Fantastically beautiful and completely unspoilt – the island of Madagascar is all about sun-kissed beaches, avenues of baobabs, thick rainforests, and deep blue seas. The perfect destination for adventure junkies, there is a lot of hiking, trekking, rock climbing, swimming, and canoeing that you can do while exploring the far reaches of this island nation. Vivid frogs, graceful turtles, fossae and of course, the signature lemur, are some of the interesting and rare animals found in Madagascar. The sacred hills of Antananarivo, the pirate history of Ile Sante Marie, the limestone pinnacles of Tsingy de Bemraha, the Mantadia Park, and the Analamazaotra Reserve should feature prominently on any trip to this island.
When to visit Madagascar
Madagascar has two distinct seasons: a hot rainy season and a cooler dry season. The weather of this island nation is influenced a lot by winds that originate over the Indian Ocean. The best time to visit Madagascar would be anytime between April and December, which experience warm temperatures and cool nights. January to March is the cyclone season and is best avoided, as it gets very rainy.
How to reach Madagascar
Ivato International Airport is the primary international airport serving Madagascar. It is located close to the capital city of Antananarivo and is the hub for the national airline, Air Madagascar. Almost all major cities in the world have regular flights to Madagascar. More than 90 weekly connecting flights to Ivato Airport are available from New Delhi. The major airlines
flying on this route are Air Seychelles, Jet Airways
, Etihad Airways
, Emirates, and Air India
. Nearly 70 flights operate from Mumbai to Madagascar, every week.
Hotels in Madagascar
Accommodation options in Madagascar are just as unique as the island itself. Stay at plantation-style guesthouses, boutique hotels, homestays or luxury resorts the overlooking bay, and add charm to your vacation. Prices range from INR 700 to INR 5,000 in most of the cities and towns of Madagascar. The capital city, Antananarivo, also has a range of business-class hotels and 5-star hotels for those wishing to splurge on their holiday.
Attractions in Madagascar
Madagascar is truly exotic, because its unique flora and fauna cannot be found elsewhere in the world.
Antananarivo is one of the most vibrant cities in the African continent, endowed with many historic, architectural, and cultural sites. This charming hillside city is dotted with many palaces, like the Queen’s Palace, Prime Minister Rainilaiarivony Palace, and Justice Palace. The cobbled streets lined with many beautiful churches are sights worth seeing, while in this city.
Nosy Be is a beautiful resort town on the coast of Madagascar, well-known for its sunny beaches and tropical climate. The sea near this town is shallow for many miles, making it an ideal for a long relaxing swim.
An interesting way to explore Madagascar is to go on a river tour in canoes or pirogue, and camping out in the open at night. Tsiribihina River is a famous spot for such tours. Isalo National Park, Andasibe National Park, Tsingy de Bemaraha, and Ranomafana National Park are some of the popular wildlife parks in Madagascar.
What to buy in Madagascar
There are so many items you can buy in Madagascar, limited only by your budget and flight plans. Pick up some exotic spices, unusual pickles, jams, and a bottle or two of flavored rum as souvenirs from Madagascar. Hand-woven baskets, raffia rugs, colorful fabrics, wood carvings, silk scarves, and embroidered linen are some of the other sought-after items from this island nation.
What to eat in Madagascar
Malagasy cuisine is not very spicy, but they have some interesting flavors to tempt visitors. Some of the must-try dishes of Madagascar are Zebu, Koba, Sambos, Romazava, Varanga, Sesika, Smalona, Lasary, Khimo, and Kabaro. Although strictly vegetarian food may not be mentioned on the menus, you can get it on request.
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