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Travel Guide: Madagascar Highlights

12th Oct 2011 2:01am | By Editor

Attractions in Madagascar is as diverse as its animals and plants.

Ifaty

Ifaty offers white sandy beaches for sun seekers and coral reefs to dive on for adventure seekers. The reef extends for about 100 kilometres and creates a barrier which limits large waves crashing onto large parts of the south western coast of Madagascar, making it ideal for leisure sailing and other water sports like paddling in colourful duout canoes or snorkelling. Fishing is said to be just as good.

The whole area called Ifaty includes the villages of Ifaty, Mangilly and Mandio Rano. While the villages can be explored all year round, the temptation of lazing in the beach is just as great. For those who wants to plan their itinerary well in advance, remember that Ifaty offers great whale-watching in July and August every year.

Parc National de Ranomafana

A visit to Madagascar will not be complete without spotting lemurs. These small beady-eyed primates are, after all, endemic to Madagascar and the Comoros and you will not have the opportunity to see their treetop acrobatics anywhere else in the world.

The Park National de Ranomafana was proclaimed in 1991 to protect 41,500 hectares of rainforest riddled with small streams. 
It is possible to see up to 12 lemur species within a few days. Another attraction is the Malagasy striped civet, over 100 tropical bird species and colourful chameleons.

The park is ideal for driving, but also offer great hiking routes. Be sure to visit the hot spring after which the park is named. 
Permits are compulsory and are available at the Angap office.

Antananarivo

The locals call their capital - lined with cobbled streets and wooden houses - ‘Tana’. And we can be thankful for that because it can be somewhat of a tong twister.

Tana is built on a hillsides surrounded by rice paddies and has a distinct European – or “un-African” - atmosphere. It was founded in the early 1600’s after a Malagasy king conquered surrounding villages.

Tana has one of the largest markets in the world: the zoma (Friday in Malagasy). It is well worth a visit because it will give you the opportunity to discover Malagasy handcrafts as thousands of people line up to sell hats, bags, mats, carpets, pieces of embroidery, silver jewels, curios, solitaires, leather goods and wood sculptures.

Also visit the Rova of Antananarivo or ‘Queen’s Palace’. This royal palace on the highest point in the city is the former home of the monarchs of Madagascar.

The best way to explore Tana is by foot, but keep in mind that some of the hills can be steep.

Parc National De L’Isalo

The Parc National de L'Isalo situated in the Toliara province to the south of Madagascar has a diverse terrain of sandstone formations and deep canyons that breaks the grassy plains of the plateaux near the town of Ranohira.

The parks hosts various species of birds, reptiles, frogs and the main attraction - lemur.

The area is said to be one of the best places in the world to enjoy sunsets because the sandstone cliffs turn red in the late afternoons.