Most travellers to Madagascar head to the popular Nosy Be or St Marie, but here are five other things to do in Madagascar that you should not miss out on (see: a photographic journey through Madagascar).
Visit Lemurs’ Park
No trip to Madagascar is complete without a lemur encounter. Endemic to Madagascar, they’re considered to be the ancestors of monkeys, but are more like distant cousins. Lemurs’ Park on the outskirts of Antananarivo (‘Tana’ for the tongue-tied) has eight of around 100 recognised lemur species, including the Coquerel’s sifaka pictured above.
Snorkelling at 10 Mile Beach
If the sea conditions allow, take a 20-minute boat trip through the river mouth in Manafiafy to the uninhabited offshore islands or head to the aptly named 10 Mile Beach for excellent snorkelling among iridescent tropical fish. From the shore, look for passing whales from June to December.
Madagascar’s bustling Afro-Indonesian capital is a mix of wooden houses and French colonial buildings built on the hills, with rice paddies on the low-lying fields below. Its name means ‘city of a thousand’ but nowadays it’s home to about two million people. The traffic congestion is mind-boggling and it’s common to see old Citroëns and Peugeots being pushed up steep slopes and cobbled roads lined with shops selling all sorts.
Fort Dauphin (its rarely used Malagasy name is Taolagnaro) lies between crescent-shaped beaches on a narrow peninsula and the slopes of the forest-clad Pic Saint Louis mountain. It’s one of the original French territories and colonists established a settlement here in 1643. We had an afternoon to wander the streets of the tattered old town, where buildings are slowly decaying, people struggle with poverty and the closest thing to a supermarket is a Total garage.
Night forest walk in Ambato Atsignana Nature Reserve
It can be stiflingly humid among the dense trees of Ambato Atsignana Nature Reserve near Manafiafy and it’s best explored in the coolness of dusk. The highlight when we visited was seeing a red-collared brown lemur clinging to a tree. Before long, its family arrived and they flew through the canopy as their calls echoed occasionally to break the night silence. Other lemur species include the woolly, common brown, mouse, dwarf and sportive lemur. There are also reptiles, insects, orchids and birds such as this Madagascar pygmy kingfisher to be spotted.
If you’re looking for even more things to do on the island, check out these 10 reasons to visit Madagascar or spend 10 nights exploring the magical side of Madagascar with Getaway Travel.
This article, 5 things to do in Madagascar, was originally posted on the Getaway Blog by Dylan Kotze.