Although Madagascar has over 1,800 miles of beautiful beaches and exceptionally good food, its greatest attractions are its UNIQUE flora and fauna. The clickable map below highlights most of the protected areas. Among the discoveries that await you there:
LEMURS: These prosimian primates are found wild only in Madagascar.
Some of the best known are:
EXOTIC BIRDS: Five families of birds are endemic to Madagascar. Notable are:
- the nocturnal dwarf lemurs, no bigger than a mouse, found all over the island
- the ring-tailed lemurs, most famously seen in the Berenty Reserve
- the agile sifaka, which leaps 30 feet or more from branch to branch
- the babakoto, "indri", the largest living lemur, most easily seen in the Analamazaotra Reserve ("Perinet")
- the aye-aye, most unique of all living lemurs, protected on the island of Nosy Mangabe and other protected areas.
RARE PLANTS: Madagascar boasts one of the richest floras in the world with more than 10,000 species of vascular plants, over 80% of which are endemic to the island, including:
- the marvelous vangas, found all over the island
- the couas, including the beautiful crested coua, and the peewit, easily identified by its unique call
- the Coracidae, sedentary insect feeders with brightly colored plumage
- an abundance of aquatic birds in rice paddies and marshes, including herons, egrets, cormorants, ibises, ducks, water hens and flamingoes
- birds of prey, such as eagles, falcons, and owls
- more than 70 species of singing birds, including the two species of vasa parrots
Reptiles (including chameleons, geckoes, turtles and tortoises),
amphibians (including brightly colored frogs), beautiful butterflies, moths and stick
insects, unique mammals such as the fossa, fantastic coral reefs,
whales during the breeding season, and so much more ...
- 1,000 different species of orchids, including the Comet Orchid (Angraecum sesquipedale), the hawkmoth pollinated species with an extraordinarily long nectar spur and the exotic Black Orchid (Cymbidiella falcigera); both are found in the eastern rain forests
- Ravenala madagascariensis, or "traveler's palm", a striking "tree" with a water-storing trunk, in the bird-of-paradise family
- Raphia farinifera, the raffia palm, found throughout the East
- 6 different species of baobabs, all of which are found only in Madagascar
- Two species of the carnivorous genus Nepenthes, or "pitcher plant"
- the spiny forest of the South, with its many species of Kalanchoe, Aloe, Euphorbia and Pachypodium
ARE YOU READY FOR MADAGASCAR?
Domestic flight cancellations, delays and occasional last-minute changes are to this day part of traveling in Madagascar, so potential visitors should be mentally ready for such mishaps to avoid unhappy experiences. Visitors should also be aware of the health hazards, lack of safety equipment, life jackets and/or rafts in boats and other embarkations; of the scarcity of medical facilities outside of Antananarivo and the fact that the medical facilities available in the capital may not be up to international standards. In other words, traveling to Madagascar remains an adventure.
If one requires more than basic comfort (food and shelter), expects one's trip to happen exactly as outlined in the brochure and is shaken by unexpected, sometimes drastic changes, or is not in good health or physical condition, then Madagascar -- at this time -- is not the right destination.
If, on the other hand, one has a spirit of adventure akin to that of the early explorers, is willing to accept and trade some aggravation and discomfort for incredible flora and unique wildlife in a pristine land, and welcomes the unexpected as the very essence of adventure travel, then Madagascar will prove to be the destination of a lifetime.