• Madagascar Safari Malagasy Laundry Lady
  • Madagascar Rice Paddies
  • Madagascar Safari Red Ruffed Lemur
  • Madagascar Tree Frog

Madagascar Safaris

Madagascar

Madagascar is undoubtedly an exotic destination!  This biodiversity hotspot that split from the Indian subcontinent around 88 million years ago, is the world’s second largest island country and this isolation has allowed native plants and animals to evolve in relative confinement.  Situated in the middle of the warm Indian Ocean, this must-see location is about 400 kilometers off the coast of East Africa but easy to reach from South Africa, Kenya and Europe – making this an excellent add-on to a traditional safari!

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Madagascar Wildlife

Though the name Madagascar conjures up images of tropical rain forests with exotic flying creatures and colourful chameleons, the country is also home to some spectacular and very dry desert scenery.  The island’s diversity is mind-blowing, and one can have a complete change of landscape no matter which direction from Tana you take.  The capital city, Antananarivo, is locally named “Tana” and conveniently situated in the middle of the country.

Travel east from Tana and you’re in a popular area called Andasibe where most tourists head to see lemurs in the forests or on to the controversial Vakona island where habituated lemurs jump onto your shoulder, begging for a bite of fruit.  Fly south and slightly west, to access the weird and wonderful Spiny Forest where the several species of lemurs choose to live amongst the cactus-like Octopus trees.

The Eastern side of Madagascar spoils with beautiful tropical beaches and too many species of palm trees to possibly count.   Rain forests filled with lemurs, chameleons, spiders, foot-long worms, bright red snakes and exotic reptile species are only some of the few exciting things you’ll discover on a day or night walk with your guide.  One of the best things of Madagascar is that none of their snakes or spiders are poisonous, making this an ideal destination for all, including families with children.

West of Tana you’ll find the famous Baobab Alley in Morondova and to the North up the West coast you can see the strange formations of the Tsingy (needle-like limestone cliffs) that oddly also house many species of lemur, birds, reptiles and amphibians.  Nosy Be is a tiny island off the tip of the north-west coast that has possibly the best accommodations in the entire country as it’s a world hot spot for snorkeling, scuba diving, whales and whale sharks as it’s on the protected Mozambique channel. This island is immaculate, and one can be forgiven for thinking you have reached heaven.  Nosy Be has lemurs but is also close enough to the famous Madagascan vanilla and cacao fields to make an easy day trip!

Accommodation

Though Madagascar is relatively undeveloped in terms of tourism, there are good hotel accommodations available throughout the country with a smaller selection of higher end boutique properties.  Beautiful fully inclusive safari-style camps with excellent service and amenities are scarcer, but we’ve handpicked a select few that meet our standards in terms of overall experience and excellent guiding.

The Lost World of Anjajavy le Lodge

Ready for a life changing African Safari experience? Let us design your soul-enriching safari to Madagascar for you!

Information & Videos

Click the tabs below to learn more about Madagascar or watch one of the videos showcasing the unique experience Madagascar has to offer…

Interesting Facts on Madagascar

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  • The world’s second largest island country
  • 90% of all plant and wildlife species are found nowhere else on earth!
  • Over 200 species of palm trees of which most are endemic
  • Over 100 lemur species, most of which are rare, vulnerable or critically endangered
  • Two-thirds of the world’s chameleon species call Madagascar home
  • The official languages are Malagasy and French though English is widely spoken
  • Rice is the staple food of the Malagasy people
  • Though the predominant religion is Christianity, most people believe in animism
  • Home to the world’s tiniest chameleon, Brookesia Micra – at only 29mm
Plowing the Rice Fields
Cactus Leaves for my Zebu

Culture

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Although Madagascar lies close to mainland Africa, its original settlers are actually from Borneo and they settled in the highlands growing the rice they’d brought with them. East Africans and Arab traders later joined and settled along the coastal areas, bringing their cultures with them. Traditional values and ancient beliefs are important to the Malagasy people so shamans, witch doctors and magic is still commonly practiced in many villages. Tombs are evident along the roadsides with richly decorated paintings or zebu (cow) horns, depicting the life of the deceased.

Language & Cuisine

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Malagasy and French are the most spoken languages in Madagascar but all guides and most staff in the tourism industry speak English well.  We only came across a few places where English was limited but thankfully, we always had a guide to translate.  The food in Madagascar is truly sensational, extremely affordable and of top quality due to the strong French influence after 64yrs of French-colonial rule.

Tolagnaro Market Day
Plowing the Rice Fields

Weather in Madagascar

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The highly diverse subtropical climate of Madagascar means you need to travel well prepared.  The rainy season runs from late December to March and tropical storms batter the northern and eastern rainforests in the country, making this the least desirable time to travel.  Dry season starts in April through October with the southern and western parts of the country being the driest.  Peak travel times for wildlife is from June to early December with July and August being the busiest.

Travel Tips

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With limited and poor road infrastructure, vehicle transfers can be extremely frustrating!  We prefer to offer private charter flights where possible as the horrific road conditions in places can lead to a total sense-of-humour loss, besides an incredible waste of your precious time!  Spending the extra dollars on fast and reliable flights mean you can maximize your time on the ground in awe of the natural beauty.

Travel light as luggage restrictions are in place for all small charters and as a bonus most camps offer complimentary laundry service or prices are very reasonable.

Madagascar Zebus
Leap of Faith

Photography

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Madagascar is a highlight for any photographer and if you’ve been on a traditional safari in destinations such as Tanzania, Botswana or Zambia, then adding Madagascar to your bucket list is a must!  Highlights include photographing the ring-tailed lemurs in the Sacred Gallery forest on the western side of the island, close-ups of Sifaka’s and the teeny tiny Brookesia Micra chameleon at only 29mm (1.1in)!!  A tripod is highly recommended as well as a flash and macro lens amongst others but please do contact us for our list of recommendations and expectations.

Photo Gallery

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