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Situated some two hundred and sixty miles off the south east coast of Africa, the ‘Rainbow Island’ of Madagascar is the fourth largest island in the world and enjoys justifiable renown for its diversity and abundance of wildlife and flora - the majority of the island’s mammals and reptile species and almost eighty per cent of its plants being unique to its shores. The international conservation community has singled it out as one of the ecologically richest countries on the planet. Madagascar and the nearby Comoros have nearly one-quarter of all the flowering plants in Africa.
With a coastline measuring around 3,000 miles and occupied by over 300 miles of mangroves and 1,200 miles of coral reefs, Madagascar is home to many different habitats and ecosystems. This wild, captivating and beautiful island offers visitors the opportunity to experience some of the most diverse and spectacular scenery on earth, ranging from mountains, deserts and dense rainforests to palm-fringed white beaches and island archipelagos linked by coral reefs and clear turquoise waters that provide superb snorkelling and diving.
Of particular note amongst the plethora of wildlife are the mischievous tree-dwelling lemurs and the enigmatic chameleons which live side by side with countless species of insects, spiders and butterflies and many endemic birds which are of special interest to ornithologists. The mangroves throb with the croak of yellow frogs during the mating season, while offshore dolphins, hump back whales and a wide variety of sharks are frequent visitors.
The people of Madagascar are as equally unique and enchanting as its wildlife and ever changing landscape. The Malagasy are a mixture of African and Asian ethnicity all united by one language, with each of the eighteen tribal groups having its own distinct customs, taboos and traditions, often pertaining to the wildlife present in their area.
Madagascar is divided into five main geographical regions, comprising four regions along the coast and a central region where the nation’s capital is located.
WHEN TO GO
It is advisable to travel between the end of April and end of November to best avoid the wet season, with April/May and October/November being the best times to observe wildlife activity. Notwithstanding some geographical variations, June to September normally offers dry, cooler weather. From September to November, many bird species are displaying, nesting and in breeding plumage, and baby lemurs can be seen clinging to their mothers. December to early April is the traditional wet season and we recommend avoiding a visit during these months.
Hartley’s Safaris can offer more detailed information and full and varied itineraries for your Madagascar holiday and will be delighted to discuss your individual requirements, please click here to contact us .