pointy spikes were formed by years of erosion on a large massif of limestone karst. Found nowhere else in the world the Tsingy contains underground rivers, cave and even hard to reach forests full of bats and lemurs.
- Amber Mountain
The Amber Mountain Reserve in Madagascar is where you will find the misty mountain peaks of the Montagne D’Ambre a volcanic mountain that is home to sacred lakes and waterfalls as well as a lush green magical forest dotted with orchids, ferns, bats, and butterflies. Hikes in this mountain are excellent and well worth it to see the crater lakes and stunning waterfalls and their viewpoints.
- Sandbar between Nosy Be and Nosy Iranja
At the tip of Nosy Be is the smaller uninhabited island of Nosy Iranja and the narrow channel between the two seen from above, is a popular image seen across travel websites advertising the paradise beaches that Madagascar boasts. At low tide it is even possible to walk across from one island to another on a sandbar, this is not to be missed for anyone with Robinson Crusoe type fantasies.
- Piscine Naturelle at Isalo National Park
One of nature’s most beautiful natural swimming pools can be found in Isalo National Park. After hiking through hot monkey filled canyons you arrive at a cool oasis where a sparkling waterfall cascades down into a deep green and blue pool surrounded by overhanging tropical trees. Travellers can swim and refresh themselves in this beautiful picture-perfect spot.
- Royal Hill of Ambohimanga
Overlooking Madagascar’s capital city Antananarivo is the Royal Hill of Ambohimanga where you can find the King’s Palace and the Queen’s Summer House of the Merina Dynasty that used to rule Madagascar. These historical buildings are an insightful glimpse into the country’s cultural past.
- Gare de Soarano
What used to be the main train station in Antananarivo is now a beautiful historic building that has been converted into an upmarket shopping mall. There is a charming train-themed restaurant where visitors are able to enjoy drinks and meals in an old caboose. Local art dots the walls and it is a chic place to observe local Malagasy live.
- Red Tsingy
Red Tsingy is the prettier softer cousin normal Tsingy, with soft pink and red colours and formed out of clay instead of the grey rock found in the Tsingy de Bemaraha. The material and circumstances are a bit different because while stone Tsingy is formed from millennia of water erosion the Red Tsingy is a more recent phenomenon attributed to climate change and agricultural expansion.
- Spiny Forest
Imagine a bizarre landscape resembling a Dr. Seuss book, dotted with spiny octopus trees and swollen baobabs and of course furry-tailed lemurs. This is the Spiny Forest of Madagascar, although ecologists disagree on whether it is a forest or a desert and many have just settled on calling it a thicket. What is for certain is that it is another type of landmark that is unique to Madagascar and not to be missed.
- Nosy Be / Perfume
Our last landmark is not actually something you can see or take a picture of but it’s a distinctive scent found on Nosy Be also known as Ile aux Parfum (Perfume Island) because of the Ylang Ylang, Jasmine, Vanilla and Saffron that are grown there. These fragrant flowers are used for perfumes and oils the world over and on the island where they grow, they flavour the air with the most sensual smells. It’s an instantly recognizable scent that will stay with you forever.