The Unparalleled Allure of Madagascar
Madagascar is quickly becoming known on social media for it’s incredible Avenue of Baobabs, on the western coast, in the city of Morondava. Before that the most I– personally– had heard about it was the cartoon movie that showcased a few of the incredible animals that inhabit the island, such as the fossa and the ring-tailed lemur. And of course, David Attenborough fans have probably seen his 3 part special on the island country.
But did you know that Madagascar has approximately 200,000 species, and around 150,000 of those exist nowhere else in the world. There are 50 different kinds of lemurs alone. And the frogs? Well 99% of those found on the island are not found anywhere else. Don’t even get me started on the diversity of landscapes are unparalleled anywhere else in the world, with mountains, rainforests, beaches… what you will find is basically tropical settings along the coast, temperate inland and dry and barren in the south.
If these things alone don’t make you want to visit right away, how about this? Climate change poses a huge threat to the biodiversity found on the island. It has already had an huge impact on the coral within the ocean surrounding the island, but it has the potential to cause change in the water and food supply for the inhabitants of the island. Our local guides made us very aware that they have seen changes themselves; longer droughts, more fires, etc. One of our guides even talked of how the Indri Indri lemur is so specific to what it eats, when a zoo tried to take some off Madagascar and replicate their environment with the same trees planted, they still did not survive.
I did a 16-day trip through Madagascar’s east and west coast, and was amazed by the diversity in landscapes. I explored beautiful rainforests, walked deserted beaches, and spent Christmas Eve and Christmas morning watching the sunset, and sunrise, on the Avenue of Baobabs. I have never been so aware of my surroundings and intrigued by wildlife. Local guides were able to spot even the smallest of creatures lurking in the dark while walking through the rainforest. If you are someone who enjoys the outdoors, a lover of animals, a photographer of any kind, you will appreciate this incredible island more than I could ever put into words.
I am not usually the kind of traveler that books through tour companies, but due to the safety concerns, the amount of places I wanted to go and things I wanted to see, I did my research and found that it was best to book through Cactus Tours. And they did not disappoint. Though they have specific tours available, they tailor-made a custom 16 day tour out of one of their 11 day tours (Off-The-Beaten-Track). Every single hotel we stayed in, from eco-lodges in the rainforest, to beachfront bungalows, I couldn’t have picked better accommodations or found better food, myself. Every detail from tour guides, drivers, domestic flights, meals, park fees, and so on, were arranged for us, leaving no worries once we got there on if we will catch a ride from airports or anything similar. Not to mention, it was a private tour. I personally like doing things at my own pace, so it was nice not to worry about others during hikes and such, just me and my boyfriend, and our guides along the way.
I could write to you all day about the beauty that is Madagascar but I will let my photos speak for themselves. I took more photos than I have on any other trip because everything was just so picture perfect.