June 15th 2019
Madagascar remains an enigma of sorts. To many minds-eye, it’s a lush tropical island filled with Lemurs & unique wildlife.
And whilst there are certainly parts that might resemble that, we were quite amazed by the diversity of landscapes spanning the world's 4th largest island.
From dense forests filled with unique wildlife, to rolling sunburnt hills, sweeping mountain vistas & bright green terraced rural fields, Madagascar is rich with sights & sounds of a vibrant landscape.
Western Madagascar is defined by its sweeping vast landscapes, the iconic Allée des Baobabs & Parc National des Tsingy de Bemaraha.
Like much of the country distances are vast, and travel times are frustratingly slow. It’s also much hotter here than in the central higher elevations.
The Allée des Baobabs (Avenue of Baobabs), just outside Morondava, is wonderfully unique. There’s something truly magical wandering amongst these magnificent trees, some of which are estimated to be over 2,000 years, old and can hold up to 200,000 liters of water.
Coined "the roots of the sky", their unique shape & form resemble upside down trees. Sunsets & sunrises here complement the scene with long shadows, deep colors & atmosphere, definitely not to be missed.
Venturing further down the coastline to Belo Sur Mer by boat rewards with white sandy beaches and remote villages surrounded by seemingly endless mangroves & forest. It’s also the gateway to Parc National de Kirindy-Mitea should you be inclined to venture here.
Central Madagascar abounds with lush landscapes and almost ubiquitous rice paddy fields. Terraces across the landscape form intriguing patterns & stunning visual scenes.
Venturing down Madagascar’s infamous RN7 is an adventure in itself, as the only paved road artery to the south of the island. Whilst it may be paved, its condition varies wildly with large sections dotted with potholes big enough to swallow small children & most definitely damage vehicle wheels.
Respite from Madagascar’s relentless sun can be found under the dense canopy of the lush Parc National de Ranomafana. Whilst Lemurs leap and bound from above, gurgling creeks & gushing waterfalls beckon below.
The forest can easily be accessed by the nearby small, welcoming town of Ranomafana, situated on the banks of the Ranomafana river, this quaint little village serves as a pleasant launching pad for day and night ventures into the forest.
Central Madagascar also hosts the multi-day hiking gem, Parc National D’Andringitra. This trek meanders about the stunning Massif de L’Andringitra, a striking granite mountain range reminiscent of Yosemite & flanked by the sweeping vistas of the Namoly and Tsaranoro valleys.
D’Andringitra also serves as a jumping off point for Madagascar’s highest climbable Peak Imarivolanitra “Pic Boby”, a challenging 28km round trip to a panoramic summit of 2658m. Hiking here is world class & with fewer than 3000 visitors per year, there’s a good chance you’ll have much of the park to yourself.
Southern Madagascar’s shining star has to be wandering about the steep walled canyons of the gorgeous Parc National de I’lsalo. The park is quite deceptive visually, from a distance it appears to be an arid desert canyon scorched by the Malagasy Sun.
Yet as you venture into the depths and crevices within the large rock formation, you’re met by lush narrow canyons filled with verdant green vegetation, bubbling creeks & cascading water. Exploring deeper into the canyon rewards with colorful pools fed by wispy waterfalls.