Magical Madagascar holidays
Situated just off the southeast coast of Africa, the island republic of Madagascar has long been known for its wild and rugged terrain as well as a certain ring-tailed resident, the lemur. It’s a land of real adventures with the capital, Antananarivo, in the central highlands, just the start of things to come. This is where you’ll get your first glimpse of life in and around the pink palatial properties, such as the Andafiavaratra Palace, and alongside the jacaranda trees aligning Lake Anosy.
Travel away from the urban outskirts of Antananarivo and you’ll discover Madagascar’s natural beauty confined within its national parks. Ranomafana, a 9-hour drive south of the capital, and Isalo, in amongst the sandstone canyons of Fianarantsoa Province, are two of Madagascar’s finest. From the elegant European-style architecture of Antsirabe and Betsiloo culture in Fianarantsoa to the baobab trees of Reniala Reserve and the animals of Andasibe National Park – if you’re planning a holiday in Madagascar, there’s no time like the present to start practising those tongue-twisting place names.
Situated close to the town of Ranohira, Isalo National Park is an absolutely stunning location. This is where sandstone monoliths have been naturally eroded into gigantic gorges, canyons and spiralling pinnacles. Numerous rock tombs can also be found on a guided walk within the park. These have been created by the nomadic Bara people to honour their departed loved ones. Explore elsewhere within Isalo National Park and it’s the resident ring-tailed lemurs that pique the interest. And there’s no better way to complete a day other than catching your breath at sunset as you peer through the frame of La Fenetre de l’Isalo.
Driving through pine and eucalyptus forests on route to Ranomafana National Park from the city of Ambositra is certainly the best way to prepare for the dramatic change of scenery. This national park, just east of the central highlands, is a real hot bed for wildlife with at least 12 species of lemur known to reside within the protected rainforests. A guided tour here will take you into the lemurs’ natural habitat as well as to a wonderful array of waterfalls and naturally therapeutic thermal pools. Don’t forget your swimmers!
The flight time from the UK to Madagascar via Nairobi is approximately 14 hours.
You will need a visa to visit Madagascar from the UK along with at least six months remaining on your GB passport. Check out GOV UK for entry requirements to Madagascar or, alternatively, visit CIBT visas for more information.
Madagascar’s climate is a real mixed bag with hot and humid lowland areas blending with the far cooler central highlands. November to March is where you find Madagascar at its wettest, although it’s best to pack for all eventualities no matter what time of year you’re thinking of travelling.
Madagascar is three hours ahead of the UK during the winter and just two hours ahead in the summer.
Malagasy is the official language of Madagascar which is a slight amalgamation of Indonesian and French. English isn’t widely spoken so best advice is to bring a phrasebook and go with a guide.
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