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Madagascar
 
If your over-riding thoughts of Madagascar are lemurs and more lemurs then it’s time to think again! While these unusual endemic primates are widespread across the country, this Indian Ocean island actually offers far more than that, and the rapidly improving road network and tourism infrastructure is making it an increasingly popular destination for those wanting something just that little bit different.
Antananarivo, the capital, is built on hills that take you and the buildings continuously up and down. It has tiny, colourful houses with pointed or triangular roofs, while the city is particularly beautiful at sunset, as everything acquires an orangey hue, making everything seem even warmer. From the central highlands of the island, you can branch out in any direction taking in the verdant and hilly rainforests of the eastern highlands, or the drier and rockier southern terrains, and perhaps finish with perfect beach luxury on the isolated north-west coast.

The fourth-largest island in the world is home to 5% of the world’s plant and animal species, of which more than 80% are endemic to Madagascar. This includes some of the 32 species of lemur, including the ape-like Indris with its unique and unusual call, the mongoose-like fossa, the largest carnivorous mammal on the island, the nocturnal aye-aye and tenrec (spiny hedgehog) and some of the most amazing amphibians and bird-life that you will ever see.

Staying in comfortable 4-star accommodation, and being driven around by knowledgeable and local private guides, you will also gain insight into the interesting Malagasy customs and cultures of this former French colony. Ancient tribal traditions are still widespread, including the spiritual ‘turning of the dead’ when relatives are removed from the family tomb and their lives celebrated with festive ceremonies of singing and dancing, before being returned to their burial place.

The translation of the word safari is actually journey – so for a ‘safari’ like no other, Madagascar is the place to be – unique wildlife, spectacularly diverse scenery, beautiful beaches, history, culture and tradition.
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Madagascar
CALENDAR: APRIL TO AUGUST
 
The first tourists arrive in Madagascar in April, and until the end of August the country is mainly warm and dry. Terraced paddy fields and the dramatic Central Highlands are both especially picturesque. Biodiversity in Madagascar is extraordinary, with nearly 15,000 endemic plants. Safari between June and August so you can get close to some of the 103 types of lemur, the cat-like fossa, the chameleon, and the birds.
CALENDAR: JANUARY TO MARCH
 
Madagascar’s rainy season is a serious affair, often with dangerous cyclones. It lasts from January to March and we advise against travel at this time of year as the weather can be very disruptive, making the roads impassable and causing transport systems to grind to a halt.
CALENDAR: SEPTEMBER TO DECEMBER
 
Madagascar remains dry and temperatures continue to rise. You won’t find a better time to hike in the Central Highlands, and it’s here that you might see the critically endangered Sibree’s dwarf lemur. The highlands are also home to the Merina people, an ethnic group of Malayo-Indonesian origins, and Madagascar’s capital city, Antananarivo. This is the cultural heart of the island, with historic buildings, museums, and lively arts scene.