Madagascar is a colorful and interesting country. It is attractive for travelers who prefer a variety of cultural and ecotourism. The nature here is really unique. The variety of flora and fauna is seen in the many national parks of Madagascar. The famous lemurs are in this country and nowhere else, so the tourist will have a unique opportunity to look at these unusual little critters. As for beach holidays, the special resort areas with “luxury” conditions here there is almost no. Only wild, untouched by infrastructure beaches. In some towns in Madagascar, you can have a lot of fun, because people in this country are very nice and helpful. They are happy to share their traditions and customs.
So where to go first to understand for yourself what it is, the famous Madagascar?
The city of Antananarivo.
First of all, every traveler should visit the capital of the country. That’s where the plane will land and it is from this city, it is better to develop a further itinerary. Locals simply call their capital “Tana”. This greatly simplifies the long name. Until the 60s, many French lived here, after which a significant trace is left. This refers to the architecture and the names of many shops. In this city, the tourist can enjoy the famous French croissants or stay in a good themed hotel.
Cinji du Bemaraha Reserve, Madagascar
This is an amazing place where you can forget that you are on the planet Earth. The entire reserve is filled with unusually shaped rocks. Getting to this place is quite difficult. The fact that the road is quite bad and unaccustomed tourist will be difficult to overcome it. But it is worth it. After all, here you can get acquainted with the main symbol of the country – lemurs. And the area itself will cause the tourist an incredible experience.
Royal hill Ambohimanga.Madagascar
Several centuries ago, Madagascar was home to Malagasy culture. That is why you can see on the island a few monuments that are left behind. This is exactly the place. It is historically important and very valuable to the local population. This hill was used for various rituals that have been held for a long time by the Malagasy. For their followers, this hill is very important. It is here that they seek self-consciousness. Also, around this hill used to be the residence of the king. So you can enjoy the interesting architecture.
This majestic palace can be seen in Antananarivo. It was built for the residence of the Prime Minister in the 19th century. A beautiful and quite large building made of red and milk bricks catches the eyes of tourists at once. It consists of several entrances. Now its walls are a museum, which displays very important historical artifacts. For lovers of historical and cultural monuments this is a great place.
Another very beautiful building is located in the capital of the country. Due to the fact that the palace is located on a mountain, it has a very majestic view. It rises to a thousand and a half kilometers above sea level. Initially, this building was built of pure wood. Only years later, it was encased in stone. This structure was built for the queen, who ruled on one of the islands of Madagascar. But the fire that occurred in 95 damaged the original appearance of the palace. However, the facade has remained completely intact and the tourist can admire this architectural landmark and the views that open from the top of the mountain on which the palace stands.
Izalo National Park.
Another ideal place for ecotourism lovers. This reserve resembles a real African savannah. It operates since 1962. The tourist will not find here a rich flora and fauna. The fact is that the weather conditions are not conducive to this. But it is the landscape is a chip of this place, which is under protection. And all this is because for this island, it is unusual and very valuable. There are several riverbeds, along which there are scenic hiking trails.
Tropical forests of Atsinanana, Madagascar
These forests are interesting because it contains prehistoric plants. You can get to it by going to the east of the country. It is a very interesting place with wild primordial nature, where you can enjoy stunning views of unusual and very old forests. The plants that grow in them are endemic. These forests are even on a special list of natural attractions, which may disappear. Also here you can see very rare animals, which are not found anywhere else.
Park Montagne D Ambre.
This national park is a very popular natural attraction. You can get to him if you head to the north of the country. Here is a very humid and rainy climate. This is surprising, because all the surrounding areas are quite arid. Lush natural colors of these places are just fascinating. Due to the rains, a lot of water is collected here. It is used by all the nearby settlements. Some natural spring, which is home to many interesting animals. Among them is the bruckezia. This is a small chameleon that does not grow more than 2 cm. in length.
Madagascar has its own volcano. It has long been silent, but its age is very difficult to determine. Scientific studies suggest that it appeared back in the days when the whole earth created its original appearance. There are no eruptions here, only slight earthquake tremors and clouds of steam that this natural object sometimes releases. Since the volcano is not dangerous, tourists are free to enter its territory. Some even go down into its crater.
Lake Tritriva, Madagascar
In the heart of this wonderful country is nestled another interesting natural site. The lake is of volcanic origin, so its territory has many hot springs. It is located in the crater of a volcano and goes deep at about 150 meters. The interesting thing is that during the rains the lake greatly replenishes water. It is assumed that under it there are natural springs, but so far the bottom has not been able to explore. The nature around the lake is worth separate praise.
Another attraction of Madagascar are the baobabs. These tall trees, which can be found on both sides of the well-trodden tourist route, are simply astonishing in their grandeur. Many of them are quite old. There are some that have been around for centuries. Straight and smooth trunks and green tops can reach thirty meters. The entire alley along which these unusual trees grow is protected. Locals are very proud of their natural landmark, and for tourists it is quite a popular place.
For tourists who have come to Madagascar in search of good beaches, this island is the perfect place. Here you can not only bask on a good beach, but also find many interesting places in the vicinity of the island itself. You can find lemurs in this place. There are also whole plantations where they grow coffee and such a plant as ylang-ylang. If you go deep into the island, you can come across a stunning silver waterfall. There are also locals who have settled in the village of the natives. And the nature of the island itself is simply fascinating.
Island of St. Mary, Madagascar.
Another fabulous island, which must visit every tourist. This place got its name from the French, who lived in Madagascar. The local name is rather complicated, so tourists know it as the island of St. Mary. Here is a good beach resort. Few tourists know about its existence, so there are never crowds of people, which is good for a quiet holiday. There is even a legend that is associated with this island. It is said that pirate treasure is buried there.
Lemurs of Madagascar.
And of course every tourist who arrived in Madagascar, just can not leave this island without seeing its symbol, its main attraction. This ancestor of the monkeys – small and wonderful lemurs. Most of them it is in Madagascar. There are several species of them. It was after the cartoon “Madagascar” these little animals with surprised eyes and long tails became very popular. Now thousands of tourists go to this amazing island every year to see lemurs.
15 Best Sights in Madagascar
Madagascar is the fourth largest island in the world and a magnet for travelers. The natural beauty and biodiversity of the island, which preserves pristine forests, attracts millions of travelers every year.
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What to do in Madagascar
The very mention of Madagascar conjures up images of a tropical paradise. A land of majestic baobabs, most of which are decades old, home to rare plants and strange animals, it amazes and fascinates tourists.
For beach lovers Madagascar has prepared picturesque shores of the west coast, where you can swim and watch the whales.
Lovers of outdoor activities can hike along the trails in the impenetrable jungle. History buffs can learn about UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the island’s monarchic past, and local customs and traditions.
National Parks and Reserves
Isalo National Park
A patchwork quilt of carved rock gorges and winding canyons, blooming oases and palm groves is the beautiful Isalo National Park, established in 1962. It is home to a record number of animal species and dozens of rare plants.
Visitors never tire of marveling at the beauty of the mountains and taking picturesque photos under the towers built of stone. Occasional sightings of tufted ibises and 80 species of other birds, as well as nimble siphaki monkeys, are also seen in the park.
The reserve is located between the coastal hills of Helodrano-Antonguila Bay, which juts inland on the northeastern edge 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 coves. The picturesque reserve will leave pleasant impressions and colorful photos in the album.
Zahamena National Park
The famous jewel of the rainforest, Zahamena National Park is covered by rain clouds and thick fog 200 days a year. Like an enchanted princess from a fairy tale, the park is tucked between mountain peaks, and the cloud cap has created a unique microclimate in the reserve.
It is a hard-to-reach protected area of 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.
Cingy de Bemaraha.
A majestic landscape of carved cliffs, needle-like stone spires and colossal monoliths scattered on the slopes, Cingy de Bemaraha is a curious natural treasure trove of Madagascar. The karst landscape among the green belt of lush vegetation is a curious spectacle.
Today it is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The natural reserve extends to 150 thousand hectares. Of interest is the diversity of deciduous trees and animals. Adding to the attraction is the vast plateau.
Ranomafana National Park
A natural gem and home to the famous golden bamboo lemur, which is found only in Madagascar. Every year, thousands of people visit the forested areas on the eastern part of the island.
Hiking trails cover misty mountain forests and coastal plains. In some places, hikers are greeted by the roar of waterfalls, and colorful, nimble lizards run across the road. The national park is very scenic, but it’s hard to call traversing the mountain trails and forest thickets an easy walk.
The most accessible of the national parks of Madagascar is within walking distance from the island’s capital. The area covers a strip of tropical forest with an area of 150 square kilometers. There are more than 130 species of animals, birds and reptiles. Crabs crawl in the forests and fluffy monkeys swing on their tails.
Hikers are offered hikes lasting from 1 to 6 hours on any of the many hiking trails.
Masoala National Park.
The largest protected area in Madagascar serves to preserve the unique ecosystem from serious threats from local communities and international logging companies. The 2,300-square-kilometer area is home to a record number of “red-listed” animals, birds and plants.
Today, visitors can walk the famous Cap Est and Alohatrozan trails to see the pristine forests that adorn the coastline along its entire length. You should prepare comfortable shoes and a supply of food and provisions for the walk.
City sights and architecture
The capital city of Antananarivo is located at an altitude of 1,400 meters in the heart of the country. Blown by cold winds most of the year, it remains charming.
In the old part of the city there are still some traces of French colonialism. Elegant, albeit centuries-old, Parisian mansions descend down the hillside, forming a street in the center of the city. There are even ancient palaces here.
Shopping lovers will find the bustling shopping plazas interesting, where life boils until late at night. And for a thrill, you can go to the famous crocodile farm. Not only do they show their toothy pets, but they also serve gourmet food.
This used to be the residence of local kings. Over time, the structures on the hill were torn down and rebuilt, expanded and added to. The palace chambers and royal tombs became the island’s main attraction.
From here King Andrian began his famous campaigns to reunify Imerina. Today, tourists can take a day trip from the capital to see the UNESCO World Heritage Site, examine the royal halls and the exquisite wooden 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 the rickety piers before heading to the secluded coves and beaches to the north and south.
Fantastic beaches, lined with soft, yellow sand, dotted with large boulders and fringed with coconut palms, await tourists here. The mangroves hide resort hotels, the good location of which allows every traveler to find a place for secluded walks.
The main local attraction – the old pirate cemetery, about which the guide will tell a lot of interesting legends.
A seaport in Madagascar, serves as the “gateway” to Masoala National Park. This is the place where the bend of the Antenambalan channel finally meets the Indian Ocean. The place is bustling with life all year round. There’s a huge market filled with ripe fruits and vegetables.
A serene seaside town with narrow streets, most people stop in just on their way to 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 to Toliar in the south.
And then there is the famous baobab avenue near the settlement. It is a striking sight, because many of them reach an incredible size, and their age is counted in centuries.
A city located high in the mountains. There are no dense forests or exotic animals here, but Antsirabe is like a magnet, attracting tourists. It is a place for people who seek peace and quiet.
The city is convenient for walking or biking. Here you can see the elegant mansions in the Parisian style, Gothic cathedrals, stroll 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 home to fishing villages, today the southwestern edge of the island of Madagascar is unrecognizable. The resort duo of Ifati and Mangili are famous for luxury hotel resorts and beaches with brilliant yellow sand. The resorts attract tourists all year round.
Most come dreaming of a beach vacation and spend their days under the gentle sun, while others go snorkeling. Some go on catamaran tours along the Mozambique Channel, try fresh fish curries, and meet indigenous people from coastal villages. It’s not just curiosity that drives the tourists – there’s a lot to learn from the natives, such as how to cook fresh fish.
This small resort is the best place for a family beach vacation. Glistening alabaster-white bays and coves, small fishing villages, and palm trees growing in clusters all make the landscape unusual and colorful at the same time.
Every Sunday, beach parties are held along the Madirokeli coast. Despite this, tourists on Nusi-Be have every chance to be alone by going to the sprawling island of Oranja.