Madagascar is the fourth largest island in the world and a magnet for travelers. The natural beauty and biodiversity of the island, which has preserved virgin forests, attract millions of travelers every year.
What to do in Madagascar
The very mention of Madagascar conjures up images of a tropical paradise. The country of majestic baobabs, most of which are more than a dozen years old, the birthplace of rare plants and outlandish animals, amazes and fascinates tourists.
For beach lovers, Madagascar has prepared the picturesque shores of the west coast, where you can swim and watch whales.
Fans of outdoor activities can go along the paths into the dense jungle. History connoisseurs will get acquainted with the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the monarchical past of the island nation, the customs and traditions of the locals.
National parks and reserves
Isalo National Park
A patchwork of carved rock gorges and winding canyons, blooming oases and palm groves, the beautiful Isalo National Park was created in 1962. It is home to a record number of animal species and dozens of rare plants.
Visitors never cease to marvel at the beauty of the mountains and take picturesque photographs under the stone towers. Occasionally, crested ibises and 80 species of other birds, as well as dexterous sifaki monkeys, are seen in the park.
The reserve is located between the coastal hills of the Helodrano-Anthongila Bay, which cuts deep into the mainland on the northeastern outskirts of Madagascar. The compact island park is a must-see for wildlife lovers.
Old fig trees grow here, lemurs sway in palm groves, and the shadow of green hills falls on secluded bays. The picturesque reserve will leave pleasant impressions and colorful photos in the album.
Zahamena National Park
The famous gem of the rainforest, Zahamena National Park is covered in rain clouds and thick fog 200 days a year. Like an enchanted princess from a fairy tale, the park is hidden between the peaks of the mountains, and the cloud cap has created a unique microclimate in the reserve.
This is a hard-to-reach protected area, the area of which is just over 400 square kilometers. A huge number of butterflies and birds live here. The most famous inhabitants of the park are red owls and white-tailed eagles.
Tsingy de Bemaraha
A majestic landscape of carved rocks, needle-like stone spiers and colossal monoliths scattered on the slopes, Tsingy de Bemaraja is a curious natural treasure of Madagascar. Karst landscapes among the green belt of rugged vegetation are a curious sight.
Today it is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The natural reserve extends over 150,000 hectares. Of interest is the variety of deciduous trees and animals. Adds attractiveness and a vast plateau.
Ranomafana National Park
Natural gem and home of the famous golden bamboo lemur, found only in Madagascar. Every year, thousands of people visit the forest areas located in the eastern part of the island.
Hiking trails span foggy mountain forests and coastal plains. In places, travelers are met by the roar of waterfalls, and multi-colored nimble lizards run across the road. The territory of the national park is very picturesque, but overcoming mountain paths and forest thickets can hardly be called an easy walk.
The most accessible of Madagascar’s national parks is within walking distance of the island’s capital. The territory covers a strip of tropical forests, an area of 150 square kilometers. More than 130 species of animals, birds and reptiles live here. Crabs crawl in the forests, fluffy monkeys sway on their tails.
Tourists are offered hikes lasting from 1 to 6 hours along any of the many hiking trails.
Masoala National Park
The largest protected area in Madagascar serves to preserve a unique ecosystem from serious threats from local communities and international logging companies. On the territory of 2300 square kilometers lives a record number of «Red Book» animals, birds and plants.
Today, visitors can walk along the famous Cap Est and Alohatrozan trails to see the virgin forests that line the coast along its length. For a walk, you need to prepare comfortable shoes, a supply of food and provisions.
City landmarks and architecture
The capital of Antananarivo is located at an altitude of 1400 meters in the heart of the country. Most of the year blown by cold winds, it remains charming.
There are still some traces of French colonialism in the old part of the city. Elegant, albeit shabby, Parisian mansions descend the hillside to form a street in the center of the city. There are even ancient palaces here.
Shoppers will find interesting bustling shopping areas, where life is in full swing until late at night. And for thrills, you can go to the famous crocodile farm. Here they not only show toothy pets, but also treat them to delicious dishes.
It used to be the residence of local kings. Over time, the buildings on the hill collapsed and rebuilt, expanded and supplemented. Palace chambers and royal tombs have become the main attraction of the island.
From here King Andrian launched his famous campaigns to reunite Imerina. Today, tourists can take a day trip from the capital to view the UNESCO World Heritage Site, see the royal halls, the exquisite wood and stone architecture of the ancient settlement around the hill.
Ile Sainte Marie
Ile Sainte Marie is an elongated narrow island that stretches along the eastern edge of Madagascar. Most travelers stop between rickety marinas before heading to secluded coves and beaches to the north and south.
Fantastic beaches are waiting for tourists here, covered with soft, yellow sand, dotted with large boulders and fringed with coconut palms. Resort hotels are hidden in the mangrove thickets, the convenient location of which will allow every traveler to find a place for secluded walks.
The main local attraction is the old pirate cemetery, about which the guide will tell many interesting legends.
Seaport in Madagascar, serves as the «gateway» of the Masoala National Park. This is where the Antenambalan bend finally meets the Indian Ocean. Life is in full swing here all year round. What is only a huge market filled with ripe fruits and vegetables.
A serene seaside town with narrow streets, most people stop by simply on their way to the Bemaraha National Park, Belo-sur-Mer, or the Kirindi Forest Reserve. It is also the starting point for a grueling three-day journey along the highway that connects western Madagascar with Touliar in the south of the country.
But not far from the village there is the famous alley of baobabs. This is an amazing sight, because many of them reach incredible volumes, and their age is calculated for centuries.
A city located high in the mountains. There are no dense forests or exotic animals here, but Antsirabe, like a magnet, attracts tourists. This is a place for people who are looking for peace and tranquility.
The city is convenient for walking or cycling. Here you can see elegant Parisian-style mansions, Gothic cathedrals, walk along wide boulevards with shady alleys.
Take your time and take advantage of the healing properties of the nearby hot springs, which are still the main attraction of the city.
Beaches and resorts
Once there were fishing villages, and today the southwestern edge of the island of Madagascar is unrecognizable. The resort duo of Ifaty and Mangili are famous for their luxurious hotel resorts and beaches with glistening yellow sand. Resorts attract tourists all year round.
Most come with dreams of a beach holiday and spend their days under the gentle sun, others go snorkeling. Some take catamaran tours of the Mozambique Canal, taste fresh fish curries, and meet indigenous coastal villages. Tourists are driven not only by curiosity — you can learn a lot from the natives, for example, how to cook fresh fish.
This small resort is the best place for a family beach holiday. Shining alabaster-white bays and bays, small fishing villages growing in groups of palm trees — all this makes the landscape unusual and colorful at the same time.
Every Sunday there are beach parties along the coast of Madirokeli. Despite this, tourists on Nosy Be have every chance to be alone by going to the spacious island of Orange.