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Madagascar Pictures
Travel Photos

 

 

Madagascar Pictures

Baobab trees at sunset in Madagascar, Africa

Baobab trees, Madagascar's iconic succulent.

Weather | Deforestation | Attractions

Madagascar Travel Guide | Madagascar Map | Africa Map

 

The fourth largest island in the world, Madagascar has an astounding selection of unique plants and wildlife species such as baobab trees, lemurs and chameleons.

Madagascar also offers the inquisitive tourist the bizarre burial sites of the Mahafaly tribe, strange rock formations, spectacular landscapes, the French-speaking capital in Antananarivo that is just about worth a couple of days and good beaches with diving and snorkelling locations. What the place doesn't have is too many travellers!

 

Mother and baby ring-tailed lemur in Madagascar

Ring-tail lemurs in Berenty Reserve.

Lemurs are arguably the country's number one attraction, with many varieties including the super-cute Ringtails, the dancing Sifaka, big wailing Indri and tiny Mouse lemurs.

 

a man with a chameleon on his nose in Madagascar

A South African herpetologist comes face-to-face with Malagasy wildlife, a common-or-garden chameleon.

The bugcrew were chatting to this South African in a bar/café in the Berenty wildlife reserve in south Madagascar. We mentioned having difficulty finding the much-hyped chameleons. He promptly reached into the bush beside us and slapped this surprised chameleon onto his face. After that we learned to really look everywhere...

 

 

a traditional Malagasy grave, Madagascar

A traditional Mahafaly grave in south Madagascar adorned with horns of plenty (actually zebu) and beautifully carved wooden totems.

 

Main attractions

 

East for the Andasibe (Mantadia) National Park, three hours easy drive east of the capital Antananarivo is rainforest hosting a large number of rare and endangered species including lemurs.
Tourists generally take hikes ranging from 1-6 hours around the park under the supervision of an informed (hopefully!) local guide.
Adjacent slash-and-burn cultivation for rice plantations, logging and replacement of rainforest with non-indigenous eucalyptus and pine trees is putting this nature reserve at risk.

 

South for Berenty Private Nature Reserve's lemurs, chameleons and birds beside the Mandrake river, in a semi-arid forest region of the far south of the country. Also elaborate carved and painted Mahafaly graves and the extraordinary wind cut sandstone, lemurs, and wacky plants of Isalo National Park.

 

West for Morondova's small coastal town - with airport if you don't fancy a 9 to 12 hour drive drive - is a relatively relaxing place with few beggars, several decent beaches with small beach hotels and proximity to a couple of brilliant nature reserves as well as the famous 'Avenue of Baobabs' 45 minutes drive away, a grand line of ancient and magnificent specimens that are particularly spectacular at sunset.
It's just 50 kms south of the Kirindy Forest Reserve that is home to some stunning baobab trees, a huge number of small primates including 8 species of lemur, 60 species of exotic birds, and plenty of peculiar flora.
The newish Kirindy Mite National Park is about the same distance in the opposite direction, south of Morondova, offering the rare tourist a look at baobab forests, many lemur and bird species, beautiful lakes, sea beaches and offshore islands.
Then there's the Tsingy de Bemaraha 200kms away, a bit of a hike but strewn with weird limestone pinnacles, 50 species of birds, varied lemurs, strange plants and more. 370mi west of Tana.

Nosy Kely near Morondova town is a good place to stay, with comfortable beachside chalets and good French food. Chez Maggie Hotel is well known, offers excellent tours in many languages and worked well for us, though there was a bit of excitement about a snake. Ours, not theirs. More of that later.

 

North for Montagne d'Ambre National Park, rain forest stuffed with the usual unusual species including the blue nose chameleon. No shortage of leeches either. Lots of hiking trails and two lovely waterfalls. 500mi north of Tana. Cooler than the coast so you don't need shorts.

Nosy Be island for expensive beach package hotels, Lokobe Nature Reserve and the usual beach activities plus Deep Sea Fishing.

Ile Ste Marie island (Nosy Boraha) for beach bungalows, coral and kayaking.

 

madagascar hill landscape

Superb, panoramic landscapes, though deforestation is an ever-present issue that is not being addressed.

 

 

Deforestation

Many rural villages have neither electricity nor running water, roads are dirt poor and schools are fundamentally useless. The burning of forests to plant rice and manioc happens through ignorance and desperation and has been happening for many years, enough time to strip the island of thousands of hectares of unique plants and animals.

A recent president, Marc Ravalomanana, established a conservation plan to triple protected areas and give alternatives to slash-and-burn culture. Sadly he was ousted in a coup in 2009 and since then commitment to the island's precious and fragile bio diversity seems to have disappeared down the river, along with the rosewood logs. More.

 

 

Best weather May-October (winter, dry season)

Worst: December-March (rains and storms)
This is a massive island with different climatic zones, ranging from an extremely dry southwest zone to often wet east zone so a lot depends on your target activities and areas.

 

Photos of Madagascar Landscapes >>>

 

Photos: Baobabs | Lemurs | Landscapes | Antananarivo | Mahafaly Tombs | Chameleons

 

Madagascar Travel Guide | Madagascar Map | Africa Map

 

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