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Nosy Iranja, Madagascar
Nosy Iranja, Madagascar by Alessandro Zanini on Unsplash.

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Madagascar Travel and Tourism on Travel Notes


Embark on an extraordinary journey through Madagascar's diverse habitats, from lush rainforests to pristine beaches while experiencing thrilling adventures.

About Madagascar

With its unique wildlife and stunning landscapes, Madagascar is a popular destination for tourists,whether planning a long vacation or just a short trip.

At 1,571 km long, by 571 km wide, there are plenty of beaches and contrasts on Madagascar for everyone to enjoy.

A mountainous central spine separates the permanently damp east from the drier west, and sub-desert south.

Travel Map Mapping Madagascar

Map of Madagascar

Map of Madagascar

Situated 360km east of Mozambique, the Democratic Republic of Madagascar, the fourth largest island in the world, is known for its unique biodiversity and stunning landscapes.

Its capital is Antananarivo.

Madagascar Overview

Madagascar is an island country located in the Indian Ocean, off the south-eastern coast of Africa.


Madagascar is renowned for its exceptional biodiversity, with over 90% of its wildlife found nowhere else on Earth.

The island is home to a wide range of unique plants and animals, including lemurs, chameleons, geckos, baobab trees, and countless species of birds, insects, and reptiles.

Several national parks and reserves, such as Ranomafana National Park and Masoala National Park, protect and conserve this remarkable biodiversity.


Agriculture is a vital sector of Madagascar's economy, with the majority of the population engaged in subsistence farming.

The country is known for exporting various products, including vanilla, cloves, coffee, and precious gemstones such as sapphires.

Tourism is also an important industry, attracting visitors who come to explore the island's natural wonders and unique wildlife.

Capital and Major Cities

The capital city of Madagascar is Antananarivo, often referred to as 'Tana' for short.

It is the largest city in the country and serves as its political, economic, and cultural centre. Other significant cities include Antsirabe, Toamasina, Mahajanga, and Fianarantsoa.


Madagascar faces several challenges, including deforestation, poverty, political instability, and inadequate infrastructure.

Deforestation is a significant issue due to the expansion of agriculture, illegal logging, and charcoal production, which threatens the island's delicate ecosystems and biodiversity.


Madagascar has a rich and diverse cultural heritage, which is a blend of influences from various sources.

The island's population consists of various ethnic groups, with the Malagasy people being the largest group.

The Malagasy language is spoken by the majority of the population, along with French, which is also an official language.

The traditional Malagasy customs, music, dance, and folklore play a significant role in the cultural fabric of the country.


Madagascar has a diverse topography that includes rainforests, highlands, coastal plains, and a mountain range known as the Tsaratanana Massif; which contains the highest peak on the island, Maromokotro.


Madagascar offers visitors a wealth of natural attractions and adventure opportunities.

The national parks provide opportunities for wildlife viewing, hiking, and exploring the diverse landscapes.

The Avenue of the Baobabs, a striking row of ancient baobab trees, is one of the country's iconic landmarks.

The stunning beaches and coral reefs along the coastline also attract tourists interested in snorkelling, diving, and relaxing by the Indian Ocean.

Visiting Madagascar

Madagascar is a captivating destination known for its unique flora and fauna, diverse landscapes, and vibrant culture.

It continues to enchant travellers from around the world with its natural beauty and distinct charm.

From lush rainforests and baobab-lined avenues to golden beaches and diverse marine life, Madagascar offers a wealth of experiences for travellers.

Madagascar Highlights

Avenue of the Baobabs

Located in the Menabe region, the Avenue of the Baobabs is a famous scenic spot where majestic baobab trees line the dirt road.

It's particularly stunning during sunrise or sunset, offering fantastic photo opportunities.

Local Culture

Madagascar has a rich cultural heritage influenced by its diverse ethnic groups.

Make sure to visit local markets, experience traditional music and dance performances, and interact with friendly locals to immerse yourself in the Malagasy way of life.

National Parks

Madagascar is home to numerous national parks and reserves, each showcasing different ecosystems and wildlife.

Some of the popular ones include Ranomafana National Park, Andasibe-Mantadia National Park, and Isalo National Park.

These parks provide opportunities to spot lemurs, chameleons, unique bird species, and other endemic flora and fauna.

Nosy Be

If you're looking for pristine beaches, turquoise waters, and excellent snorkeling or diving, head to Nosy Be.

This island off the north-west coast is a popular tourist destination known for its relaxed atmosphere and beautiful marine life.


While Madagascar is generally safe for tourists, it's always advisable to take common safety precautions.

Be mindful of your belongings, avoid walking alone at night in unfamiliar areas, and stay updated on the current situation through reliable sources.

Tsingy de Bemaraha

This UNESCO World Heritage Site in western Madagascar features otherworldly limestone formations, sharp pinnacles, and deep canyons.

It's a haven for adventure seekers and offers hiking and caving opportunities.

Traveling Around

The transportation infrastructure in Madagascar can be challenging, so it's recommended to plan your itinerary well in advance and consider hiring a local guide or using a reputable tour operator.

Domestic flights and shared taxis are common modes of transportation within the country.

Visa and Health Requirements

Ensure you have a valid passport with at least six months of remaining validity.

Check with the Madagascar embassy or consulate in your country to determine if you need a visa.

Additionally, consult a healthcare professional to receive necessary vaccinations and take appropriate precautions against malaria and other tropical diseases.


Known as Tananarive, until 1977, Antananarivo is the capital of Madagascar.

Map of Antananarivo

Map of Antananarivo

The capital is situated in a rice-growing region, in the central part of the island and began as a fortress of the Merina rulers, in the early 17th century. Their large palace can still be seen.

Madagascar Experiences

Where to Stay in Antananarivo

Hotel Carlton Antananarivo Madagascar

Hotel Carlton Madagascar

Hotel Carlton Madagascar: Rue Pierre Stibbe Anosy, Antananarivo, Madagascar.

Enjoy all the luxuries associated with a 5-star hotel in the historical district of Madagascar's capital city. The hotel's dining establishments include two restaurants and a coffee shop.

Guests at the Carlton Madagascar were impressed with the stunning pool, excellent service and wonderful views.

Hotels in Antananarivo.

Madagascar - The Island

Man is said to have arrived on Madagascar more than 2,000 years ago; by canoe from Melanesia, Polynesia, Indonesia - and joined later by the Bantu from Africa and Arabian traders - to make up this unique Afro-Asian nation.

The Merina and Betsileo peoples, who live in the interior of Madagascar, are the descendants of these early migrants from Indonesia.

The Portuguese, English, and French all had problems in their early attempts to colonise Madagascar; although the French did manage to hang around for thirty years during the 1600s.

Succeeding Merina monarchs took it in turns to befriend the English or the French, but relations were always strained.

Queen Ranavalona III finally gave in to the French at the end of the 19th century, and the country became known as the Malagasy Republic.

The name reverted back to Madagascar after Independence.

Discover Madagascar

From its Antananarivo hub, Madagascar Airlines operates daily flights to eleven destinations in Madagascar, along with a weekly flight to France and Reunion Island.


Ambatondrazaka is the capital of the Alaotra-Mangoro region.


Antananarivo is the capital and largest city of Madagascar.

Antsiranana (Diégo-Suarez)

A relic of the French colonisation, Antsiranana (Diégo-Suarez) is the main town of Northern Madagascar and third port of the island.

Enjoy a range of nautical and land-based activities amidst staggering landscapes, including the Ramena Beach and its turquoise waters, Amber Mountain, and the Ankarana Massif.

Mahajanga (Majunga)

Located at the mouth of the Betsiboka River, on the northwest coast of Madagascar, Mahajanga is the gateway to a number of nature parks.


Located in Tamatave province, in the north-east of Madagascar, Maroantsetra is a great destination to connect with nature.

Masoala National Park is the country's largest and contains many animal species unique to Madagascar; including the red-ruffed lemur, Madagascar red owl, serpent eagle, and 22 species of rare butterfly.

A dense and rich forest, Masoala National Park has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2007.


Located 700km south-west of Antananarivo, Morondava is the capital of Menabe Region; an area known for its numerous forests (Andranomena, Analabe, Manamby, Kirindy) and its rich fauna and flora.

Nosy Be

Also known as the 'Perfume Island', Nosy Be is the main island of an archipelago which includes the islands of Nosy Komba, Nosy Tanikely, Nosy Sakatia and Nosy Iranja.


The island of Sainte Marie, also called Nosy Boraha, is a destination still spared from mass tourism.


Located at the mouth of three rivers, Sambava is the capital of SAVA (Sambava, Antalaha, Vohemar, and Andapa).

Toamasina (Tamatave)

Located on the east coast of Madagascar, the old town of Toamasina (Tamatave) features Creole houses on stilts.

Toliara (Tuléar)

Located in the the south-west of Madagascar, Tuléar is a melting pot of ethnic groups.

Visit the seaside villages of Ifaty (25km to the north) and Anakao (to the south).

Taolagnaro (Fort-Dauphin)

Taolagnaro is one of the oldest cities in Madagascar.

Its geographical location on a headland at the foot of Peak Saint Louis enabled merchant ships to use it as a supply stop on the route to India.

Madagascar Railway

The train line in Madagascar goes from the capital, Antananarivo, to Toamasina; a seaport on the Indian Ocean.

Madagascar Tourism

Madagascar National Tourism Board

The Office National du Tourisme de Madagascar is located at 29C Antsahavola in Antananarivo.

Madagascar Touring Ideas

From the capital of Madagascar, the Western Tourist Route is the way to go for the main tourist attractions of the region; including river cruises, treks and marine excursions.

The East Coast of Madagascar will surprise you by its richness and variety. To rest from your escapade on the East coast of Madagascar, enjoy the calm and charm of the seaside resorts of Foulpointe and Mahambo.

The Northern Circuit of Madagascar will delight those who cannot choose between the sea's charms and the forests appeal. From Nosy Be to Diego Suarez' bay, passing by the massif of Ankarana, it is the confrontation of the big blue and the big green.

Discover the wild region of South East Madagascar. There are many national parks but also a huge coastline where you'll find dream beaches and the Pangalanes Canal; which crosses the whole eastern and south-east part of the island.

Nosy Komba

Located between the mainland of Madagascar (Ankify peninsula) and the island of Nosy Be, Nosy Komba looks strangely like a turtle shell.

To reach Nosy Komba, transfer from Hell-Ville Nosy Be in a 'collective' pirogue (with other people) from 9:00 am to noon every morning.

Most of the collective boats from Ankify go to the port of Hell-Ville Nosy Be.

If you wish to travel directly to Nosy Komba, without passing through Nosy Be, inform the person in charge of the boat before leaving Ankify.

When to Visit Madagascar

The cyclone season brings the rains to Madagascar from February to March and is a good time for flowering orchids.

Once the rains are finished, the countryside becomes lush and green from April to May.

Animals are least active during June to August (the coldest months), so it's probably best to visit between September and December; after the cool, dry winter but before the hot rainy season.

Things To Do on Holiday in Madagascar

With its exceptional diversity in geography, biodiversity and culture, there's something new for you to do each time you visit Madagascar.

Diving in Madagascar

Madagascar offers outstanding biodiversity amongst its reefs and islands. The coral reefs in this area have not been affected badly by coral bleaching (an effect of global warming) and you may come across almost every species of coral known in the western part of the Indian Ocean.

By boat you may come across dolphins and hump-backed whales, and underwater you may even be lucky enough to spot a whale shark.

Hiking & Walks at Andringitra National Park

The national park was established to protect the fauna and flora in the area. Its main attractions are its landscapes, vegetation and hiking.

The main hiking circuits offer a spectacular adventure of waterfalls, caves, medicinal plants, forests, granite peaks and escarpments, and an encounter with the characteristic ring-tailed lemurs.

Lazy Days at The Beach

Madagascar is famous for its fine white sands and calm, clear waters, making it ideal for a relaxing day at the beach as well as snorkelling when the tide is low.

Some ideals spots to experience the characteristic sandy white beaches include Nosy Ve, and Anakao.

Madagascar’s Unique Wildlife

Madagascar is home to some of the most extraordinary wildlife including lemurs, a rainbow-array of chameleon species and bird species you will find nowhere else in the world.

Berenty Private Reserve is a popular hotspot for wildlife viewing in Madagascar and is most popular for its brown lemur, ring-tailed lemur and sifaka populations.

Madagascar’s Unique Flora

Madagascar’s unique wildlife is sustained by its unique flora. Two recommended spots are Adohahela National Park and Mandena Conservation Zone.

Adohahela National Park

The reserve has three distinct zones of rainforest, spiny forest and the east-west transition forest, which is the last place on earth you will find the Triangle Palm tree.

Mandena Conservation Zone

The zone protects rare littoral forest (similar to coastal rainforest), with 60ha of wetlands. It includes 22 species of endemic flora and 200 large tree species.

Anako Fishing Village

Anakao Ocean Lodge

Anakao Ocean Lodge

Anakao Ocean Lodge: Andovoke Bay, Anakao.

A magical place that by strange and fortunate circumstances has remained an uncontaminated corner away from the more chaotic mass tourism routes.

Nestled in one of the beautiful bays of Madagascar, Anakao Ocean Lodge is protected by a Lagoon and faces the Island of Nosy Ve.

Tombs & Sub-fossil Elephant Bird Eggshells

A day exploring Anakao fishing village by foot is rewarded by discovering some ancient tombs at the peninsula and fragments of sub-fossil eggshells from the extinct Elephant Bird (Aepyornis).

The elephant bird is said to have been so large in size that it could easily carry away a creature the size of an elephant.

Madagascar Language and Culture

The official languages of Madagascar are the Merina dialect of Malagasy - of Malayo-Indonesian origin - and French.

Traditional Music in Madagascar

The 22-string valiha, played at circumcisions and religious ceremonies, is the traditional instrument of Madagascar. It is often produced from an oblong wooden box and bicycle-brake cable.

Cactus Tours

Experience more of Madagascar in a short space of time and get closer to Malagasy culture and life.

Ranked amongst the best tour operators on the island, Cactus Tours Madagascar is considered a reliable partner and holiday maker.

Madagascar Maps and Travel Guides

Lonely Planet Madagascar (Travel Guide) Madagascar (Bradt Travel Guides)

Madagascar Travel - Madagascar Maps.

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