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The island country of Madagascar lies in the Indian Ocean off the southeastern coast of Africa. The main island is the 4th largest in the world and is accompanied by numerous smaller islands comprising the Republic of Madagascar. At one time, Madagascar was part of India but the land masses split some 88 million years ago allowing the flora and fauna of Madagascar to evolve in sequestered isolation. As a result, 90% of the wildlife found on the island nation is unique to Madagascar.
Although not easy to reach, visitors to Madagascar seek The Labyrinth of Stone, a surreal stone forest with a natural rock formation known as “Tsingy” running throughout. The stone forest is found in Tsingy de Bemaraha, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As Madagascar‘s largest reserve, the fascinating raised limestone plateau is decorated with a frail, chaotic collection of razor-sharp pinnacles harboring numerous rare species. Dense forest also within the preserve provides habitat for brown lemurs and a huge variety of bird life. The Tsingy de Bemaraha is home to over 50 species of birds, 7 species of lemurs, including the rare all white Decken’s Sifaka, and the unique stump-tailed chameleon (Brookesia Perarmata). The great variety of exclusive plant life includes Aloe, Orchids, Pachypodium and Baobabs (sometimes known as Plumeria or Frangipani). At what is referred to as the Avenue of the Baobabs is found an unbelievable stand of huge Baobab trees. Some of the trees are over 800 years old and reach heights of over 30 meters. Hiking in the rainforest of Parc National de Ranamafana is also a wonderful way to experience the landscape, plant life and wildlife of Madagascar. Excursions to Nosy Komba, Nosy Tonikely and Nosy Be, adjacent smaller islands that are part of the Republic, allow visitor to experience white sand beaches, snorkeling along pristine reefs and historic lighthouses.
Kiteboarding and Windsurfing, Kayaking, Whale Watching and Deep Sea fishing are among the ocean oriented recreational opportunities enjoyed by enthusiasts that visit Madagascar. Visitors to Madagascar arrive at the country’s international airport, Ivato Airport, in the capital city of Antananarivo (also known as “Tana”) or by boat. Yacht charters, including bareboat rentals, are a popular way for visitors to access the island nation and also provide a base of operation. The island has a temperate climate with the dry season found between May and October. Much of the country is undeveloped and luxury accommodations are typically the exception. Most visitors find renting a 4 wheel drive vehicle is the best way to move about with mini-buses and taxis also an option.
Your dream of visiting one of the most unique locations in the world with rare plants and animals found nowhere else can be satisfied by making a trip to Madagascar. This adventure will provide a lifetime of memories and limitless topics for conversation. Add this adventure to your list and start working on the details of how you can best experience this unique island nation.
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