Why do you have to go on Madagascar Tours! There are many things to do in Madagascar. Madagascar also known as “the red island” is unique to say the least! 88 million years ago it separated itself from the super continent Gondwana. Nature took its course and flora and fauna evolved in a mysterious way without interference.
This is the reason why 90% of the Flora and Fauna found of Madagascar is unique and cannot be found anywhere else in the world! ASTHO Vacations specializes in organizing Safaris and tours to Madagascar.
We will take you on Madagascar tours from the Spiny forests and tropical islands in the North, to the Lemurs, birds and reptiles in the national parks of the South.
Madagascar has a special season when giant whales migrate off the coast which makes it ideal for whale spotting. If you cannot get enough you can extend your Madagascar tour to the nearby island of Mauritius for a tropical extension.
Why Embark on Madagascar Tours
Madagascar is a study in contrasts. It’s the fourth largest island in the world but is little known, even among seasoned African safari enthusiasts.
Fewer than 30 000 people visit Madagascar annually. Most of whom are on Madagascar tours but relatives returning to see their families. This gives Madagascar a timeless quality and makes it fascinating to adventurers who like going off the beaten track.
Madagascar is also rightfully known as the ‘Galapagos of the Indian Ocean’. This is because it is thought that at least 80 to 90 percent of the fauna and flora found here are endemic.
This means they are found nowhere else in the world. It is one of only a handful of official world Biodiversity Hotspots with an enviable list of wildlife wonders for Madagascar safari goers.
There are a hundred species of lemur, six species of baobab and plenty of national parks and protected areas.
Madagascar is so big – about twice the size of Arizona, 45 percent larger than California or bigger than Spain, Sweden and Germany! You need to work with your Africa Safari Expert to pick and choose what you really want to see and do in Madagascar.
This is especially if you don’t have the time or budget to experience the best of Madagascar Tours. Consider adding one beach area as an ‘add on’ to a mainland African safari in Madagascar or choosing at most three national parks to combine into a tailor-made Madagascar tour itinerary.
Madagascar will appeal to those who’ve been on Africa safari before and are now looking for new places to explore away from the crowds. Madagascar tours offer an enviable combination of diving, snorkelling, hiking and sightseeing in an array natural beauty spots.
Top Destination for Madagascar Safaris
The main point of entry on all Madagascar tours is Antananarivo. From there, the most popular place to visit on Madagascar safari is Nosy Be. This is a low-key hub on the northern coast.
In fact, the north sees the most visitors on Madagascar tours. This is because it has near-perfect conditions for kite surfing, swimming and diving.
Nosy Be and Tsava Komba are key points of the annual whale shark migration. Nearby Diego Suarez is also popular with visitors on Madagascar holidays.
The north of the island is also home to Montagne d’Ambre National Park. This is a haven for the world’s second smallest species of chameleon. It has seven species of lemur, ring-tailed mongoose, at least 77 recorded species of birds and the fosa, Madagascar’s only predator.
‘Amber Mountain’ gets its name from the red laterite soil and limestone pinnacles that are characteristic of the area.
In the west, your Madagascar tours should seek out Tsingy Bemaraha Strict Nature Reserve and the Tsiribihina River. Its needle-sharp limestone pinnacles, which soar high into the air, are a World Heritage Site.
In complete contrast to these razor-like outcrops is the Tsiribihina River, which feeds the reserve’s lush mangroves. Just outside the reserve is one of the island’s loveliest sites: the Avenue of the Baobabs.
The west is generally much drier than the rest of the island and its deciduous trees drop all their leaves over the dry mid-year winter.
The south is one of the most arid areas but this natural dryness gives rise to the fascinating canyons. There are sandstone outcrops and palm-tree oases of Isalo National Park, beloved by intrepid hikers.
Another highlight is the Antsokay Arboretum, where about ninety percent of the of the 900 plant species represented are endemic and you can walk through the ‘spiny forest’ of cacti.
Madagascar tours to the south-east goes to Ranomafana National Park. This is a rainforest wonderland and a sanctuary for the golden bamboo lemur.
The east coast is the lushest thanks to moisture coming up from the Indian Ocean. The rainforests of Andasibe-Mantadia National Park support the island’s biggest lemur, the indri.
The Indri is about the size of a koala bear and has a piercingly characteristic cry! On a walk to the Sacred Waterfall on your Madagascar tours, look out for Parson’s chameleon as well as rare ferns and orchids.
The south-east is also home to Andohahela National Park that has good walking trails through three diverse landscapes. They include the Anosy Mountains, Malagasy Highlands and rainforest.
The climate ranges from humid to semi-arid, and it’s best to go between the April-to-October dry season. See 13 species of lemur, 130 of birds and 67 of reptiles.
The rainforest supports 200 types of tree ferns as well as wild vanilla trees and orchids. In complete contrast, the Spiny Forest (or Ihazofotsy-Manyatsiaka) offers unusual species that thrive in low rainfall.
The Ifotaka Community Forest or Fort Dauphin is also in the south-east and is a good example of government-and-community co-operation for conservation.
One of the biggest lures of Madagascar tours to the east coast is Sainte Marie Island. Here in the midst of the annual June-to-September humpback whale migration.
The whales are very active on the huge reef off the island, with the females giving birth and the males ‘singing’ to attract new mates. The whale song is often clearly audible to visitors thanks to a lack of surrounding noise pollution.
The central highlands are much cooler and drier than the coast and are thus the centre of Madagascar’s agricultural industry, of which rice is a staple crop.
When to Go on Madagascar Tours and Safaris
It is best to travel in Africa during the dry season. This is because it’s cooler and there are fewer bugs about. If going on Madagascar tours, this means travelling between about May and October.
If you want to see the humpback whale migration, plan to travel on Madagascar safrais between June and September. If your Madagascar tours is to dive with whale sharks, aim to go between about November and March.
For those looking for lemur-breeding season on thei Madagascar tours, October to December works. This iswhen babies are born to take advantage of the new spring foliage.
It is important to note that December is generally Madagascar’s wettest month.
Whatever your timeline and budget is, ASTHO Vacations offers Madagascar tours to fit your needs. Whether you are looking for an adventure searching for Lemurs, reptiles and birds or a beach holiday on Nosy Be, we assure you have the trip of a lifetime here on Madagascar tour.