As the fourth largest island on earth, home to 18 fascinating tribal cultures and five contrasting geographical regions, Madagascar’s diversity is simply stunning.
It is truly a lost world, with relics of fauna and flora dating back to the world of dinosaurs. Every creature and plant is just a little off centre and like nothing anywhere else on earth, making it a naturalist’s paradise.
The island features every kind of environment from dry desert to dense mountain forest and is home to over 70 varieties of lemur, over 120 endemic bird species and the distinctive baobab trees. It has the greatest diversity of chameleons in the world, including the world’s smallest and largest, and there are also a number of reptiles, mammals and plants waiting to be discovered on adventurous Cox & Kings holidays to Madagascar.
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Currency: Malagasy Ariary
Flying time from London: 14 hours
Official language(s): Malagasy and French
Time difference: +3 GMT
Visa requirements: Visa required for UK passport holders.
The Madagascar Experts
Our experts will be delighted to tailor a completely personalised itinerary to suit your interests, dates and budget.
Madagascar’s natural history is its most remarkable asset. Varying habitats ranging from rainforests and mountains to deserts and mangrove swamps are home to over 200,000 species, many of which are unique to the island. Over 90% of the islands chameleons and frogs are endemic but the star attraction that brings visitors to Madagascar time and time again is the 70 different species of lemur.
Learn about local culture
The Ifotaka Community Forest is an admirable government initiative which engages the local Antandroy people in harvesting forest products from some areas, while elsewhere the forest is left intact for eco-tourism. The cultural activities, based around the local Antandroy tribe are exceptional. Spend a morning at the colourful, buzzing and utterly authentic local market, or take a walk with an Antandroy guide into the sacred forests where you will find huge individually decorated tombs.
Spot humpback whales
From June to September the 20 metre long humpbacked whales come from Antarctica to the waters of Madagascar to give birth or to look for a mate. The whales may be watched in the waters around Nosy Be, Tuléar, Fort-Dauphin and Manafiafy or Morondava, while the two major spots for whale watching are the Bay of Antongil and Sainte Marie Island.
Go bird watching
There are plenty of unique bird watching opportunities on the island as it is home to over 270 bird species of which 120 species are endemic. To see a fair variety Madagascar’s endemic birds you will need to visit three separate areas the eastern rainforest, the southern ‘spiny forest’ and the western dry deciduous forests.
Take to the beach
The beaches of Madagascar are the perfect place to relax after a wildlife tour or island adventure and many are untouched and undeveloped. From the beaches you can discover the reefs that surround the island and see for yourself the vibrant corals and abundance of bright tropical fish.
The latest from Compass - our online travel magazine
"A good holiday which provided an excellent introduction to Madagascar, in a short space of time. The holiday was well planned, which meant that I was able to see a lot in one week. The tour manager was really excellent - one of the best tour managers I have had on a holiday of this kind.
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