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The world's number one biodiversity hotspot, the majority of Madagascar's wildlife is found nowhere else on the planet and its lemurs and chameleons are certainly its most compelling zoological draw. It's not difficult to be impressed by Madagascar's landscape and wildlife: of its 200,000 different species, more than 80% are unique to the island, and its diverse habitats include rainforest, desert, swamp and coral reef. There are sea eagles, orchids, magroves and huge boabab trees, and then the 4,827km of white sand, palm-fringed beaches, mountains, waterfalls and traditional villages. Madagascar's lack of large carnivorous mammals is also its virtue: in continental Africa the threat of an attack often confines you to a Jeep, whereas here expeditions can be made on foot and at night.
Andasibe National Park is a great park to start exploring Madagascar as it is home to a variety of birds, including the very elusive, wide-eyed aye-aye. Take time from your travels around Madagascar to spend some time in Nosy Be where ylang-ylang blossoms scent the air or the Ifotaka Community Forest, which is a true example of how tourism and communities can work to benefit one another. Half the fun of Madagascar's many activities is getting there, and those who relish a chance for adventure will be spoilt for choice: off-road driving, almost deserted national parks, regions so remote they require privately chartered flights or boats to get you there. And once you have gone hell for leather with all that Madagascar has to offer, a relaxing stay on one of its beautiful beaches is the ideal end to an exhilarating adventure.
Madagascar with A&K
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 an Abercrombie & Kent Madagascan holiday, tour or honeymoon 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.
A holiday to Madagascar with Abercrombie & Kent 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.
Our experts can tailor-make the perfect holiday to suit your individual requirements, however, if you need inspiration or a starting point, below are some of our suggested trips and experiences:
Nights: 26 | from £80,689pp
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Holiday type: Group departure
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Robin Spanner provided excellent service overall. We received our initial itinerary within 24 hours of our inquiry and subsequent amendments were dealt with even quicker.
- RF, Abingdon