Located off the eastern coast of Africa, this island accounts for nearly the size of France and is also the third-largest island in the world with a population of 20 million people. Tourism as an industry is not flourishing to the extent of other western countries here and there are lots of reasons for it. One being the road conditions and the other being getting into the country is also quite expensive because of the flight pricing. But if you are well-travelled and planning to visit one place which you can remember for a lifetime and at the same time feel peaceful while you are at the destination, then Madagascar is THE place to go.
Madagascar is raw, barely explored and the place is on very few people’s radars and that makes it even more special to visit. This country is more for solo travellers as the tourism infrastructure is like that. All this said, Let’s look at the 10 must-do experiences in Madagascar.
1. Visit the V.O.I.M.M.A Community Park in Andasibe
Within minutes of setting out on the rainforest, you will be able to see families of brown lemurs above the tree branches in this community park. The abbreviation of this VOIMMA is “Vondron’olona Ifotony Mitia sy Miaro ny Ala” translating to “Local people love the forest”. The forest itself is part of community-driven conservation and a sustainable tourism program launched in 2012 by around 4000 villagers. The goal of the local community is to work together to protect the rainforests which are remaining using the income from the park fees and walks.
2. Admire the largest and smallest chameleons in the world
It’s quite rare to have an encounter with a Parsons Chameleon. It is considered as the largest chameleon species in the world by weight. If you are lucky and can look close enough you will also be able to spot the Brookesia minima which is 3 to 4 millimetres long and is a Madagaskar dwarf chameleon.
3. Taste The zebu, ravitoto and traditional Malagasy Madagascar cuisine
When you are in Madagascar, you should eat as Malagasy eat. If you are a meat-eater, then you are in the perfect place, whereas if you are a vegetarian then you are not going to enjoy the gastronomical experience very much. Try zebu filet or steak served with a mustard sauce which people have said its quite tasty.
4. Make a Visit to a Local Shaman
Even if you are heartbroken people say a local shaman can heal you. Just a small climb up a wooden ladder staircase where the consultation rooms are, these people help locals with different body ailments both physical and emotional. They use natural herbs and traditional methods to prepare the medicine and all the herbs and plants are from the Madagascar forests.
5. Experience the Rice Fields en route to Fiadanana Village
If you are able to catch a glimpse of it from above, you will be surprised at the Rice Fields arrangement. The cultivation is very similar to the ones of South East Asia and China and that is the reason being this island’s first inhabitants from Austronesia (Malaysia and Indonesia). It has more than 2000 years of history to it and is still in use today. After enjoying the views of terraced fields, just walk for an hour and a half to the nearest Village homestay where you can spend the night.
6. Explore the Canyons and sandstone cliffs of Isalo National Park
Madagascar environmental diversity is spread across the country. Arid deserts yield and waterfall draped oases via river canyon paths, is one way of describing this park. Consisting of several medicinal trees and elephant foot plants this park also marks the unique traditions of the Bara Tribe which they shaped according to this area’s landscape and geography.
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7. Take a ride in a Bollywood-style Zebu cart
Get to the baobab forest by local transport, a zebu-drawn cart. If you are lucky you can be adorned with Indian-style art and imagery. Of course, you have to accept and suffer a lot of bounce but the experience is one you will never forget.
8. Nosy Be
Nosy Be is the place to go if you love beaches and if you are in Madagascar. With miles of white sand beaches in a more upscale western environment, you will be able to find some expensive restaurants and big resorts with lots of couples and families. Make sure to try scuba diving, snorkelling if you are into water sports.
9. Ranomafana National Park
A very good example of a tropical cloud forest, Ranomafana National Park is very famous in Madagascar next to Isalo. You will be able to spot twelve species of lemurs and not just that, you can see the famous giraffe beetles and lots of bird species. Due to its popularity, a certain number of people can only visit this park on a day to day basis so please keep that in mind if you are planning to visit this national park, you have to plan in advance.
10. Go whale watching
Between June and November, about 7,000 humpback whales migrate from Antarctica to Madagascar for breeding. This is one of the best places to view the whales because anywhere in the world during Whale Watching seasons people will be flocking like crazy and you will be one among the lakhs of boats operating in the sea whereas this place is not like that and you will feel a lot closer to the whales.
Madagascar has a lot to see and do. Despite the years of environmental degradation (which remains a serious problem even now), you can still see a lot of wonderful native plants and exotic animals that can be found only on this island and not anywhere else in the world. Just remember the drives are going to be longer than you expect, but it will all be worth it in the end. All this being said start planning your vacation to Africa with Pickyourtrial right away! Please leave a Whatsapp inquiry for more options.
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