Madagascar is an isolated island located on the East coast of Africa which consists of unique and endemic wildlife. More than 70% of the species found on the island can be located on that island alone which makes Madagascar a wonder island for nature and wildlife lovers. I personally had limited time there so couldn’t fully explore the country but I tried to make most of my time there by doing the must dos of the island. The things I am going to list here are just the things I did in the country but there is so much more to explore and your list should definitely have the places mentioned below but not be limited to them.
1- Antananarivo – The capital city of Madagascar is one of the biggest cities on the island. Busy streets, local lifestyle, French architecture and Malagasy food make the place perfect to spend a day or two in. The Queens Palace is located at the highest point of the city which gives you a pretty awesome view of the city from the top.
2- Lemur Park – A trip to Madagascar is not complete if one didn’t meet the famous Lemurs of the island. Lemur Park is located just outside the capital in a National Park called Mantadia National Park. Along with Lemurs you can visit the Crocodile and Snake reserves in the same national park which were also pretty incredible. I stayed in a forest lodge called Venkova Forest lodge which was a part of the National Park and one can buy tickets for the reserve from there itself. It cost me about 40000Arriay (10£) for all three reserves. You can cuddle the lemurs and play with them as long as you want. They are one of the main attractions of the country.
3- Avenue of Baobab –Baobab trees as I had mentioned earlier in my article here, are the face of Madagascar. Located just half an hour away from the city of Morondova on the South coast of island, this famous avenue has a set of baobab lining the small road which makes the place picture perfect. It can be a little hectic to get there by road from the capital but the long and tiring journey is worth every minute of the strain once you get there.
4- Taxi Brousse and Rickshaws – Madagascar has got some of the coolest taxis in the world. Taxi Brousse is an experience you won’t ever forget. I suggest you to take a taxi early morning like a local to see the city and interact with local people. It’s totally worth it. The taxi then goes to Antsirabe, another city close to the capital which is also known as the ‘World capital of rickshaws’. Hop onto one of the famous rickshaws, spread your legs and let the journey begin.
5- Explore the unique factories: All around the capital, there are many factories which are
the lifeline of the inter-country trading and industrial chains. Few of the major factories which are worth visiting include the Gemstones factory, the Chocolate factory, the Malagasy sweet factory, Yogurt factory and the Rice paddies factory. All of them are different and exceptionally welcoming to the tourists to give them a tour. I was gifted a part of a Cristinite stone as a gift just because it was my first visit to the factory and the country.
6- Explore the Wildlife – Madagascar is mainly known for its wildlife. The unique, unexplored and untouched wildlife of the island is not only amazingly distributed throughout the island but also very well preserved. Madagascar has got more than 25 National parks and Wildlife reserves so you can visit as many as you want and try to spot as many species as you can because most of them are not found anywhere in the world and they might not exist within a few years time so who knows-you might just be witnessing history out there.
7- Meet the Locals: Madagascar may be a poor country by wealth but when it comes to the size of their hearts, Malagasy people are one of the richest people I have ever met. Everyone is so
welcoming and polite that it will win your heart within a very short time. I personally met a lot of people and everyone was excited to tell me more about their country and customs. It helped me understand the region even better. I also lived with a host who was local to Antananarivo and his family was so used to having travellers over at their place so it didn’t even feel as if I was a guest there.
These are the few things which I did within the given time span I had. I would encourage everyone to add these points in your list when you travel to Madagascar. There are a lot of other things like Whale Watching, Beaches, Diving, Hiking and Camping which you can try out in the country. Do not limit yourself with time because there is so much to do so if possible, make the most of your time there by covering one region at a time. Please feel free to drop a comment or write to me directly in case of any questions regarding any of the above and I will be happy to answer. Find full photo album of Madagascar here.