Top visited travel sites in Madagascar
33. Parc National de L'Isalo – For those who are into hiking, this region offers some really spectacular views, especially at sun rise and sun set. Lemur spotting is also possible.
34. Nosy Be – Madagascar‘s premier resort location, with several smaller islands nearby. Nosy Be has plenty of restaurants and nightclubs. The marvelous beaches and the natural lemur reserve will appeal to visitors.
The Madagascan capital can be chaotic and traffic-clogged, but with its fascinating mix of colonial architecture and cobbled streets, and its backdrop of green hills, it has a magical atmosphere. Main sights for visitors include the Queen'palace (Rova) and its nearby museum (Musée d'Andafiavaratra);and the Parc Botanique et Zoologique de Tsimbazaza, where you'll definitely see
Antasibe-Mantadia National Park
The most accessible and most visited of the country's national parks, which lies only three to four hours by car from the capital, Antananarivo. Antasibe is situated at about 1,000 metres above sea level, so the dominant vegetation is scrub-like montane forest ratherthan true rainforest. The star attraction of the park is the indri, a large, tail-less lemur, whose black and white fur makes it look a little like an elongated panda. Their territorial call is both eerie and wonderful: once warmed up from laying in the sun, they raise their heads, open their pink mouths and let out a loud, warbling yodel.
Ranomafana National Park
Lying about 240km south of Andasibe, this park opened in 1991. The drive to Ranomafana from the nearest town, Fianarantsoa, is wonderful, the eroded hillsides and dry vegetation of the highlands gradually giving way to a far-reaching blanket of rainforest.
Masoala National Park
Opened in 1996, this remote park contains one of Madagascar's largest remaining areas of virgin rainforest, with bubbling streams rushing down to white-sandy beaches on the coast, past huge trees with massive buttress roots. Its treasure is in its anbundance of rare species, including the beautiful helmet vanga bird, as well as several types of tenrec and the rare red-ruffed lemur.
Masoala is currently suitable for adventurous travellers only: the trails are steep and slippery, there is no lodging, only camping, and reaching the park requires a three-hour boat journey from Maroantsetra across the Bay of Antongil.
Montagne d'Ambre National Park
Arguably the country's most visitor-friendly park, this reserve is located near the northern tip of the island, and was opened in 1958. The terrain is volcanic massif, with montane forest. The climate here is comfortably temperate, it has several waterfalls, fascinating flora and fauna, and 30 km of broad trails. In the dry season, vehicles can even drive right up to the main picnic area.
Marojejy National Park
Lying about 160km southeast of Montagne d'Ambre, Marojejy is one of Madagascar's newest national parks and, by contrast, is one of the most challenging and with its limited facilities only currently suitable for serious naturalists.
It is however, one of the country's most spectacular showcases for its natural diversity; with four main types of forest, 60 species of reptiles, 49 species of amphibians, and 107 recorded bird species. It is also one of the last refuges of a rare lemur, the silky sifaka.
Officially the Special Reserve Analamazaotra, but almost everyone refers to this park as Perinet. Situated only four hours by a good road from the capital, this is the most visited reserve on the island , and has some of the best guides.
Lying at an altitude of some 1,000 metres, the vegetation here is montane forest, with an abundance of dripping mosses and epiphytes. Altogether, there are nine species of lemurs found in Perinet, including grey bamboo lemurs, brown lemurs and avahi (woolly lemurs).
Ankarana Special Reserve
Sharp pinnacles of limestone karst, known in Madagascar as tsingy, have provided a perfect defence against the encroachment of humans in this western park.
In canyons between the outcrops, deciduous trees harbour a wide variety of wildlife. Crowned and Sanford's brown lemurs are quite common, along with vociferous lepilemurs and the handsome ringtailed mongoose. It's also a wonderful park for birdwatching.
Berenty Private Reserve
This small park borders River Marmore, 80kms from Fort Dauphin (Taolagnaro), in the southeast.
Berenty is famous for its ring-tailed lemurs, which are notorious for their audaciousness, sneaking into visitors' bungalows to eat offered bananas Equally popular are the dancing sifaka lemurs, which bound across open areas on their back legs, like displaced ballet dancers.
This well-visited reserve combines excellent wildlife-viewing with comfortable lodging options. Six kinds of lemurs are found here, along with many species of birds, reptiles and exotic insects. It's also the best place to see Madagascar's "spiny forest" of giant, cactus-like didierea trees.
Isalo National Park
The eroded sandstone Isalo massif lies in southern Madagascar, between Fianarantsoa and Tulear (Toliara).
Visitors come here for the landscape rather than for the wildlife. You can take in the golds and browns of the semi-desert terrain and then cool off under a waterfall in lush green canyons. Isalo is great hiking country, and the utter silence as you stride across the flat plateau, surrounded by distorted rock formations is other-worldly.