Madagascar: what to see, when to go and how to organize a trip

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Aina Martin

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Madagascar is a dream destination for lovers of nature and the outdoors. Lemurs, baobabs, rainforests, beaches, deserts, hiking and diving are just some of the attractions and things to see on this beautiful island.

Every year thousands of Spaniards choose this African island for travel and holidays. Traveling to Madagascar is an adventure. It is a country where you can enjoy nature, with the five senses, few places in the world offer such an intense kaleidoscopy of nature.

In addition to the scenic beauty, there is also a lot of history to discover: from the 12 sacred hills of Antananarivo, to the pirate cemetery of Ile Sainte Marie, to the trace of a Madagascar industrial revolution in Mantasoa.

Madagascar was populated by successive waves of immigrants from various corners of the Indian Ocean, each bringing their own customs and beliefs. This cultural melting pot has evolved into an intricate set of beliefs and rituals, leading to the reverence of the spirits of ancestors.

It is difficult for travelers to get used to the idea and the central role that death plays in the daily life of the locals. It is often an opportunity to review one's beliefs and attend a famadihana (traditional exhumation and burial) or a traditional circumcision ceremony which can be the highlight of a trip.

Where is Madagascar located

Madagascar located in the Indian Ocean off the eastern coast of Africa is an ideal destination for adventure holidays or relaxing honeymoons in luxurious resorts. It is the fourth largest island in the world and it is important to have a good geographical idea of ​​the country, to plan well the destinations and destinations to touch on the journey.

Where is Madagascar located

What to see and do

It is difficult to discover the whole island in one trip, Madagascar is the fourth largest island in the world and its roads are not exactly optimal. Therefore, the best choice is to focus on certain destinations or book one of the tours.

Flora and fauna

Flora and fauna are one of the main attractions of the country. Madagascar is unique, 5% of all known plant and animal species can be found here and only here. The fauna and flora are wonderful, accompanied by epic landscapes with an incredible diversity: you can go from the rainforest to the desert in just 300 km.

In Madagascar there are 19 nature parks, 5 nature reserves and 21 special reserves. But for those who love adventure, off-road driving is one of a kind. There are national parks that only see 100 visitors a year, regions that live in self-sufficiency during the rainy season, and resorts whose only means of being reached is by private plane or boat.

Baobab in Madagascar -


With 5.000 kilometers of coastline, 450km of coral reefs and 250 islands, no stay in Madagascar would be complete without a couple of days on the island's shores. On the beach you can relax in the sun, take a pleasant swim or do one of the many activities.

Water sports and activities

Divers can enjoy the varied choice of places to explore, from underwater “cathedrals” to the chance to see whale sharks, reef sharks and many other types of sharks.

Snorkellers will be impressed by the sheer grace of turtles and admiring the rainbow of colors that the corals and fish create. For anyone wishing to keep their heads above the water, the idyllic beaches will prove difficult to resist.

On the beach you can relax in the hammocks, you can take part in trips on pirogues (canoes) for a fishing trip, go by boat to explore the nearby islands or go whale-watching on a boat to admire the most spectacular and majestic animals of nature .

When to go

The climate of Madagascar is tropical along the coast while inland it is temperate and arid in the south. The climate is dominated by the southeastern trade winds that originate in the Indian Ocean anticyclone, a center of high atmospheric pressure that changes its position on the ocean seasonally.

The combination of southeastern trade winds and northwestern monsoons produces a warm, rainy season, which runs from November to April, and a relatively cooler dry season, which runs from May to October.

And the cool season is the best time to visit Madagascar, while in the hot season, besides the rain, cyclones can also happen. The dry season is pleasant and sunny, even if a little cool, especially in the morning.

How to organize a trip to Madagascar

Here is a short guide to organize a trip or vacation on this magnificent African island.

Required documents

To enter Madagascar you need a passport with residual validity of at least 6 months. The Visa it can be picked up directly upon arrival at one of the 2 international airports: Antananarivo and Nosy be.

It is necessary that there is a free page in the passport, it is also important to have the return flight ticket. THE visa costs are the following:

tourist visa for stays up to 30 days € 35.

tourist visa for longer stays up to 60 dailyi € 40.

How to get to Madagascar

If you exclude the link by sea from Toamasina, on the east coast, to Mauritius via Reunion, the only way to reach Madagascar from Spain is by plane.

Madagascar has two international airports: Ivato Airport, near the capital Antananarivo and Fascene Airport, located in the north of the country, near Nosy Be.

At the moment the only ones flights they are operated by the airline Neos and connect with Nosy Be. To reach the capital Antananarivo you need to make 1 stopover. The airlines operating this connection are: Air Madagascar via Paris CDG, Air France via Paris CDG, Ethiopian Airlines via Addis Ababa and Turkish Airlines via Istanbul.


How to get around: better a tour, a rental car, the train or the plane?

Except if you reach Nosy Be directly, and you are aiming for a holiday of relaxation, sun, beach and sea, getting information on how to get around Madagascar is very important, also considering that the island is very large.

By car

The roads in Madagascar are not the best, but car rental can be a good choice if you want to visit the country in complete freedom. The rental cost is not exactly cheap, but if you are traveling with more people, the cost per person per day is not high.

Check rates and rates for car rental in Madagascar


By train

One of the cheapest ways to get around Madagascar is by train. It can be very interesting to visit the country by train, you can admire the various landscapes and discover even better the local population. However, it should be noted that the trains have low speeds and there are few railway lines on the island.

By plane

The fastest way to move between the various areas of the island is certainly the plane, but it is also the most expensive way. The only route with cheaper prices is from Antananarivo to Nosy Be, where you can also find fares of 100 euros per way with the airline Tsaradia Airlines.

Find the best offers for domestic flights in Madagascar


In tour

The tour is perhaps the best way to discover Madagascar in a comfortable and pleasant way. Each tour is different from the others and the choice depends on which destinations you want to visit. There are tours that also include flights from Spain.

Where to stay in Madagascar

The areas to stay in Madagascar depend on the preferences and motivations of the trip. However, in general, if you arrive in the capital Antananarivo, you stay a few days in the city you make tours in the surrounding area and then you take a plane to Nosy Be.

Sleeping in Antananarivo

Antananarivo, also known as Tana, is the capital of Madagascar. It is one of the main tourist destinations in Madagascar, also because most tourists enter the country through the Antananarivo-Ivato Airport, located about 17 km from the city.

Check availability and rates for accommodation in Antananarivo


Sleeping in Nosy Be

Taking a holiday in Nosy Be is a great choice for those who don't want to travel a lot. The island offers, in a more restricted way, everything that can be seen in Madagascar: beaches, landscapes, flora and fauna. With a holiday of a week, or even more, you can admire the beauties of the country without much travel and with much lower costs.

The best areas to stay in Nosy Be are in Hell Ville, the capital of the island, and along the west coast which includes the tourist resorts of: Madirokely, Ambatoloaka and Dzamandzar. This is also offers the best climate on the island.

Check availability and rates for accommodation in Nosy Be


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