Madagascar

Madagascar Country Map

Why visit Madagascar?

Remember ‘Madagascar’ – the movie, which captured our hearts not so long ago. Who can forget King Julien – the comic lemur singing ‘I Like to move it, move it’!

Lemurs, baobab trees, rainforests, unique rock forests, deserts, hiking, diving, whale watching, dreamy beaches: Madagascar is a dream destination for wildlife and nature enthusiasts.

To quote Sir David Attenborough: “Madagascar is a curious wonderland. It’s an unrepeatable experiment, a set of animals and plants evolving in isolation for over 60 million years. We’re still trying to unravel its mysteries.”

You will realize how true this quote is when you journey through the ‘8th Continent’ of the world. The flora and fauna of Madagascar is absolutely unique due to its isolated evolution – a nature sanctuary as well as the cradle of endemic species. The Madagascan landscape is equally fascinating, with terrains ranging from tropical jungles, palm-fringed white sand beaches to the knife-edged karst Tsingys ‘stone forests’, to dry arid landscapes.

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The uniqueness of this place makes it a one-in-a-kind destination and an essential bucket list item for the discerning wildlife traveller. Why visit? Let’s make a case:

Exotic Wildlife

The long isolation of this island has created some unique species of animals. Lemurs are the most famous inhabitans (courtesy Dreamworks), but then they are not the only animals worth sighting on this island; it is home to many unique and ‘weird’ animals and plants; the eerie-looking fossa colourful and camouflaged chameleons (including the world’s smallest chameleon), oddly shaped insects (hissing cockroaches and the Giraffe Weevil), vivid frogs, colourful birds– the list goes on.

Spectacular Landscapes

Matching the incredible specie diversity, the landscapes are equally varied within a small region. Go from rainforests (east) to the deserts (south west) – Sandstone canyons, limestone karsts, mountains, rivers cutting across gorges, forests of every kind – rain, dry, spiny and of course the spectacular coastal regions – the palm fringed white sand beaches!

The most iconic photograph of Madagascar has to be the Avenue of Baobabs!

Diverse Flora

Trees and plants are just as impressive, be they the distinctively shaped baobabs, the fanning ravinala (travellers’ palm), the hundreds of orchids, the spiny forests of the desert south or the wet tropical rainforests of the east. Remember that 83% of the floral species are endemic to this island.

Pristine, Dreamy beaches

The beaches and islands in this Indian Ocean island will make the beach junkies cry! Go to the popular region northern region of Nosy Be or the less crowded island of Ille Saint Marie.

The Rock Forests

The Tsingy rock forests are one of the most spectacular (and unique) landscapes of Madagascar with its network of rifts, crevasses, and limestone blocks that are carved in sharped blades. A visit to Madagascar is not complete without visiting the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Tsingy de Bemaraha.

Antananarivo

Called “the City of thousands, referring to 1000 treasures to discover,  the capital city of Antananarivo (Tana for short) is a potpourri of eating, shopping, culture and history. (and of course, the traffic!). Explore the various restaurant options to taste true Malagasy cuisine here.

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Madagascar Experiences

september, 2019

Going wild in Madagascar Group Tour 10D/9NSunset at Baobab alley, MadagascarMadagascar

Baobabs, Rock Forests and River adventures 10D/9NTsingy de Bemaraha, Madagascar Madagascar

Tropical forests, Dreamy beaches & Coastal roads 11D/10NSainte Marie Island, MadagascarMadagascar

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Best places to visit in the Madagascar

Antananarivo: The capital city, called “the City of thousands, referring to 1000 treasures to discover, is a pot-purri of eating, shopping, culture and history.

The Avenue of Baobabs: Visit this remarkable road at sunset for your instagram photos!

Tsingy De Bemaraha: Climb the amazing rock forests –a UNESCO World heritage site.

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Nosy Be: The most popular beach destination – pristine water, golden sands with palm trees. Great for aquatic adventures.

Ile St. Marie: The less crowded exotic beach island with rain forests. Come here during June – September to watch the Humpback whales on their migration route.

Diego Suarez: Entry to the North: a charming city with a beautiful bay – the 2nd largest natural bay in the world.

Andasibe – Matandia National Park: A small action packed reserve will afford your first sightings of lemurs – especially the Indri Indri – the largest of all lemurs.

Masoala National Park: An exceptional rain forest with coastal marshes & mangroves – hosts 2% of the world’s species of plants and animals! Wow!

Isalo National Park: popular amongst hikers for its spartan sandstone landscapes (plateaus, canyons, gorges & pinnacles) and its hidden natural water oases.

Ranomafana National Park: famous for its thermal springs and lemurs including the iconic ring-tailed lemur.

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Top places to visit in Madagascar

  • Watch Lemurs in the wild: The only place in the world, where you can find wild lemurs – a primate – found across the island.
  • Discover exotic mammals, insects and chameleons: Do remember that nearly 70-80% of the flora and fauna on Madagascar are endemic meaning that they are found only in Madagascar.
  • Sunset in the Avenue of Baobabs: The most iconic image of Madagascar – the Avenue of Baobabs.
  • Whale watching in Ile St. Marie: Watch the gentle giants – the Humpback whales on their annual migration route.
  • Do nothing on pristine, dreamy, palm fringed golden beaches in Nosy Be and Ile St. Marie.
  • Marine adventures around Nosy Be: diving, snorkeling, kite-surfing, parasailing in azure waters.
  • Climb the Tsingy of Bemaraha and swing on the suspension bridge! Not for the faint hearted!
  • Boat Trip on the Tsiribihina River: Why take a boring flight to the west? Rough it out on an old tobacco transport boat and camp on the river beaches!
  • 4X4 on any unpaved road in Madagascar interiors! Or if you are more adventurous – drive along on the RN5! Cowards call it the worst road in the world and the brave-hearts call it an adventure!
  • Dhow or Canoe cruises (Catamaran or Sail boats for the less adventurous) in the north.
  • Birdwatching: “Only” 258 species – but a staggering 150 species are endemic! Good way to bump up your life list!
  • Gorge on the Malagasy Cuisine a potpourri of influences of South East Asia, Africa, India, China and Europe! An insight into the history and diversity of the people here!

Things to note

This question can be complicated in case of specific travel objectives or can be very simple as well! We also have to remember that Madagascar is a large island with different landscapes and eco-systems. So the question of time would also depend on the places you want to visit. The eastern part and the Central highlands (colder) are the ‘wet’ areas, the west is warm and dry, the north is hot and humid and the south can be semi-arid. As a rule, avoid the summer rainy season from November (or maybe later to January) to March – you will also encounter vicious cyclones especially during February.

The dry season is from April to October (winter). The ideal time for most destinations would be September and October or April to June (but be prepared for low availabilities and high prices!). For Whale Watchers – the best time would June to September during the northern migration of the Humpbacks. For good animal sightings – the time just during the first rains i.e. November would be the best. For diving and snorkelling, August – October would be a great time!

Move it, Move it and plan for Madagascar – call us!

Contact us to create a customized Madagascar itinerary for your self

Our Travellers Say

Radhika & AmitBeyonder Traveller - Africa - Kenya & Tanzania

As our fantastic guide Elijah put it, Kenya gave us a taste of the “Real Africa”. And what a taste it was. It has taken me almost a month after our trip to truly put our experience into words.
Beyonder went beyond and more- Srini, and Anand – to you a big thanks!

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We experienced safari game drives, the Masai and the Samburu reserves, the Big 5, the beautiful sunsets and vastness of the savannas in a spectacular beauty that we can only attribute to the uniqueness of Kenya.
The glorious beauty of the mountains at a distance and the sun rising and setting in the horizon with the silhouette of the giraffes is an image that has stayed with me.
The lovely hotels, and service, and the fresh vegetables and food at the resorts were all superb.

We planned a trip through Beyonder on the recommendation of a friend, and I have to say it was the best decision we made. From when we landed at Nairobi, through traveling to the different reserves and lodges, the game drives, and experiencing the country, the arrangements were flawless. The itinerary, the choice of hotels and lodges, the attention to detail and the host of little insights and advice that come from an intimate knowledge of the country and empathy for the traveler – all that combined to give us easily the best holiday experience we’ve had so far. Right at the end, when our flight back home was cancelled because of a technical flaw and we found ourselves with an extra day in Nairobi, Srini and co. went above and beyonder (!) to make sure we had a great experience, and we were able to put our unexpected extra day to good use. I would unhesitatingly recommend Beyonder to anyone looking for an away from the ordinary

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Mandar SalunkheBeyonder Traveller - Africa - Kenya & Tanzania

You handheld us right from the initial itinerary planning and air ticket bookings. Your expert advice was surely valued and this made sure that our trip started in the right way. The accommodations as well as the tour partner at Kenya were great and quite up to our expectations.

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This was probably one of the best tours we had done together as a family. Africa’s wilderness makes you realize why animals should be free rather than in a zoo. The energy and vitality shown by the free animals is seldom seen by zoo animals, and hence makes this an unforgettable experience. This is the Lion King and National Geographic documentaries all rolled in one. The only thing missing is David Attenborough explaining about the animal albeit the tour guide arranged by you did quite a good job with his Attenborough style explanations on the numerous animals that we saw.

Africa’s wilderness should be a must visit place in everyone’s tourism bucket list, and Beyonder is doing a damn good job in making it happen.

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