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Famed for its flora - you won't find most of it anywhere else on earth - lauded for its lemurs and loved for its landscapes, Madagascar is a compelling destination and total one-off. But to get the most from this intoxicating Indian Ocean island, you need the most experienced specialist guides - A&K guides - who can explain its amazing, sometimes mind-boggling sights.
We us highly qualified experts to unlock Madagascar's secrets; naturalists and botanists who transmit their passion and knowledge. Add in the best 4WD vehicles - crucial for the more remote terrain - and well-established contacts, and we can provide exclusive experiences off limits to most travellers, along with seamless connections to East Africa.
Take a luxury Abercrombie & Kent Madagascan holiday, tour or honeymoon in 2014 and prepare for your senses to go into overdrive. Outside Antananarivo, whose red clay houses and churches cluster over 12 hills, it has several fabulously diverse national parks. Much photographed Amber Mountain has vast bird's nest ferns and strangler figs, along with tiny 2cm-long chameleons among peaks spiking to 1,500m. Andasibe's mountains are slightly lower, its lemurs slightly more famous - the Indri can rocket 10m off the ground and its eerie singing is heard 3km away. The park's home to the Aye Aye, a lemur with an extra thin ET like middle finger for grub hunting.
There's also Masoala, where, along with the rare red-ruffed, and woolly nocturnal, lemurs, you'll find mountainous valleys dropping down to white beaches. Its pretty spectacular at Isalo too, a sacred burial site where wind has sculpted sandstone canyons into natural Henry Moores - an al fresco gallery for the rare Elephant Foot climbing plant. And if you like your wildlife in a photogenic setting, head to Anjajavy Private Reserve, home to the tiny mouse lemur, where forests, mangroves and limestone rock formations end in stunning sandy coves.
But an A&K package can also deliver history (Fort Dauphin was founded in the 17th century by the French East India Company), local culture (Ifotaka Community Forest is home to the Antandroy tribe and numerous bird species) and scent (Nosy Be island's air is heavy with ylang ylang, vanilla and pepper).
Madagascar offers a riot of multi-sensory experiences, and with A&K they're all possible.
14 hours 20 minutes (via Johannesburg)
GMT +3 hours
Issued on arrival
Yellow Fever certificate required if arriving from an endemic area
Best time to travel
April - November
Due to the size of the country, Madagascar experiences a range of climatic conditions. The heaviest rainfall tends to fall on the east coast and in the north particularly through the cyclone season between December and March. The highlands and parts of the south west remain fairly dry year round although sharp showers can be experienced in Fort Dauphin area.
What can I say? Eleanor you have been to the Galapagos so you know all about it. What I will say is that is was an unforgettable experience and something that will stay with us forever.
Thanks for organising the holiday Eleanor Mawer and thanks to A&K
- RY, Berkshire
Suggested itineraries in Madagascar
Islands, Savannas & the Amazon: Around the World by Private Jet
Nights: 25 | from £70,600
An incredible around-the-world trip by private jet taking in spectacular destinations, like Samoa, Papua New Guinea, Bali, Sri Lanka, Kenya and Monaco over 25 nights.
Nights: 12 | from £2,785
Spend 12 nights discovering magical Madagascar including the capital Antananarivo, the Mandrare River and birding trips into the wetlands of Manafiafy.
Suggested accommodation in Madagascar
Constance Tsarabanjina Lodge
Manafiafy Beach & Rainforest Lodge
Mandrare River Camp
Masoala Forest Lodge
Vakona Forest Lodge