Best Places to Visit in Madagascar
Oh, Madagascar; The mere mention of his name evokes exoticism and tropical images. For centuries, this land has been swarming with giant globe baobabs, stinking lemurs and wiggly indri indris, and has all the elegance of a former French colony, all the wilderness of East Africa, all the warmth and sparkle of the Indians. Ocean sandy beaches; All the traditions of a place are isolated and steeped in tribal history.
This huge island – in fact, the fourth largest island in the world – attracts many different types of travellers. Beach lovers can flock to the sparkling shores of the West Coast for ray snorkeling and whale watching. Adventurers can take to forest trails or go to remote rainforests in the mountains in the cage of the 4WD. History buffs can visit UNESCO sites that showcase the glorious past of the local islanders. Yes, this pearl of the South has something for everyone!
Have a look at our list of the Best Places to Visit in Madagascar and make your trip enjoyable.
10 Best Places to Visit in Madagascar
Let’s explore the top 10 Most Beautiful and Best Places to Visit in Madagascar:
1. Nosy Be
A short drive from the town of Ambanja, bypassing the waters of the Indian Ocean, the beautiful Little Nosy Be is the place to go to Madagascar’s iconic beaches. In the coves and caves that line the coastline, shades of alabaster white shine and look beautiful in small fishing villages like Ambatoloaka or dotted with swaying palms in Ambondrona.
There are also beach parties that erupt every Sunday on the sands of Mady Rockley. And despite Nosy Be’s popularity, it has a chance to be real seclusion – just look at the remote island of Olanka, which remains offshore from the northwest coast.
2. Nosy Mangabe
Nestled among the coastal hills of Helodrano Antongila Bay, which juts inland at the northeastern tip of Madagascar, this small island in the Nosy Mangabe Nature Reserve is a must-see for any wildlife enthusiast visiting these areas. Known for its growing population of bug-eyed lemurs, the site is a picture-perfect picture of the tropics.
Huge fig trees fight among palm trees, hairy lemurs meet mantra frogs in the bushes, and green hills plunge into secluded coves of bright yellow sand. Boats to the island and all necessary permits can be obtained from the nearest town on the mainland, Maro Ansetra.
3. Tsingy de Bemaraha
A truly stunning sight, Tsingy de Bemaraha is Madagascar’s most intriguing natural treasure, consisting of carved rock and towering hoods, Spiers, and massive boulders that are poorly balanced on a cliff. Located in the long green belt of the West Coast Nature Reserve, this resort displays a rugged karst landscape where inland plateaus have been replaced by lush green hills near the coast.
Today it is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site; one of them is marked as rich in biodiversity due to the photogenic nature of its dry deciduous forests, rare rocky habitats and extensive plateaus.
4. Ranomafana National Park
Rano Mafana National Park is a natural gem of Fianarantsoa and is home to Madagascar’s famous golden bamboo lemur, which attracts thousands of people each year to the central woodland of the island’s eastern region. From misty mountain forests to lowland plains, the area intersects with miles of hiking trails carved by roaring waterfalls and filled with colorful lizards. One caveat: Ranomafana’s biggest draw is between mountains and forests, so be sure to bring sturdy boots and strong legs with you!
The capital city of Antananarivo is located in the heart of the country’s highlands, at more than 1,400 meters above sea level, with cold mountain winds for most of the year. But these winds may be the only good thing about the urban landscape, which today is full of traffic and markets.
The old center of the city still shows some vestiges of French colonialism, with elegant – if old – Parisian mansions spilling down the hillside in the center of the city. There are also ancient Madagascar palaces, as well as the famous crocodile farm and many spice curry houses to explore.
Andasibe-Mantadia is one of the most accessible national parks in Madagascar and is within easy reach of day-trippers from the capital. It covers a vast expanse of lush virgin rainforest with a total area of more than 150 square kilometers.
Spread over two distinct areas, from the vast de Mantadia Reserve to the d’Analamazaotra Special Reserve, the entire area displays incredible biodiversity. There are country crabs and even furry Indian monkeys crawling in the jungle, wiggling crowned sifakas. Andasibe-Mantadia has many hiking trails that offer one- to six-hour hikes.
7. Zahamena National Park
Covered with rain clouds and mist and covered with a rolling shadow of emerald green trees, hidden among towering peaks at Madagascar’s eastern tip comes the famous jewel of the Atsinanana rainforest, Zahamena National Park.
At just over 400 square kilometers, it is one of the most inaccessible reserves in the country and one of the most eclectic for birdlife. Yes, red owls and serpent eagles make their way through forests of waxy twigs and ferns, meeting white-eyed indri indri, pygmy lemurs, and other curious monkeys. For the best access to this wilderness, sleep in nearby Vavatenina or Ambatondrazaka.
A popular gateway to Masoala National Park and the aforementioned Nosy Mangabe wilderness, the ancient Maroantsetra is located at the end of the Great Bay of Antongil in northeastern Madagascar. It’s an unpretentious and fun town, with a lively market filled with sweet fruits and colorful vegetables, and muddy streets lined with tin huts. This is also where the meanders of the Antainambalana River finally meet the Indian Ocean, adding to its relaxed riverside appeal.
9. Ile Sainte Marie
Sainte-Marie Island is a thin patch of land along the eastern edge of Madagascar, just across from the whale-pepper waters of Baie de Tintingue. Travel brochures and tropical postcards are sure to be one of the most beautiful residential areas in the country.
Most travelers will disembark between the rickety piers of Ambo di Fortatra and head to secluded coves and beaches to the north and south. These tend to be powdery yellow sands dotted with boulders, surrounded by resorts hidden among coconut palms and the occasional mangrove. Also, don’t miss the Pirate History, best seen at the old Pirate Cemetery!
Tucked between the sandy beaches of Kirindy Mitea National Park to the south and the delta lands of the Andranomena Reserve to the north, Morondava’s main attraction was evident from the outset. That doesn’t mean the center isn’t worth sleeping in – this beachfront destination has beautiful cabins, no-frills guesthouses, and a great backpacker vibe.
However, the resistance on this issue is indisputable. That honor belongs to the venerable Baobab Avenue, bursting with a pile of timber tree trunks on its way to nearby Belloniziri Bisina – definitely not to be missed!
Hope you like our choice of the best places to visit in Madagascar. If you think there are some more beautiful places to visit in Madagascar, we should cover them. Write us below in the comment box.