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6 unique things to do in Madagascar

By Hannah Champion

Madagascar is a thrilling destination particularly if you’re looking for something different to the traditional African safari. Its unique biodiversity has led to the discovery of hundreds of species that can’t be seen anywhere else in the world. Add friendly people and beautiful beaches and you have the ingredients of a stunning trip. Here are six great things to do on the island.

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Avenue of boababs, Morondava. Photo: Robin Hoskyns

1. Hug a magnificent baobab tree

With six of the world’s nine species of baobab native to Madagascar it’s unsurprising these humongous, iconic trees are on everyone’s bucket list when visiting the island. Known as the “upside-down tree” due to the root-like, often leafless branches, these fire-resistant trees line the road between Morondava and Belon’I Tsiribihina creating a stunning backdrop for landscape photography. Visit at sunrise or sunset for the best light. Not only do they look eye-catching, they also provide nutrition, medicine, clothing and shelter for local communities. See them on this tour.

lemur

Ring-tailed lemur. Photo: Robin Hoskyns

2. Get up close with these cuddly lemurs

Due to the unique biodiversity of Madagascar and lack of predators, around 100 species of lemur have adapted to life on the world’s fourth largest island. Ranging from photogenic ring-tailed lemurs lounging on rocks in Anja Community Reserve to the not-so-attractive nocturnal aye-ayes and a huge variety in between, you will be sure to have a number of incredible wildlife encounters. Head to the Kianjavato Conservation Project exclusively with Natural World Safaris to learn more about these fascinating creatures.

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Painted tombs, South Madagascar. Photo: Salym Fayad / Creative Commons

3. Explore tribal burial tombs

Many countries have tribal burial traditions but none quite like that of Madagascar. The dead are seen as “gods on earth” and revered as intermediaries between man and the supreme god. Their tombs can be seen throughout the country. Elaborate tombs are particularly favoured in the southwest of the island but it is important to ask for advice from your guide regarding viewing the site to ensure you comply with tradition. Take in these time-honoured tombs on this Lemurs, Culture and Beaches of the Red Island Safari.

tsingy

Tsingy de Bemaraha. Photo: Robin Hoskyns

4. Hike the Tsingy de Bemaraha

The Tsingy, known as “where one cannot walk barefoot” is an unusual landscape of limestone fissures and pinnacles that sprawl across the Melaky region in northwestern Madagascar. This topography of eroded limestone can be found in other areas around the world, but nowhere is recorded to be as tall, slender and extensive as the spires here. For those looking for an adventurous hike during their Madagascan safari, a stop-off at the Tsingy forest is a must.

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Leaf-tailed gecko. Photo: Robin Hoskyns

5. Spot rare geckos on a night walk

Madagascar has a vast array of reptiles and creepy-crawlies and is one of the best places in the world to find weird species such as the common leaf-tailed gecko which has more teeth than any other land-dwelling vertebrate. Walking safaris and night walks are ideal for spotting camouflage lizards plastered against signs and trees or the unique giraffe-weevil. Don’t forget to pack a head torch.

isalo

Isalo National Park. Photo: Bernard Gagnon / Creative Commons

6. Go wild camping in Isalo National Park

If you want to be fully immersed in nature during your safari in Madagascar why not go wild camping in Isalo National Park. Not only will you be staying amongst the nocturnal critters in the forest (nothing poisonous, don’t worry), if you’re up bright and early you will be the first in the park to spot the ring-tailed lemurs before day visitors arrive. Walk through dramatic landscapes seeking out dancing sifakas then take a dip in the “La Piscine Naturelle” a natural swimming pool formed within rocks which is constantly topped up by a stunning flowing waterfall.

Find more details of holidays in Madagascar -including family safaris – from Natural World Safaris.

 

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