Wild, untamed and unexplored is what this remote Island Madagascar is. Her rich wealth of natural beauty from dry spiny forests jam-packed with baobab trees in the south and west, to swanky eastern rainforests, to wetland areas to high escarpments set it worlds apart. The central highlands hosts many national parks while the tropical beaches of the coast have so much to write about. It’s not surprising over 90 per cent of Madagascar’s animals and plants are found nowhere else in the world and her rich cultural, natural and historical diversity has seen her nicknamed the “eighth continent”. 88 years ago, Madagascar broke away from mainland Africa and India and this segregation allowed plants and animals to evolve differently from the rest of the world. However, the island's diverse ecosystems and unique wildlife are threatened by the intrusion of the rapidly growing human population and other environmental threats. And before any other violation or change happens in this exotic and tropical heaven, here are the list of things to do and see in Madagascar.
1. Explore The Wildlife and Plant Species
Madagascar's plant and animal species are amazing. Over 90 percent of the species are found nowhere else in the world. On an adventure in Aye-Aye Island on Madagascar’s east coast, you’d see famous lemurs like aye-aye, a nocturnal lemur with ears of a bat and teeth of a rat and huge eyes which was associated with bad omen and was hunted a lot.
At Parc National d’Andasibe, explore the Indri lemur, the largest lemur best known for its whale beats distinctive song. The black and white monkey look-alike also appears like a cross between a cat or dog and squirrel. While a fossa is a lemur carnivore that is related to a mongoose and looks like a cross between a puma and a dog. Madagascar is also home to about half the world's 150 or so species of chameleons, which are small to mid-size reptiles that are famous for their ability to dramatically change colors. In Parc National de la Montagne d’Ambre, you will be lucky to spot the chameleons. Other animals and plants to explore are Geckos, Frogs and unusual flora and fauna.
2. River Canoeing/Kayaking Expeditions
Explore rivers and relax in hidden covers or crystal clear and calm water. Among the remote country, Tsiribihina River is the most popular for canoeing. Many years ago, the river and its various streams was brightened by burst of people transporting tobacco from isolated plantations. Along the route, you will see attractive landscapes and natural waterfalls that ends at Belo-sur-Tsiribihina, the main venue of the fitampoha ceremony, where a difficult track leads after a three hour hard 4x4 trip to Bekopaka and the spectacular Tsingy of Bemaraha. Another expedition is found at Manambolo River where you will experience a moon like landscape and spent nights at river banks before the crossing of the gorges upstream Bekopaka, a must-stay on the route to the Tsingy of Bemaraha National park.
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3. Explore The Beaches
Forget the beaches in Zanzibar and embrace new destinations in the most undiscovered secrets in the remote Madagascar. Here, there are a dozen beaches to choose from the famous Nosy Be to lle Sainte Marie one of the northern Islands to southern beaches like Ifaty and Fort Dauphin. You are simply spoilt for choice and bliss is all you get. Beaches in miles and miles of unbruised palm-line beaches to swim, dive and dine the best freshly seafood like crab, oysters, lobsters and fish you’ll ever taste. And no, there are no resorts hotels stealing landscape scenery here because the sight is just you and probably the fishermen with their canoes.
4. Walk to Avenue of Baobabs
An adventure to Madagascar must consist a visit to the Avenue or Alley of the Baobabs. At sunset, you will experience a magical fairytale of a set of lined trees in the dusty road between Morondava and Belon'i Tsiribihina. These trees are up to 800 years old, a legacy of the dense tropical forested that covered the land before human invasion and clearing of trees. You could take exceptional pictures and go brag in your social media circles and be sure you’ll earn points and many of them.
5. Trek to Tsingy Bemaraha
Are you daring enough? Do you want a mind boggling adventure where your heart races like you are about to die? Then this is the adventure of a lifetime you really need to take. Tsingy Bemaraha is an Inaccessible and unfriendly huge gathering of razor-sharp vertical rocks in western Madagascar. It is the world’s largest stone forest and its high spiked towers are of eroded limestone tower over greenery and it’s dangerous as it sounds. To make it even worse, it’s coldness but despite all that is home to a number of animal species, including 11 types of lemur. And even with its hazardous formations of razor-sharp pinnacles made of limestone and the struggle of reaching in the location, this is one place you should risk and visit for a future story to tell.
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6. Deep Sea Fishing
The water of Nosy Be are overfished and if you’re are not a cliché or wants one, get away from these waters and head out to the luxurious Radamas or Mitsio islands and catch sailfish, Kingfish, King Mackerel and Wahoo.
Coral reefs in Madagascar haven’t be bruised as the rest of the tropical islands and if you love diving or snorkeling, this place offers first class diving opportunities. At Nosy Be’s Radama or Mitsio archipelagos, you’ll find the best diving opportunities. As you dive, you can watch humpback whales do their thing. The reefs are home to indo-pacific fish species such as clown fish, angel fish, trigger fish, surgeon fish and groupers. A special highlight is being able to swim with the turtles in some areas.
8. Whale Watching
From July to September in Ile St Marie, you will experience one of the most beautiful sightings in the island. You will witness whales leaves their feeding grounds in the cold waters of the Antarctic to mate and give birth in the warmer waters of the Indian Ocean. The stories you read or heard of humpbacks spectacular breaking and courtship ritual, you will live it right here. Ile Sainte Marie and the Baie d’Antongil are Madagascar’s whale-watching hotspots, but Fort dauphin and Nosy Be are also great options.
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9. Historical, Cultural and Local Interactions
And before you return to your country or abroad, don’t forget to visit the capital Antananarivo, or Tana as its known and interact with the locals. Take a city tour and discover the countries colonial influences plane to Antananarivo. You won’t regret even a second if you spent your day or days roaming through the patched streets of the Old city and greater town. Consume Madagascar’s history as you marvel at The Rova of Antananarivo. Capture the colonial traditional Malagasy houses, built entirely from wood. Now, you can leave for home with full memories and stories of magical Madagascar.