Madagascar is a large unexplored Island off the coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean with an incredible diversity of wildlife and flora endemic to Madagascar. Madagascar’s landscapes, people, beaches and undiscovered areas will delight those with a taste for discovery. A holiday to Madagascar can expose you to mountains, rain forest, dazzling beaches & coral reef surrounded by clear warm waters.

Where to Visit in Madagascar

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holiday to madagascarRainforest accommodation of Madagsacar

One visit and you will see why Madagascar is regarded as the world’s number one conservation priority.

Madagascar is like no place else on earth. It barely qualifies as part of Africa: the two are separated by hundreds of kilometres of sea and 165 million years of evolution – long enough for Madagascar’s plants and animals to evolve into some of the weirdest forms on the planet.
Nowhere else can you see over 70 varieties of lemur, including one that sounds like a police siren, the world’s biggest and smallest chameleons, and the last stomping ground of the elephant bird, the largest bird that ever lived.
Near Ifaty in Southern Madagascar you will see forests of twisted, spiny ‘octopus’ trees and in the west, marvel at the bottle-shaped baobabs, especially the Avenue du Boabab near Morondava and be on the look out for the carnivorous pitcher plant found around Ranomafana, there are over 60 varieties of them.

The people are no less interesting: arriving here some 2000 years ago along the Indian Ocean trade routes, they grow rice in terraced paddies, and speak a language that has more in common with their origins in Southeast Asia than with the African continent. Their culture is steeped in taboo and magic, imbuing caves, waterfalls, animals and even some material objects with supernatural attributes. Hill peoples live in traditional multistoried brick houses with carved balconies and, in some areas, dance with their dead ancestors in the ‘turning of the bones’ ceremony.

Throw in pirate history, coastlines littered with shipwrecks, great regional cooking, some of the world’s longest place names, and unfailingly polite and friendly people, and you’ll experience a refreshing take on the overused ‘unique’ tag.

The main highlights of Madagascar are:

Stunning primary rainforests - wander through these amazing forests
Rare creatures and plants - including Lemurs, Indri and Chameleons
Beautiful beaches - great for families, honeymoons and relaxing holidays
Diving - some wonderful diving and many undiscovered and rarely dived sites
Fishing - some of the worlds best and most challanging fishing is available around the coast
Breathtaking unique landscapes - mountains, valleys, rivers, beaches......
Photographers dream - dramatic landscape, beautiful people, rare animals

Because of the large size of Madagascar Island and the relatively poor conditon of the roads connecting parts of the Island it is nearly impossible to see everything in one visit (unless you have several months to spare), so here are some ideas of where to visit Madagsacar for various interests

For Beaches:
Nosy Be
Ile St Marie

For Diving
Nose Be
Tulear (Ifaty)

For Honeymoon
Ile St Marie - beach style
Nosy Be - beach style
Montagne d'Ambre - active walking style

For Fishing
Nose Be - Sakatia islands area
Tulear (Ifaty)

For Rainforests Lemurs and Chameleons
Montagne d'Ambre

For Landscapes / culture
Montagne d'Ambre

Ways to visit Madagascar

Fly in Package one destination:
Fly straight to your destination and explore that area.
Most relaxing way to visit the Island ideal for families and honeymoons.
Top suggestions for this type of holiday to Madagascar:
Nosy Be
Tulear (Ifaty)

Fly in Package multiple destinations:
Take several flights between locations spending a few days at each.
More expensive than staying in one place plus the extra effort of unpacking and repacking each time you move but you get to see more of a variety of the country, ideal if you want to see as much as possible in a short time.
Top suggestions for this type of holiday to Madagascar:
Nosy Be - Montagne d'Ambre - Andasibe
River trip - Morndava - Tulear

Take a Madagascar Safari
Many companies (local and international) run trips around parts of Madagascar, some are reliable some are not, catering for a selection of budgets and areas.
This is an ideal way to see a good deal of the variety Madagascar has to offer with a guide to explain everything for you and look after all the details of the trip.

Self drive tour (most vehicles come with driver - see Car hire section).
Hire a vehicle and explore some of the country, you will need to be quite adventurous for this choice.
If time is no object (and cost to a degree) then this can offer the ultimate experience of Madagascar, visit places well off the beaten track and get to locations which are inaccessable by plane, meet the people and sweat the sweat of remote Madagascar life itself, but accommodation and food away from major towns is basic to non existant so be prepared to feature in your own version of survivor (only joking but it can get rough).

Flights into / around Madagascar
All international flights arrive in the capital Antananarivo (generally shortened to 'Tana')
From Tana you can fly to most major places on the island, these flights are not cheap but if you fly with Air Madagascar into the country with these flights prebooked they are discounted by 30%. One of the cheapest ways to do this is to fly to Johannesburg in South Africa and then to book your flight from Johannesburg to Madagascar with Air Madagascar as part of your Madagascar package.

Road Travel
Self driving around Madagascar is possible but not easy, firstly the roads although improving are not in great condition combined with large distances it makes driving around much of the island time comsuming dusty and bumpy!

Car Hire
Most vehicle rental companies will not rent you a vehicle without including a driver, this is a very good idea as the local drivers are familiar with conditions, road regulations, local driving habits and times needed for journeys.
All the companies we use for vehicle rental include drivers in the rental price along with all the drivers accommodation, meals and drinks - if you do rent a vehicle in Madagascar check that the drivers meals and food is included otherwise the cost can rise very quickly.
The other thing to look out for is whether fuel is included or not, different companies have different policies also you can often get a price including and excluding fuel, (which is expensive in Madagascar).
The best way to have a 'self drive' tour of Madagascar is to take one of our pre-arranged self drive tours that have been worked out to cover as much as sensibly possible and include vehicle rental, driver (with his meals and accommodation), and all your accommodation. Have a look at our Self drive Itineraries