The island nation of Madagascar is one of the most popular safari destinations in Africa. The nation is positively bursting with unique wildlife, and the biodiversity is truly amazing. While many vacationers are interested in viewing the magnificent lemurs that make their homes there, they'll also have an opportunity to see amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. The Madagascar National Parks Association manages the nature reserves and national parks.
Madagascar offers a number of nature reserves that are perfect for safaris of all kinds. The Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict Nature Reserve is popular for its karst limestone formations and mangrove forests. While the karst topography is somewhat menacing, it is wonderfully set up for tourists who wish to do a bit of overland hiking. The reserve is also home to a wide array of birds and lemurs, which are best glimpsed in the twilight hours around dusk and dawn. Lokobe Reserve is a similarly beautiful wilderness area in northwestern Madagascar. Tourists who head to the reserve will be treated to black lemurs, brightly colored chameleons and various other unique reptiles.
A number of reserves have been set up specifically to preserve endangered species. Maningoza Nature Reserve, for example, offers majestic savanna landscapes that are among the last of their kind in the world. Ankarana Special Reserve, which is located in the far northern reaches of Madagascar, is home to nearly a dozen different lemur species. The fat-tailed dwarf lemur, for example, is rarely seen during the daytime. Tourists who make the trek to Ankarana will have a chance to observe one of the smallest and rarest primates on the planet.
Amber Mountain National Park is popular for its lush rainforests, beautiful waterfalls and breathtaking crater lakes. The park is home to 59 species of reptiles and 75 species of birds. Amber Mountain is, in fact, one of the most easily accessible locations in all of Madagascar. Safari participants might especially enjoy the jackfruit trees, which are widespread in the area. Isalo National Park is another great destination for tourists who are eager to see wildlife. Isalo is marked by large sandstone formations, beautiful canyons and expansive grasslands. Individuals can spot the ring-tailed lemur, the red-fronted lemur, the red-tailed sportive lemur and the Malagsay rainbow frog.
Fun in the Sun
While the safari opportunities in Madagascar are magnificent, visitors might also want to spend some time on the island's world-class beaches. Nosy Be is the best place to begin. The resort area has a number of boutique hotels that should suit families of all kinds. Ile Sainte-Marie, on the other hand, is a secluded island off the east coast that is perfect for whale watching. Many of the more isolated beach outposts are crawling with ghost crabs and other interesting marine species.
The Bottom Line
Whether tourists are interested in traditional safaris, jungle treks or romantic interludes at one of the beach resorts, the lovely island of Madagascar has it all. By planning ahead and developing an itinerary months in advance, travelers will be able to hit all of the geographical highlights without missing a beat.