Madagascar, officially known as the Republic of Madagascar, sits off the eastern coast of mainland Africa, in the Indian Ocean. Renowned for its unique biodiversity, the island is home to many plants and animals that can't be found anywhere else in the world, making it a highly popular vacation destination with wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers. There are many popular touristic spots all around Africa, but Madagascar is definitely one of the most special for a wide variety of reasons, and it also happens to be the home of some of Africa’s most highly rated beaches. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.
5.Madagascar Beaches: Mitsio Islands
6.Madagascar Beaches: Anakao Beach
6 Best Madagascar Beaches
- Sainte-Marie, Photo: Ariane Citron/stock.adobe.com
- Nosy Be, Photo: ArtushFoto/stock.adobe.com
- Tsarabanjina, Photo: Pierre-Yves Babelon/stock.adobe.com
- Manafiafy, Photo: Ammak/stock.adobe.com
- Madagascar Beaches: Mitsio Islands, Photo: Pierre-Yves Babelon/stock.adobe.com
- Madagascar Beaches: Anakao Beach, Photo: Simon Dannhauer/stock.adobe.com
- More Info, Photo: pawopa3336/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of Pierre-Yves Babelon - Fotolia.com
More Ideas in Madagascar: Lemurs’ Park
Located 22 kilometers southwest of Antananarivo, Madagascar, Lemurs’ Park is a 5-hectare public botanical garden and lemur reserve area, offering chances to see free-ranging nine lemur species as part of guided tours.
The island of Madagascar is well-known for its endemic species of lemurs, primates that predate the development of the suborder Haplorhini, which monkeys, gorillas, and humans belong to. Shortly after the island’s detachment from mainland Africa approximately 160 million years ago, early primates belonging to the suborder Strepsirhini crossed over to the island from Africa. Due to the island’s continued eastward drift between 23 and 17 million years ago, it was isolated from the development of monkey species, which drove lemurs to extinction throughout much of the rest of the world. Today, lemurs are found throughout all of the island’s ecosystems, though all species are listed as endangered due to the island’s challenges with deforestation and over-hunting. More than 60 taxa of lemurs are known to inhabit the island today, with new species discovered on a continual basis. The region is considered to be of the highest importance for primate conservation, with wild primate populations responsible for 21 percent of all primate genera located anywhere in the world.
Lemurs’ Park was established in 2000 by Maxime Allorge, the grandson of Tsimbazaza zoo designer Pierre Boiteau, and his business partner Laurent Amouric. Allorge is noted for his participation in several high-profile nature documentaries, including 1997’s Max and the Chameleons. The botanical garden and zoological park’s lemur populations mostly come from confiscated pet lemurs, which have been entrusted to the park by the country’s Ministry of Water and Forests for ex situ protection and conservation. All lemurs at the park are rehabilitated and bred in free-range conditions in preparation for release back into natural ecosystems. Since 2007, the park has also protected and bred Coquerel’s sifakas.
Attractions and Tours
Today, Lemurs’ Park is managed by Maxime Allorge and Laurent Amouric as a botanical garden and zoological park facility spanning five hectares near the city of Antananarivo. Transportation to the park from downtown Antananarivo is offered via a private park shuttle which operates regularly. The free-range park protects nine species of lemurs, as well as species such as Coquerel’s sifakas. More than 6,000 native pine and bamboo trees and 70 endemic plant species are also located throughout the park’s botanical garden areas, which are divided into separate climatic zones. A vivarium is offered, housing reptiles and amphibians such as chameleons, iguanas, and radiated tortoises, along with visitor amenities such as a gift shop and restaurant.
Visitors may explore the park as part of guided tours, which allow visitors to ask questions about the park and its flora and fauna species. The park is designed to mimic the natural habitat of lemurs and sifakas, allowing free-range movement and breeding for animals. Trails carved in cut stones, created by stonemason artist Philippe Manet, are offered throughout the park, offering panoramic views that allow visitors to observe park animals. Nine species of lemurs are visible throughout the park, including seven diurnal species and two nocturnal species. Each lemur species is grouped into its own park section, along with a section for Coroquel’s sifakas. Daily feeding times for lemurs are offered at 10:00am and 4:00pm, with dance times for sifakas also offered throughout the day. Visitors may not touch or feed lemurs directly, but are allowed to get up close to the animals for photo opportunities.
Park trails also pass waterfalls and other natural features and eventually lead up to a terraced estate, which offers panoramic views of the surrounding environment. A park restaurant serves country lunches and requires reservations 48 hours in advance. The Boutique Park gift shop sells a variety of specially-selected gifts and souvenirs, including raffia crafts, natural silk, hand-cut stone objects, and lemur-themed apparel and gifts.
Ongoing Programs and Education
In addition to standard visitor tours, guided group tours are available for small groups and organizations, including curriculum-incorporated field trip opportunities for school groups. Field trips last approximately one hour and can accommodate up to 100 students at a time, with up to five tour guides available at once. Tours emphasize Madagascar’s natural heritage and the importance of wildlife and ecosystem conservation, including the preservation of endangered lemur species. Tree-planting workshops are also offered for field trip groups, working under the supervision of park gardeners. All students who participate in field trip workshops are given take-home pamphlets that emphasize basic knowledge of native island flora and fauna, the consequences of deforestation, and short-term and long-term conservation techniques. Teacher materials are also available for reinforcing field trip principles with classroom learning activities.
Route d'Ampefy, Antananarivo 101, Madagascar, Phone: +26-13-31-12-52-59
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More Ideas in Madagascar: Kirindy Forest
Located 50 kilometers north of the town of Morondava, Kirindy Forest, also known as Kirindy Private Reserve or Kirindy Nord, is a privately-operated natural forest preserve protecting a dry deciduous forest, one of the most threatened ecosystems in the country of Madagascar.
The dry deciduous forests of Madagascar are considered to be among the most distinctive and richest dry deciduous forest regions in the world and have been listed on the World Wide Fund’s Global 200 Ecoregions list. The country’s dry deciduous forest ecoregion is located along a stretch of the island’s western side between the Ampasindava peninsula and Mahajanga Province and throughout most of the island’s northern tip. The forests are also home to unique limestone karst formations known as tsingy, some of which are protected in the World Heritage Site of Bemaraha. Large portions of the ecoregion have been destroyed by human logging and development actions, with indigenous species such lemurs suffering threats from hunting and invasive species. A number of areas within the ecoregion have been declared protected regions, including Ankarafantsika National Park, Tsingy de Bemaraha and Namoroka Strict Nature Reserves, Ankarana Special Reserve, and Kirindy Private Reserve.
The area that now comprises Kirindy Private Reserve has been historically referred to as la forêt des Suisses, or “the Swiss people’s forest,” due to the logging activity of Swiss companies such as the Centre de Formation Professionelle Forestière, which took over management of the forest in the 1970s. The company began experimenting with sustainable logging practices following their acquisition of the forest’s 125-square-kilometer area, enlisting the help of German scientists in the 1990s to aid in conservation practices. In 1996, a research station was constructed within the forest, which is credited with laying major foundations for the region’s continued conservation efforts and ecotourism endeavors. In 2010, the company founded the Longon’i Kirindy nonprofit organization, which supports local schools through donations to plant trees within the region.
Attractions and Tours
Today, Kirindy Private Reserve is owned and operated by the Centre de Formation Professionelle Forestière and spans a 125-square-kilometer area, located approximately 50 kilometers northeast of the city of Morondava. The term kirindy is roughly translated as “dense forest with wild animals.” To avoid confusion with Kirindy-Mitea National Park, the reserve is sometimes referred to as Kirindy Nord. In addition to logging operations and scientific research, the Reserve is open to the public for guided tours and overnight experiences.
The forest’s ecosystem is dominated by baobab trees forming a canopy with an altitude of 14 meters. Three species of baobab trees are contained within the forest, including the Adansonia grandidieri, a giant, umbrella branched variant, the bottle-shaped Adansonia rubrostipa, and the fat-trunked Adansonia za. Other common tree species include the endangered Diospyros aculeata ebony tree, which features a star-shaped base and interior back heartwood. The forest enjoys a tropical climate, with summer temperatures often exceeding 30 degrees Celsius, and a wet season from October through April with rainfall exceeding 1,000 millimeters.
The reserve is the only known area protecting the giant jumping rat, the world’s smallest-known primate species, which walks on four legs but can hop in a fashion similar to a kangaroo. The cat-like fossa, the island’s largest predator species, is often sighted within the forest, along with eight lemur species, including the diurnal red-tailed sportive lemur and the nocturnal pale fork-marked, grey, and Madame Berthe’s lemurs, the latter of which has only ever been found within the preserve. Other mammal species include white and grey Verreaux’s sifakas and narrow-striped mongooses. More than 32 types of reptiles are found within the forest, including spiny-tailed iguanas, Brookesia and Oustalet’s chameleons, ground boas, lissom colubrid snakes, and big-headed geckos. Bird species include sickle-billed vangas, terrestrial white-breasted mesites, and giant couas. The forest is also the traditional home of the indigenous Sakavala people.
A number of visitor amenities are offered for ecotourism visitors, including 13 rustic bungalow spaces powered by solar panels, offering mosquito nets and showers and toilets with running water at most times. A small restaurant serving local fare is located within the camp, and a dormitory building is offered for visiting biologists and scientists. A training room is also offered for conservation and biology-related seminars, workshops, and training programs. Two-hour guided tours of the forest are offered by local tour guides, with packages available for day and night excursions, including meals at the camp’s restaurant. Overnight stays within the camp are also available. All explored paths within the forest are flat and easily walkable for most visitors. Night walk visitors are advised to bring flashlights for safety and exploration purposes.
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