Madagascar was everything we hoped for and a few of the things we didn’t. We found the forests, especially the rainforests, and the wildlife totally stunning. But some of the roads and infrastructure left a little to be desired. So our busy trip became something of an adventure, which was fine with us because Madagascar really is an ecological gem, waiting to be explored. It is under-developed perhaps, but in many ways it is unspoilt as a result.
Like many visitors we came to see the lemurs. Our brilliant guide told us there are 106 different types and he has seen 96 of them! Which is extraordinary because they live in different areas all over the country.
We eventually saw about 15 of them, including the famous, cheeky Ring Tail and, one night in the forest the smallest, the Mouse Lemur, peeking out of his tiny den in a tree trunk.
A nocturnal mouse lemur
The jumping sifaka were probably the most spectacular, bounding sideways across paths and roads to cross the breaks in the trees. Lemur agility is astonishing. Once the leader took off through the trees, the others followed exactly the same route, branch by branch, with uncanny accuracy.
The other stars of the show were the Indri, the largest lemur and famous for its eerie warning wail. We scrambled through the forest one morning to find them. We could hear them but it took a while to actually see one! A word of warning: you will need decent boots, rain gear, a head-light and tough gloves in Madagascar – but it’s a lot fun!
Madagascar’s ecosystem is fantastic
The place teems with life and we really enjoyed the walks, which were different every time we went out and always exciting. The wildlife included the myriad types of insects and reptiles. We were not particularly anxious to see snakes, spiders, scorpions, frogs and stick insects, but they were totally fascinating - and we were well looked after.
One creature that we did not expect on our Madagascar wildlife holiday, but which were beautiful and plentiful, were the chameleons. They were all sizes, in glorious colours and happy to stay very still for photographs. Because of its isolation over such a long period, Madagascar in some ways feels like the land that time forgot. We loved the phenomenal natural diversity and exploring a wide range of terrain by day and night was fascinating.
Madagascar’s Panther chameleon
Tsingy and Baobab trees
Tsingy is limestone that has been eroded by the weather to form a fantasy landscape of pinnacles and deep splits. We climbed up the Great Tsingy of Ankarana. Our guides were impressed by our fitness, but there are plenty of ladders and walkways to help! The view from the top of this amazing rock formation was outstanding and well worth the climb.
Walkway in the tsingy
After lemurs possibly the next famous attraction in Madagascar are the Baobab trees. These are strange, massive tuba like trees, which look as though they are upside down with their roots in the air. We saw them in the evening on the way home as the sun was going down in a gorgeous blaze of glory.
Our guide started the fire the old-fashioned way, twirling wood on wood, while we relaxed with our gin and tonic sundowners. This was one of the highlights of our Madagascan holiday and a fabulous end to the day.
Baobabs in Madagascar
The beaches in Madagascar
Madagascar beaches are special, with white sand, clear sparkling sea and all the palm trees and peace that we could wish for. We finished our Madagascar adventure with a couple of days in Tsarabanjina, a luxurious resort island north of the well known Nosy Be, in the northwest of the country. The lodge on the beach was immaculate and the food and staff impeccable. Even the snorkelling was perfect, with shoals of multicoloured fish in four feet of water just yards from the beach! What a way to finish our adventure!
Tsarabanjina island and resort, in the northwest
There are many ways to see Madagascar and 2by2 holidays organised our busy trip perfectly, from start to finish. If you want to see this jewel of a country, contact them and just tell them what you want to do. They will take care of everything!
To find out more about Madagascar wildlife holidays, the island’s unique landscapes and glorious beaches see our Madagascar holidays section. You can also check out when to go Madagascar here.
If you’d rather pick up the phone and talk with one of our Madagascar specialists, please do ring us on 01582 766122 during office hours or use our contact form. We’d love to hear from you.