There's no denying that Madagascar is unique. An astonishing 80%
of the country's flora and fauna is endemic to the island. A
fascinating mélange of African, Asian, Arabic and European cultures
is evident wherever you are, from the rice paddy fields in the
valleys to the Arab style pirogues on the river and the clapped out
Renaults which rule the streets of Tana. Even the name of the
capital, Antananarivo (hence Tana, to those in the know), is exotic
and the rest of the country certainly lives up to that reputation.
Quite the heady mix when it comes to a luxury holiday, in our
The terrain varies from tropical rainforest and paradise beaches
to central highland plateaux and the dry desert-like south. Dancing
lemurs, avenues of gigantic baobabs, spectacular birds, luxurious
beach retreats and an incredibly hospitable population are just
some of the things you can expect to come across on your Madagascar
Everything starts and ends in Tana, which is conveniently
located bang in the middle of the island. From this central hub,
you can head off exploring the country, but it is well worth
spending a few days in the city at the beginning or the end of your
holiday to sample some of the fabulous local cuisine, which the
colonial French thankfully left behind, and to stock up on some
excellent textiles for which the country is famed.
Heading out from the city, the south of Madagascar is best
explored on an epic road trip from Tana to Tuleur through National
Parks with some of the most extraordinary landscapes imaginable.
Travel through desert canyons in Isalo National Park, tropical
forests in Ranomafana, and the mountainous Tsaranoro Valley region,
seeing the ubiquitous lemur on route.
The east coast of the country is home to a distinctly Caribbean
vibe of spectacular beaches and islands that were the favourite
haunts of buccaneers plying the spice routes in days of old.
Fortunately the latter day visitor is more likely to see whales
cruising offshore than pirate ships.
Finally, if you're more at home under the sea, fear not - you'll
find an unparalleled quality of diving and snorkelling around some
of the most unspoilt reefs in the world, mostly located in the
north of the island. Here dive operators and local fishermen work
together to protect the environment while encouraging sustainable
tourism and protecting one of the few corals whose biodiversity has
not yet been drastically changed by the effects of global warming.
The beaches, islands and luxury lodges along this stretch of
coastline are none too shabby either.
A Madagascar luxury holiday will certainly be unlike any other
you've ever been on. This is, after all, a country quite unlike any
you'll ever have been to.