Madagascar, the beautiful island country off of east Africa has been thrown into the spotlight with the hit animated movie of the same name. Home to lemurs which are native to Madagascar. They cannot be found in the wild anywhere else on earth. They live in the wonderful national parks that cover this country. There are 19 main national parks along with 6 nature reserves, 2 marine reserves as well as other specialized reserves. Madagascar is for the outdoor adventure enthusiasts and those who love trekking through the jungle to see wildlife. The weather in Madagascar is hot and humid year-round with average temperatures of 25°C/77°F along the coastline and 18°C/65°F in the central mountain region. Madagascar is usually thought of as a small island off of Africa, when in reality, it is the 4th-largest island on Earth. Let’s explore what makes this beautiful island country of Madagascar so unique.
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The two most common languages spoken in Madagascar are Malagasy and French. So it is a good idea to have a pocket translation book with you. In most of the touristy areas, English is spoken although limited. The best way to get around Madagascar is by hiring a 4 wheel drive otherwise an organized tour would be your best bet as public transport is limited. This beautiful island nation will certainly get you to ‘move it, move it’. Let’s delve into all that is unique in Madagascar, all found right here on Tripio.
Madagascar is famous for its vanilla. In fact, this island nation produces a whopping 80% of the world’s vanilla. The combination of the hot and humid climate along with rich soil is perfect for growing this tasty spice. We put vanilla in so many things, coffee, cakes, fragrances, oils and so much more. Madagascar Spices offers tours of the vanilla plantation but you must book ahead of time. The vanilla is so fragrant that you are sure to come home with a box or two. To complete the tour, it takes around 3 hours. You will get to see how the vanilla grows, is harvested, packaged and how it reaches the masses of the world.
Let Lionel and Linda warmly welcome you to Linda Plantation de Vanille where you will be shown the traditional way that vanilla is grown and harvested. The authentic, old-fashioned way without any addition of chemicals. Visiting the plantation is free and the best way to support this wonderful small business plantation is by purchasing some of their high quality vanilla. It makes for a great souvenir for yourself and family.
Take a scenic stroll down Baobab Avenue. A stretch of dirt road that is lined with ancient baobab trees creating a sight so incredible that it has become Madagascar’s first official natural monument. Baobab Avenue features 25 baobab trees that tower nearly 100 feet tall. Each of them more than 800 years old. This is a must-visit for anyone traveling to Madagascar, what a sight and it makes for an iconic photo. There is a restaurant and parking nearby.
Andasibe-Mantadia National Park is a gorgeous protected green space that spans 60 square miles. It is home to countless lemurs of all different species, an array of birds and reptiles along with stunning waterfalls and plants. There is a small entrance fee charged along with guides available to take you on treks from 1 hour all the way up to 6 hours depending on what you wanted to see on your walk. Embark on this 2.3-mile circular trail that takes you up 285 feet in elevation gain to see Lemurs and waterfalls. What a great way to appreciate the splendid nature of the region.
Ambalabongo Canyon is located in Ankarafantsika Nature Reserve or അങ്കാറാഫാൻറ്സിക്ക ദേശീയോദ്യാനം as it is locally known. There are two paths to explore- one leads you to the canyon and the other leads you to crocodile lake which you can only explore via a boat trip. Along the canyon walk, you will discover 3 huge, ancient Baobab trees. The trail leading to the canyon takes you through a dry forest then on a dusty Savannah trail. The trail is 5.6 miles long and takes about 4 hours round trip . There are amenities on-site like restrooms, picnic areas and even accommodation. To enter the nature reserve you will have to pay an entry fee. The park is full of friendly lemurs who will steal your food if you aren’t careful. What an amazing place to explore out in nature.
Berenty Lemur Protection Reserve is a large nature reserve spanning 1,000 hectares. It was established in 1936 and has been open to the public since 1981, making it one of the oldest private reserves in Madagascar. This lovely park is home to hundreds of Lemurs from 4 different species. Day and night tours are held but be sure to call ahead. Accommodation and meals are also available. Looking for Lemurs is a must for anyone vacationing in Madagascar.
The lemurs of Madagascar, made famous by the animated movie of the same name. Lemur park is rated as the number one attraction in Antananarivo. This park of course features many different species of lemur along with guided tours, a botanical garden and more. There is a gift shop and restaurant on-site for your convenience so you can make it a whole day outing. No trip to Madagascar is complete without seeing the cute lemurs that put their country on the map.
Lemuria Land is a park that features Madagascar’s iconic animals like lemurs, chameleons, crocodiles, tortoises and more. There is even an essential oil distillery here so you can pick up some sweet smelling vanilla oil. A tour guide will lead you around this very cool park. There is a gift shop and restaurant on-site.
Fun & Boat – Nosy Be – Madagascar offers several different excursions where you get to go on a traditional Lakana boat. A Lakana is a little narrow wooden boat used by the Malagasy people of Madagascar for centuries. What a wonderful cultural way to explore these picturesque islands. Choose the excursion that suits you. There is swimming with whale sharks, quad biking, beach hopping, horseback riding and more on offer.
Nosy Iranja is a small island off the coast of Northern Madagascar. It features pristine white sandy beaches and crystal clear water. This is one of the most beautiful islands in the world. A remote paradise. This island houses a lighthouse, restaurant, hotel and is a popular nesting spot for sea turtles. As it is an island, the only way to get here is by boat from the mainland which is only about 3 miles away. There are local boat operators all along the coast that would be willing to take you across. What a pristine piece of paradise.
Both green turtles and hawksbill turtles come ashore this beautiful island to nest and lay their eggs. The female turtles can come ashore in large numbers. The peak nesting period for green turtles is between May and August while for hawksbill turtles, it is between December and March.
So that means that the babies will hatch 2 months later so between July and October for green turtles and between February and May for hawksbill turtles. Please do not approach the turtles and respect nature. Be very careful where you walk so that you don’t step on the eggs. The turtles will only hatch and make their first journey to the sea after dark, usually around a similar time to when they were laid, between 11pm and dawn.
Reserva natural de Tsingy de Bemaraha is a national park with unusual, spiky limestone rock formations. This is a tough place to hike in but the views are very worth it. You will embark on a 2.0-mile loop trail that takes around an hour to complete with 236 feet in elevation gain. Sounds easy right? You will be traversing spiky limestone rocks, crossing plenty of both wire and wooden bridges and holding onto man-made bars. This is a tough hike and should only be attempted by an experienced climber. Guides are required and you will be given a harness to use. This is essentially a partial Via Ferrata course. What a stunning and unique location unlike anywhere else on earth! That is why this national park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990.
Despite the National Parks and the Perinet Reserve being closed in the evenings it is still possible to see some of the nocturnal species by means of a night walk, accompanied by a local guide. Catch glimpses of twinkling eyes and admire animals at night. The walk is easy, and a really nice way to spend an evening.
I hope you have enjoyed my blog on the uniquely wonderful island of Madagascar. Download the Tripio app now and start creating your very own custom itinerary for your dream vacation. Travel has never been so easy. Get Tripio to generate a custom top 10 just for you. Your dream vacation awaits and it’s as easy as downloading the Tripio app. Our travel experts have spent countless hours researching destinations so you don’t have to. What are you waiting for? I will see you in our next destination, till then keep traveling!
Interested in more of what Africa has to offer, take a look at: Rock The Kasbahs Of Morocco
-Gemma Winchester, Tripio Guru