This picturesque island in the Indian Ocean is famous for outdoor adventure, breathtaking landscapes and some of the world’s rarest wildlife.
With rare animal species, jaw-dropping scenery, beaches and water sports, Madagascar offers varied wildlife and outdoor adventures. A French colony for over half a century, Madagascar has European-styled towns providing the perfect complement to its natural attractions. It is located in the Indian Ocean, off the east coast of Africa, and is the world’s fourth-largest island.
One of Madagascar’s huge draws is its fascinating flora and fauna. Spot colorful frogs and the largest of all living lemurs, the indri, at Andasibe–Mantadia National Park. Montagne d’Ambre National Park has multicolored chameleons and uncommon orchids. Discover over 900 plant species, many used for food and medicine, at Arboretum d’Antsokay. Marvel at tall baobabs in Baobab Alley or admire the curious octopus trees in the Spiny Forest. Hike around the shores of Lake Itasy to see spectacular waterfalls surrounded by undulating hills.
With about 3,100 miles (5,000 kilometers) of coastline, Madagascar is a beach-lover’s paradise. Relax on Anakao’s white-sand beaches or visit the salt lake at Tsimanampetsotsa National Park. Learn to surf at Libanona Beach and ride big waves at Lavanono. Swim with barracuda, manta rays and starfish in the crystal-clear waters of the Mitsio Archipelago. Watch dolphins and breaching humpback whales on a boat tour from Ile Sainte-Marie.
See a slice of Madagascar’s French heritage and indigenous history in its characterful towns. Explore bustling markets and visit the imposing Queen’s Palace in Antananarivo, the island capital. In Antsirabe skilled local craftsmen hawk toys, jewelry and textiles. Wander around the stone gates and royal residences of Ambohimanga, Madagascar’s most sacred site.
Madagascar’s climate is hot and tropical, with monsoon rains and cyclones common between November and March and a dry season from April to October. Always check the current conditions before traveling.
Most international flights to Madagascar arrive at Ivato International Airport, a 25-minute drive from Antananarivo. Get around the island on organized tours or rent a jeep. Travel in Madagascar can be challenging and expensive but the memories are priceless.