Africa is a place rich in cultural diversity, the peculiarities of nature and picturesque scenery. It provides the ultimate tourist destination that will leave one awe-inspired. In this regard, Madagascar is an absolutely ideal destination befitting the alluring nature of Africa’s beauty described beforehand. Below are some of the reasons why one must visit the island:
Lemurs are very synonymous with Madagascar’s wildlife and they ring familiarity in most people’s minds. Madagascar has an intriguing 103 species of lemurs, the largest being the Indri Indri. The tiny mous lemurs can be nestled in an egg cup. The are adorable creatures, with cheeky personalities and animated appearances, with their long tails and curious eyes. Not loving them is an insult to nature.
2. The world’s oldest island
Madagascar is the oldest island in the world. The island has evolved in isolation for well over 60 million years. It’s mysteries, so enticing to unravel, are an apparent attestation to how old the island is. It is simply breathtaking. Sir David Attenborough aptly put it in these words, “Madagascar is a curious wonderland. It’s an unrepeatable experiment, a set of animals and plants evolving in isolation for over 60 million years. We’re still trying to unravel its mysteries.”
3. The unique wildlife
Madagascar has a plethora of extremely unique creatures. It’s home to over 200,000 different wildlife species and more than 10,000 plant species, of which over 90% of these are found nowhere else on earth! Every unique animal adds to the charm of this wonderful island. The chameleons alone are infinitely fascinating, they range from the size of a fingernail to 68 cm with different colours and varieties. They are like the living formation of a rainbow. Madagascar is regarded as the museum of living fossils since it has some of the creatures not found on mainland Africa due to losing out in the evolution competition.
4. The amazing culture and history
Fascinating, rich, intriguing, amazing, deep. Okay, I many run out of superlatives to praise the Madagascar’s culture. It’s not just about the scenery and wildlife. Madagascar has a diversity of cultures and rich history. Madagascar has been profoundly influenced by its position on the African-Asian trade routes of the 15th to 17th century. The people are a dynamic mix of African, Arab and Indian origin and share a warm friendly disposition. With more than 18 different ethnic groups, the Malagasy culture is a blended mix of African, Arab and Indian origin with some of the friendliest locals in all of Africa. They wear traditional dress called ‘lamba’. The combination of this blissful demeanour and their vivid attire makes for a jovial impression.
5. The pristine beaches
Madagascar has captivating beaches that leave on in awe. Madagascar is 2,000 km long and has almost 5,000 km of coastline. You can choose between Nosy Be or one of the northern islands, Ile Sainte Marie or the southern beaches near Ifaty or Fort Dauphin. The waters are crystal clear. Whales, dolphins and turtles are seen doing their best in the waters.
6. The unique scenery
The scenic diversity of Madagascar is one not to miss especially when comparing with other neighbours like Seychelles and Mauritius. Madagascar has a stunning wealth of natural beauty from dry spiny forests full of baobab trees in the south and west, to lush eastern rainforests, to wetland areas to high escarpments. The central highlands reach up to 1800 metres with many national parks starting above 1500 metres in elevation. Contrast this with the tropical beaches of the coast and you have a varied country to enjoy.
7. Orchids and other flora
Madagascar is home to almost 15,000 plant species, and over 80% of these are endemic to the island and found nowhere else in the world. The spiny forests of the south are home to countless shrubs and trees from the Didereaceae family – all brutally spikey, hence the forests name. Orchid lovers can have a field day looking at the 860 species, of which 650 are indigenous, as well as the worlds eight Boabab species (6 are endemic) and the 165 species of palm trees that can only be found in certain regions of the island.