Even for the most jaded visitors of national parks, Madagascar’s primordial forests, dramatic peaks, extinct volcanoes and stony deserts are an otherworldly experience.
Seventy percent of the fauna and 90 % of the flora are endemic to the island. A chain of mountains runs down the eastern seaboard, fostering the tropical climate that nurtures the island’s six rainforests, while its 450 km coral reef is the fifth largest in the world. All this makes it a biodiversity hotspot and one of the world’s great eco-tourism destinations.
Nowhere else on Africa’s east coast can come close to Madagascar's Jurassic- Park-style wilderness. Rutted roads (the RN5 is the most notorious), makeshift bridges and pole rafts over running rivers makes getting around an adventure in itself. But the rewards are worth it.
Hiking the trails in the Parc National d’Andringitra is like having Yosemite all to yourself, while scaling the via ferrata (fixed-cable routes) along the limestone pinnacles of the Tsingy de Bemaraha will test the nerves and fitness of any adventurer.
The French left a lasting impression when they colonized Madagascar. There are croissants everywhere. Dine Malagasy style at a hotely, one of the slightly dingy roadside establishments, serving up stacks of fried dough balls (mofobols) and super sweet coffee with condensed milk. Other choices will include deep-fried bananas and rice cakes. It's hardly fine dining, but the people watching and hospitality make the experience priceless.
Madagascar Image Gallery