Magical Madagascar is located 400 kilometres off the east coast of Africa. Resplendent with rare and spectacular flora and fauna, it is surrounded by the warm waters of the Indian Ocean.
The fourth largest island in the world, it’s home to an incredible 5% of the world’s flora and fauna, approximately 80% of which, can only be found on Madagascar.
Madagascar was formed 165 million years ago when it broke away from the African continent and is one of the most bio-diverse countries on earth. The geographical isolation of Madagascar has served to preserve and cultivate the often quirky animals and plant life of this unique destination. Its people are an exotic blend of the original settlers that arrived on the island from Borneo between the 3rd century and 10th centuries, and the settlers that arrived from east Africa - resulting in the polite but reserved Malagasy people.
The capital of Antananarivo is situated in the central Highlands and has a distinctly European feel to it. The Highlands are a vast area of rolling hills and terraced valleys of rice paddies and features some charming towns that are worthy of a visit. It is also where you will find one of Madagascar’s most popular parks, the Ranomafana National Park. With a terrain characterised by numerous streams washing down to the beautiful Namorona River, it is a superb area of rainforest where you can see abundant wildlife including lemurs, chameleons and colourful birdlife.
In the north is the stunning island of Nosy Be, Madagascar’s top beach destination. Snorkel in its crystal clear waters or visit the markets in the main town of Hell Ville for the fragrant spices of cinnamon, vanilla, pepper and saffron and the intoxicating scents of ylang ylang flowers and coffee beans that give this island its reputation as the "Perfume Island".
Ideal for lovers of nature and the outdoors, Madagascar features unspoilt sandy white beaches lapped by warm, azure blue waters that are perfect for water sports. From the lowlands of the east coast, you can travel to Ile Sainte Marie for postcard perfect beaches and diving among coral canyons and around shipwrecks. The island’s protected bays once attracted pirates but are now visited by migrating humpback whales during summer.
One of the most visited locations in the region is the spectacular Avenue of the Baobabs; a fascinating looking group of trees lining a dirt road that offer a truly striking landscape. Some of the trees are 800 years old and were once part of a dense tropical forest that was gradually cleared over time for agriculture.
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