With biodiversity to rival the Galapagos Islands, towns of colonial magnificence, beautiful beaches of golden sand and a remarkable culture influenced by Europe, Africa and the East, Madagascar's rare riches are well worth discovering. Venture into national parks to experience profound moments in nature, mellow out on idyllic islands, stroll through heritage towns and spot quirky wildlife not found anywhere else on this earth - Madagascar showcases the very best of our wild, weird but oh so wonderful world.
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a top trip: experience madagascar
Posted on Thu, 11 Nov 2010 by Sue Elliot
If you want a book that ignites your pure passion for adventure, then you can’t go past Hunting Pirate Heaven, that follows the trail of old pirates to Madagascar. And [...]Read more
At a glance
- Trips Available:
- Capital city:
- Antananarivo (population 1 million)
- 21 million
- French, Malagasy
- Time zone:
- (GMT+03:00) Nairobi
- Type C (European 2-pin) Type D (Old British 3-pin) Type E (French 2-pin, female earth) Type J (Swiss 3-pin) Type K (Danish 3-pin)
- Dialing code:
Best time to visit Madagascar
With such a unique ecosystem and environment, travelling to Madagascar at different times of the year offers a variety of challenges and benefits. September to November is considered one of the best times to visit, as these months sit right in between the cool, dry winter and the hot, rainy season. This time is also considered the best time to view birdlife. July to August offers cooler temperatures and the best chances for whale watching on the coast. January to March is cyclone season, but this is also the best time to see flowering orchids.
Geography and environment
Top 5 Strange Species of Madagascar
1. Fat-Tailed Dwarf Lemur
Known to hibernate for up to eight months of the year, this cute critter lives off fat reserves stored in its hefty tail - saved especially for these months of inactivity.
2. Aye Aye
This odd-looking lemur can be found mainly on east coast of Madagascar. While it won't win any beauty contests, it can lay claim to being the largest nocturnal primate in the world. Its unique way of finding food (knocking on trees then gnawing through the wood to access the hidden grubs) makes the aye aye similar to the woodpecker.
With a cat-like body and a dog-like face, this strange beast endemic to Madagascar is actually closely related to the mongoose species. A carnivorous predator, the fossa roams forests day and night in search of prey - preferably lemurs, rodents and other small mammals.
This bizarre little species can bare resemblance to many different animals due to the unique circumstances of its evolution. Sharing ancestry with animals as diverse as elephants, sea cows and aardvarks, most tenrecs look like small hedgehogs or otters and can range in size from a tiny 4cm to a robust 39cm.
5. Satanic Leaf-Tailed Gecko
Home to a whole raft of interesting and unusual reptiles, Madagascar's most devilish creation has to be the satanic leaf-tailed gecko. With red eyes, a tail shaped like a leaf and a head like Lucifer, it's no wonder locals are afraid of them.
FAQs on Madagascar
Snack at a market = 200-500 MGA
Bottle of beer in a restaurant or bar = 4,000 MGA
Basic meal in a café or restaurant = 8,000-12,000 MGA
For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance
Mar 29 Commemoration of the 1947 Rebellion
Apr 1 Easter Monday
May 1 Labour Day
May 9 Ascension Day
Jun 26 Independence Day
Aug 15 Assumption
Nov 1 All Saints' Day
Dec 25 Christmas Day
Please note these dates are for 2013. For a current list of public holidays go to: http://www.worldtravelguide.net/madagascar/public-holidays
Australia: Yes - Visa required
Belgium: Yes - Visa required
Canada: Yes - Visa required
Germany: Ye - Visa required
Ireland: Yes - Visa required
Netherlands: Yes - Visa required
New Zealand: Yes - Visa required
South Africa: Yes - Visa required
Switzerland: Yes - Visa required
United Kingdom: Yes - Visa required
USA: Yes - Visa required
All nationalities require a visa for Madagascar. If you have an embassy in your home country you can obtain the visa prior to departure. 30 day tourist Visas are also available for most nationalities on arrival at Antananarivo airport. Currently the visa fee has been suspended. Visa and other entry and exit conditions change regularly so we recommend that you contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Madagascar for the most up to date information.
Health and Safety
Intrepid takes the health and safety of its travellers seriously, and takes every measure to ensure that trips are safe, fun and enjoyable for everyone. We recommend that all travellers check with their government or national travel advisory organisation for the latest information before departure:
From New Zealand?
Go to: http://www.voyage.gc.ca/
Go to: http://travel.state.gov/
Go to: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/
The World Health Organisation
also provides useful health information:
Go to: http://www.who.int/en/
Madagascar Travel Tips
Intrepid is committed to travelling in a way that is respectful of local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. It's important to remember that what may be acceptable behaviour, dress and language in your own country, may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while travelling.
Top responsible travel tips for Madagascar
1. Be considerate of Madagascar’s customs, traditions, religion and culture.
2. Dress modestly and respectfully. Shoulders to knees should be covered, especially when entering places of worship.
3. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water.
4. Always dispose of litter thoughtfully, including cigarette butts.
5. Learn some local language and don't be afraid to use it - simple greetings will help break the ice.
6. Shop for locally made products. Supporting local artisans helps keep traditional crafts alive.
7. Refrain from supporting businesses that exploit or abuse endangered animals.
8. Please ask and receive permission before taking photos of people, including children.
9. When on community visits or homestays, refrain from giving gifts or money to locals.
10. Madagascar is one of the world's most bio-diverse places. Let's keep it that way by not removing any flowers, leaves, coral, wood or organic materials from the island.
|The Eighth Continent||Peter Tyson|
|Lords and Lemurs||Alison Jolly|
|Antipode||Heather E. Heying|
|Flashman's Lady||George MacDonald Fraser|
|The Sapphire Sea||John B. Robinson|