Madagascar is a country of unique and vibrant wildlife and geography. From limestone formations to large-eyed and bushy-tailed lemurs to postcard beaches, Madagascar offers its visitors so much. Immerse yourself in the Malagasy culture, itself a blend of different ethnic groups such as East African, Indonesian, Chinese and Indian. Relax on sandy beaches or be active as you trek through rainforests and nature parks to discover Madagascar's natural beauty. The choice is yours.
Finding direct flights to Madagascar from the UK is very difficult, as most routes involve stopovers. A standard one-stop flight to the capital of Antananarivo will generally take about 19 hours. Airlines such as Air France, KLM, British Airways and Air Madagascar will get you there, but the best way to find a variety of flight routes, as well as cheap flight options, would be to use a travel comparison website such as dealchecker.
The domestic airline Air Madagascar operates a fairly extensive network of flight routes, for those who want the quickest way to get from destination to destination. Otherwise, certain bus companies offer long-distance bus services; these services are relatively comfortable and reliable.
Taxi-brousse are the most popular local ground transport. These vans are found throughout the country and fares are usually set in advance. This is the best way to really immerse yourself in the country's way of life and rub shoulders with the locals. Also don't expect your taxi-brousse to leave as soon as you board; most drivers will wait till their vans are completely filled before departing. While it is possible to hire a car in Madagascar, the often hazardous realities of the roads might mean you'll be safer off as a passenger!
The Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict Nature Reserve is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Madgascar's biggest attractions. Located in the country's west, the reserve is home to unique limestone pinnacles known as tsingy, as well as a healthy lemur population. You'll be sure to have some once-in-a-lifetime photos!
For a 'tropical paradise' experience, head to Ifaty, situated on the south-west coastline. Here you'll be spoiled with golden and white sandy beaches, crystal clear water and palm trees to laze under. Then head to the nearby spiny forest for a change of scene; nature lovers will be thrilled with the unique flora, including the ancient baobab trees.
Yet more natural beauty is on offer in Madagascar. The Parc National de Ranomafana in the country's south-east is a large nature park dominated by a lush rainforest. Inhabitants include different species of lizards, chameleons, fish, bird and lemurs; guided walks are available, so you can get help spotting and identifying these creatures!