Madagascar is a large Island off the East coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean with an incredible diversity of wildlife and flora of which 80% is 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.
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Welcome to the magical Island of Madagascar
This large Island in the Indian Ocean 450 kilometres (300 miles) off the coast of Southern Africa is an amazing place for a holiday. Still untouched by mass tourism anybody who visits this almost prehistoric feeling Island will enjoy friendliness and hospitality from the people, be able to wander ancient primary rainforests, observe animals, plants and insects that are unique to the Island of Madagascar and enjoy its lovely quiet beaches.
Madagascar island offers diverse and spectacular scenery: mountains, deserts, rainforests, dazzling beaches fringing the Indian Ocean and island archipelagos linked by coral reefs and clear turquoise waters.
Ringed by golden beaches and palm trees, Madagascar island has an interior that is resplendent in its variety, from grassy plateaus to volcanoes and opaque forests and natural reserves. Many species that are unique to the island have evolved, including 3,000 indigenous species of butterfly. Madagascar is legendary for the profusion of its wildlife and flora, 80% of which is found nowhere else on earth.
The Main reasons for traveling to Madagascar:
Not being a main stream tourist destination you will need to be a little more adventurous than the average tourist and have a handful of patience but it is still easy to travel Madagascar with just a little help, guidance and knowledge from us at Madbookings.
We have visited these areas, inspected the hotels, lodges, camping places, restaurants, taken all the photographs on this website, visited the national parks and now offer all you this information to plan your holiday to Madagascar with the best advice possible.
So please browse through the site and email us with any questions, and
to make a booking for any of the hotels, lodges, camping sites,
backpackers, activities or flights just email us and we will
find the best price for you and advise you on which places are suitable
for your requirements.
If you can't find what you want or find it confusing simply email one of our experts with what you would like to do, preferably approx dates and a budget you would like to keep to and we will send you some ideas to look at - on every page there is an ' email an expert button' on the left we try and respond to all emails the same day.
Enjoy your visit to our website and we look forward to helping you enjoy a holiday to magical Madagascar an Island that time seems to have overlooked, preserving land, people and creatures.
Madagascar is the fourth largest island in the world and is located in the Indian Ocean 450 kilometres (300 miles) off the coast of Mozambique on the east coast of Africa.
Information on the cities, towns, Islands and beaches of Madagascar:
Information on National Parks and Marine Reserves:
The main Madagascar island is the fourth-largest island in the world but Madagascar the country includes several much smaller islands. A central chain of high mountains, the Hauts Plateaux, occupies more than half of the main island and is responsible for the marked differences (ethnically, climatically and scenically) between the east and west coasts:-
The narrow strip of Madagascar lowlands on the east coast, settled from the sixth century by Polynesian seafarers, is largely covered by dense rainforests, whereas the broader west-coast Madagascar landscape, once covered by dry deciduous forests, is now mostly savannah. The east coast of Madagascar receives the monsoon and, on both coasts, the climate is wetter towards the north. The southern tip of the main Madagascar Island is semi-desert, with great forests of cactus-like plants. The capital of Madagascar, Antananarivo, is high up in the Hauts Plateaux near the island’s centre. Much of Madagascar’s flora and fauna is unique to the island.
There are 3,000 species of butterfly endemic to Madagascar; the many endemic species of Madagascan lemurs fill the niches occupied elsewhere by animals as varied as racoons, monkeys, marmots, bushbabies and sloths. There is a similar diversity of reptiles, amphibians and birds (especially ducks) in Madagascar, and also all levels of plant life.
If you are planning a honeymoon to Madagascar, or a trip to celebrate a special occasion, Madagascar will exceed your expectations. Its landscapes and reserves will delight people with a taste for discovery and there are a handful of places combining a beautiful location, excellent accommodation and charming service.
• Explore the impressive Madagascar national parks and nature reserves. In Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict Nature Reserve, undisturbed forests, lakes and mangrove swamps are home to a variety of rare and endangered birds and lemurs. Rocky landscapes and limestone uplands are cut into large peaks with a mass of limestone needles.
• Don't miss Ampefy, a volcanic region with spectacular waterfalls and geysers or Perinet, a nature reserve that is home of the indri (a tail-less lemur) and many species of orchid.
• Find more orchids and lemurs at Montagne d'Arbre (1,500m/4,900ft), a national park famous for them. More wildlife awaits in the Ivolina Zoological Park and Botanical Gardens, which contains every kind of vegetable species from the eastern forests.
• Go diving at the main centres of Nossi Bé, Nossi Lava, Toliara and Ile Ste-Marie. Many offer beautiful white sand beaches and coral reefs. Scuba-diving centres are located on the north and west coasts.
• Try waterskiing or sailing at Ambohibao (Lake Mantasoa), Antsiralse (on Andraikiba Lake) and Ramona. River-rafting can be done in the Highlands and on the East Coast.
• Explore Nossi Bé and its neighbouring islands of Nossi Mitsio, Nossi Radama and Tanikely. Exotic perfume plants such as ylang-ylang, vanilla, lemongrass and patchouli are grown here.
• Relax on some of the excellent beaches. Antseranana is a cosmopolitan seaport overlooking a beautiful gulf at the northernmost tip of the island with many lakes, waterfalls and grottoes. There are more fine grottoes at Anjohibe.
• Dabble in the macabre and visit the fascinating Amabalavao, said to be the ‘home of the departed', where antemore paper and lamba aridrano silk are made. Whilst there, see the Ambondrome and Ifandana crags (the site of a mass suicide in 1811), where the revered bones of exhumed ancestors lie.
• Witness the distinctively French flavour and atmosphere of the capital, Antananarivo, often abbreviated to Tana. French is widely spoken, and road and shop signs are mostly in French. The city is built on three levels.
• View the capital's national monument, the Queen's Palace and associated Royal Village or Rova. It was once the residency of the Merina Dynasty which, in the 19th century, united all of Madagascar for the first time.
• See the birthplace of the Malagasy state, Ambohimanga. The citadel's structures reveal its heritage as an important Merina stronghold. Its main gate is an enormous stone disc which needed 40 men to roll it into position. Known variously as ‘the blue city', ‘the holy city' and ‘the forbidden city', it is surrounded by forests.
• Glimpse Madagascar's second-highest mountain, Tsiafajovona, from the country's main industrial centre, Antsirabe, also known as Andasibe. The town has a thermal spa and is surrounded by volcanic hills that are dotted with crater lakes.
• Enjoy the views in the Hauts Plateaux, a chain of rugged, ravine-riven mountains that run from north to south down the centre of Madagascar, in the Central Highlands.
• See how the lush north is dominated by great mountains, including Tsarantanana, the island's highest at 2,880m (9,450ft), which is covered with the giant ferns and lichens peculiar to high-altitude rainforests.
• Take in the vibrant sights of Madagascar's lively markets. Toamasina is the country's main port and a provincial capital with several busy markets, including the Bazary Be. In Antananarivo, the daily Zoma Market claims to be the second-largest in the world.
• See the wonderful arts and crafts in Fianarantsoa, an important centre for wine and rice production and a good base for exploring the southern highlands, and the Zafimaniny village, where intricate marquetry products are made.
The levels of poverty and the enormous gap between rich and poor may deter some but Madagascar still dazzles with its rich wildlife, much of which can be found nowhere else on Earth.
According to local legend, the island was first inhabited by the Vazimba, a race of white pygmies. These people, if they existed, were displaced by successive waves of Polynesian migrants from the Malayo-Indonesian archipelago, from as early as the sixth century AD. In the ninth century, Madagascar was a major trading power in the western Indian Ocean. Moreover, ancient ruins indicate an extensive Arab presence on the island around that time. Bantu tribes from mainland Africa later settled on the west coast. The first Europeans arrived in the mid-17th century. Several French settlements were established on the south-east coast but were destroyed within 30 years.
Antananarivo - Madagascar's Capital City
Also known as 'Tana', the Malagasy capital is about 1250 m above sea level in the Central Highlands. With a population of around 2 million people, Tana is the centre of the Merina tribe, who resemble the Malayo-Polynesian component of the first Malagasy settlers. The city is set in a basin surrounded by 12 hills. Much of the surrounding countryside is devoted to rice paddies. The houses of highland towns are typically multistoried brick constructions, often with wooden staircases and balconies, built along narrow, cobbled streets and alleyways. Visit the markets, the Parc de Tsimbazaza zoo, museum, botanical gardens and enjoy the restaurants and night-life.
Ariary (AR) is now the local currency being used in Madagascar, in place of Franc Malgache (FMG). Many people still refer to the Franc Malagasy (FMG) when selling or buying something, as they are used to it, but all payment must be done in Ariary (1 AR = 5 FMG). To check the updated rates, please have a look at the official website of the Central Bank of Madagascar
Credit cards (the most useful credit card is VISA CARD) are only accepted in large hotels, restaurants and some shops, mainly in Antananarivo. In the other big cities, you can get cash from Automatic Cash Machines (ATM) only with VISA CARDS. There's now also an ATM at the airport in Antananarivo. Don't rely on ATM machines only; they are often out of order. Keep some cash in Euro for emergencies.
Travellers Cheques (TC) such as Thomas Cook, American Express etc. are also not recommended, as many banks refuse to accept them. But if you really want to bring Travellers Cheques then bring only TC of EUR 50 or USD 50 face value, and do not forget to also bring the invoice or receipt of where you bought the TC. In some provinces, it may take you up to a few hours to change Travellers Cheques; the rate is also generally higher than when exchanging cash and some banks charge you commission