Its isolation from the African mainland, out in the Indian Ocean, has led to the evolution of some pretty weird and wonderful creatures that inhabit Madagascar’s extraordinary landscapes. From avenues of bulbous baobabs to the geological wonders of Tsingy de Bemaraha, this island is like no other. Blending afro and asian elements into its culture, the people of Madagascar live immersed in swathes of emerald rice paddies or farm traditional zebu cattle in the cool, remote highlands while corrupt politicians argue it out on the streets of Antananarivo. With some of the worst roads in Africa and overloaded mini vans, travel here is slow and squishy. Don’t be deceived by its small size – Madagascar takes time!
What to do:
– Trek to see lemurs in one of Madagascar’s national parks – from the steamy rainforest of Ranomafana to the rock outcrops of Tsingy de Bemaraha, there are almost 100 different species of lemur to be found
– Indulge in a lunch buffet at Hotel Sakamanga in the heart of Antananarivo – this french-inspired cuisine is a far cry from rice and beans.
– Do nothing at a beach bungalow on Nosy Kombe (Nosy Be’s quieter sister), easily accessed from the bizarrely named port of Hellville.
– Camp out in the wilds of Isalo National Park, combining spectacular sandstone cliffs and welcome oases.
– Attend the weekly zebu market in the highland town of Ambositra – a gathering of locals and their prized animals.