Madagascar is one of the most unique places on the planet. The fourth-largest island in the world, Madagascar Africa is home to a dazzling variety of plants and animals, many of which are found nowhere else. Having broken away from the African and Indian landmasses hundreds of millions of years ago, many plant and animal species have developed on Madagascar that are unique to this island, including the extinct elephant birds (skeletons can still be seen), many species of lemurs, unique species of birds, and a variety of chameleons. Madagascar is also the home to six baobab tree species. A prime destination for eco-tourism, travel to Madagascar often includes exploration of its many national parks.
Madagascar is the home of the Magalasy people, who are the descendants of Indonesian and African settlers. Madagascar is a former French colony, and in its history has had influence from many different sources, including Arabs, Indians, and Jewish immigrants. The Magalasy culture is thus a fascinating mix of many different influences that coalesce into a unique national culture. Visitors who travel to Madagascar will find that each part of the island is populated by a different Magalasy people group with its own unique customs.
For tourists who want a beach resort experience on their Madagascar holidays, while still being able to glimpse some unique wildlife, the beach destination of Nosy Be may be the answer. Situated off the northeast coast of Madagascar Africa, the island of Nosy Be is a prime destination for visiting tropical beaches, diving, snorkeling, and other outdoor activities among the sugarcane plantations and rum distilleries. Many plush hotels and resorts cluster in this area, but you can still glimpse a few lemurs and other small animals among the mass tourism.
Another tropical beach destination popular for tourists who travel to Madagascar is the less-developed beach resort area on the island of Sainte Marie off the east coast. In July and August, the island is especially popular as whale-lovers gather to witness the migration of the humpback whales, which come to the area annually to mate and give birth to their young. This quiet and tranquil island is the home of several species of lemurs, nests of sea turtles, and a wide diversity of marine life and healthy coral that you can view while snorkeling or scuba diving.
Madagascar's diverse geography includes fragile rain forest, desert, and limestone karst formations. One of the most popular places to visit on trips to Madagascar is the Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park in the west of Madagascar Africa, a veritable labyrinth of limestone peaks, waterfalls, and pristine forests. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990, the park is now one of the most popular eco-tourism treks in the country. The Tsingy National Park is one of the only habitats for certain rare chameleon species, the endangered Madagascar fish eagle, and several lemur species. Treks in this park can also include cave exploration and camping.
Whether you choose to spend your days diving for pirate treasure near the coral reefs of Madagascar's tropical islands or trekking through the forest on the trail of rare animal and plant species, travel to this unique African island is sure to be the experience of a lifetime!