Madagascar is so unique you might call it the eighth continent
Adrift in the Indian Ocean after separating from Asia and Africa in the time of the dinosaurs, Madagascar has evolved quite separately. Eighty percent of the nation’s flora and fauna are found nowhere else on Earth and the culture is equally inimitable. The Malagasy people began to arrive just 2000 years ago, and have developed their own language and fascinating spiritual traditions. Those who like to journey off the beaten track will delight in Madagascar’s authenticity. Tourism levels are low and the country is large. Explore golden beaches and rich forests with a glorious sense of the untouched.
Top three things to do in Madagascar
There are many wonderful experiences to be had on this magical island. For further inspiration take a look at the trip ideas put together by our trusted local experts at the foot of this page, but in the meantime here are our top three things to do in Madagascar.
Commune with the Baobab trees
One of the most awesome natural wonders of the island is its avenue of ancient Baobab trees, not far from coastal Morondava. A collection of trees over 100 feet tall and up to 1,000 years old reach skyward in splendid isolation. Like a relic from a past world inhabited by giants, these impressive specimens are known as the Roots of the Sky and are best viewed at sundown or sunrise.
Play amongst the waves
Madagascar’s Indian Ocean coastline is abundant in pristine beaches, azure waters and swaying palms. The waters are home to a myriad of fish and underwater life, so snorkelling or diving is a must. Just off the east coast the magical Ile Saint Marie offers glorious beaches and sheltered waters. Between June and September humpback whales are frequently spotted, take a whale-watching trip and get up close.
Meet the Malagasy
Madagascar has been populated by waves of new arrivals over the centuries, some from East Africa, but many hailing from Indonesia and other parts of South East Asia. This has resulted in a unique melting pot of cultures with 18 distinct tribal groups. A great way to visit some of the more isolated settlements is on a journey along the Canal des Pangalanes. Take to the waters in a pirogue (motorised canoe), observing wildlife and stopping at tribal villages along the way.
Tailor-made holiday ideas for Madagascar
All holiday ideas on TravelLocal are curated by us - we make sure our ideas showcase the best of each country. Take a look and be inspired!