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Eco Travel Guide to Madagascar : Southern Africa

 
Madagascar Travel Guide
Travel Writer: EcoTravel Africa  
 

Madagascar is the largest of the Indian Ocean Islands -- the world's 4th largest Island -- and offers the eco adventure tourist a land rich in diversity, from unique people with their rich cultural beliefs, to its natural wonders and endemic plant and wildlife species.

 
 
Photographer: EcoTravel Africa 

Although Madagascar is separated from Southern Africa by the narrow Mozambique Channel, its wildlife is totally different. In fact, Madagascar's Wildlife is so unique that over 80 % is endemic -- found nowhere else in the world -- Lemurs, Chameleons, Orchids, Butterflies, Birds...

Madagascar contains a variety of climatic and floral zones varying from damp tropical rain forests to semi-arid deserts and some 600,000 hectares of mountainous, deeply ravined countryside.

Madagascar's central highlands separate the drier west from the wet east, and the south is semi arid. The North-east has a classically tropical climate and is covered in rainforests, that advance into magnificent coral reefs.

Unlike other islands in the Indian Ocean, Madagascar is not a developed tourism destination, making it one of the great undeveloped and undiscovered adventure destinations in the world. The island is large and many regions are sparsely populated and without many services such as tourist accommodation, restaurants and stores. Madagascar has about 40 000 km of roads but only currently maybe 4000 km are navigable.

The Malagasy people are known for their friendliness and willingness to help and assist where necessary and will go out of their way to help a stranger, particularly in the rural areas. Religious cultures live in harmony with one another, as first and foremost they are Malagasy with a proud heritage and take pride in their country.

Bicycle touring in Madagascar requires a sense of adventure and a degree of self-sufficiency that is not always required on many areas of the main land.

Fantastic scuba diving is available in islands of Nosy Be, Île Sainte Marie and around Tulear. Whale watching is available from July to September when the humpbacked whales come to calf in Madagascar's warm waters.

Getting to Madagascar:
The best way to get to Madagascar is to fly. Air Madagascar operates out of a number of countries: Johannesburg International Airport – South Africa, Paris, Milan, Bangkok, Mauritius, Reunion, Nairobi as well as a few other destinations.

Weather:
Rainy season begins around the end of November and lasts until April. Cyclones occur from mid-January to mid March and are particularly prevalent in February. Apart from February, Madagascar is a popular year round destination with peaks at Easter, Christmas and July/August. A particularly good time of year to visit Madagascar is September – November. This is just before the start of the rainy season and there aren't too many travellers about and it's not too hot.

Travellers Health:
No vaccinations are necessary for entry into Madagascar however, it is recommended that one is vaccinated against Hepatitis B, Typhoid, Diphtheria, Tetanus and Polio. Malaria prophylactics are a must.

Visas:
A tourist visa is required by all foreigners entering into Madagascar irrespective of nationality and can be valid for a maximum of 90 days. Visa's can be obtained on arrival or at the Malagasy Embassy or at a consulate in your country. Visa requirements – passport valid for 6 months after departure date from Madagascar and valid return or onward ticket.

 

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