Wanderlist Discover: Madagascar
Madagascar is so much more than a movie about animals stuck on a deserted paradise island, adrift in the Indan Ocean. It is a vibrant eco-system of its own, with over 90% of the islands plant and wild life, exclusive to the island. This makes the entire island like one big giant nature reserve, with the same conditions prevailing for the past several years. Not the easiest - or cheapest - of destinations to get to, this island country is one of the spots perfect for those one in a lifetime holiday opportunities. Despite tourism playing a big role in the economy of Madagascar, only a limited number of tourists allowed on this island each year. Thanks to this isolation from the modern tourism invasion, the natural beauty of the island, including the beaches and national parks, has remained pristine. If you are an outdoor enthusiast, Madagascar is the place you should head for trekking though the canyons, in search of the 100 types of lemurs, and other native wildlife around.
A COUPLE OF ACTIVITIES YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS
- The Baobab Avenue : The Baobab Avenue, located near the town of Morandae, is possibly the only group of trees, recognized by the UNESCO, and granted protected status, making it Madagascar’s first natural monumnent. It is a group of baobab trees that line up a dirt road, in Western Madagascar. This area is one of the most popular on the island, and one of the most beautiful sights in Madagascar.
- Go For A Dive : The reefs around Madagascar are quite amazing, and you will find a few operators on the islands of Sante Marie and Nosy Be that supply scuba diving equipment. Spend an afternoon exploring the underwater delights around the coast of Madagascar.
- Enjoy The Local Cuisine : Like the wildlife, the cuisine of Madagascar too is quite native to the islands, and quite enjoyable too. Rice and chicken is a staple diet here, but the side of hot chilli paste to spice things is something you won’t see everywhere. Other local dishes include romazara, a ginger-flavoured meat and vegetable stew, and ravitoto, a dish made of manioc leaves with fried bread and coconut. Also try out the local zebu (the local humped cow) steak.
Best Time To Go: October to November
The climate on the island can be quite extreme, and February and March can be cyclone season. October and November is generally warm, and is a perfect time to visit.
Where in the world:
Madagascar is located off the continent of Africa, and gained independence from the French in 1960. Mozambique is the closest mainland state to Madagascar.
Fun Fact: Madagascar is the world’s fourth largest island, but is yet mainly untouched by modern technology or even basic civic infrastructure. To put it in perspective, the island is about the size of France, but has less than 15 main roads on the entire island. Many roads are still dirt roads.
- Language : Malagasy, French. English is spoken in the big hotels and by tour guides.
- Currency : Madagascar Ariary (Ar)
- How to Get Around : Generally, you can get around Madagascar in the mini-taxi-buses, which can seat 15, but take many more on. If you are travelling as a group, you can hire a car, but this is generally expensive. In many cases, it is advisable to hire a local 4x4 jeep to go to different places, as the road conditions can be quite bad. If you really want to do it old-school, take a trek in a zebu cart for short distances!
The Discover Series by Wanderlist
Discover less explored destinations & places that have never been on your travel radar with our Discover Series. Every week we will share a beautiful underrated city you should add to your travel bucket list.