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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

 

Why holiday in Madagascar?

The fourth largest island in the world, Madagascar encompasses 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/tomb in south Madagascar adorned with horns of plenty (actually zebu) and beautifully carved wooden totems.

 

Madagascar's main attractions

 

Antananarivo, the capital

Also known as simply Tana, this over populated, polluted and bustling city is not an attractive place at first look. But tourists should perhaps experience the cultural side before heading off to see natural wonders. Antananarivo offers a few historic buildings and museums to explore, such as Rova, the Royal Palace and Musée Andafivaratra, a colourful lakeside market at Lac Anosy, especially flower market and also a quite few gourmet restaurants - French and Creole - can be found downtown.

 

East for the Andasibe-Mantadia National Park

Three hours easy drive east from Antananarivo the Andasibe-mantadia National Park is a rainforest hosting a large number of rare and endangered species including 11 lemurs species.
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 the Berenty Reserve

Berenty Reserve is a private nature reserve, home to various lemurs including Ring-tailed Lemur, chameleons and birds beside the Mandrake river. It's in a semi-arid spiny forest in the Atsimo-Andrefana region of the far south of the country.
Also do not miss the elaborate carved and painted Mahafaly (ethnic group) tombs in the area and the extraordinary wind cut sandstone, funny friendly lemurs and wacky plants in Isalo National Park in the Ihorombe region.

 

West for Morondova

A small coastal town with airport if you don't fancy a 9 to 12 hour drive drive, Morondova is a relatively relaxing place with few beggars, several decent beaches with small beach hotels and near 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.
Morondova'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, and in our defence it was not deadly (there are no deadly creatures in Madagascar, apparently), but it was quite big and coiled peacefully in the middle of the dining table.

 

North for Montagne d'Ambre National Park

The 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. It's 500 miles north of Tana and 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.

 

 

When go to Madagascar?

The 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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