5 Not-to-Be-Missed Attractions of Madagascar
Also known as the Great Red Island, due to the predominant color of its soil, Madagascar is a unique ecosystem. Located 600 km away from the East-African Coast, this giant island split away from the Black Continent over 120 million years ago. Isolated from the rest of the world, Madagascar gave birth to some very unique species of animals and amazing landscapes. Here are the five not-to-be-missed sights of Madagascar:
Ranomafana National Park
Located in the southeastern part of the island, Ranomafana National Park is a 41,600 ha rainforest, with a huge diversity of wildlife. 12 species of cute lemurs and a wide array of lizards and birds call this place home.
Ranomafana National Park is the best place to admire the animals that Madagascar is most famous for, lemurs. These funny-looking creatures couldnâ€™t have survived alongside the more advanced wildlife on the African continent, but living untroubled in this isolated habitat, they survived and evolved into many different subspecies.
The park was established in 1991 in order to protect the islandâ€™s unique wildlife and to limit human damage on this protected area.
Tsingy de Bemaraha
The alien-looking karst limestone formations of Tsingy de Bemaraha are unique on Earth and have been added to the UNESCO World Heritage Site list, in 1990. The southern part of the area was transformed into a national park, open to tourists, while the northern side remains a carefully protected natural reserve.
The sharp cliffs of Tsingy de Bemaraha are not as harmless as they look in photos. Many have lost their lives trying to climb these natural stone-knives that reach 180 meters in height.
Tsingy de Bemaraha is located on the western coast of Madagascar and is accessible from the towns of Morondava and Antsalova.
Known by most people as Nosy Boraha, this little island on the eastern coast of the Great Red Island was the center of piracy in the Indian Ocean. Famous corsairs as William Kidd or Thomas White made Ile Ste-Marie their headquarters because of its concealing vegetation and tough-to-navigate lagoons.
Nowadays this old pirate haven is Madagascarâ€™s best whale-watching spot and a great place for water sports like surfing, diving and fishing. Ile Ste-Marie is also famous for its beautiful white-sand beaches.
Royal Hill of Ambohimanga
Often referred to as â€˜the holy cityâ€™, â€˜the blue cityâ€™ or â€˜the forbidden cityâ€™, Ambohimanga is considered the birthplace of the Malagasy people and therefore, a significant symbol of cultural identity.
Although Ambohimanga is located just 20 km from the capital Antananarivo, itâ€™s often ignored by tourists who come to Madagascar to see lemurs and admire the unspoiled sights on the island. Itâ€™s a pity because Ambohimanga is more than worth a visit, if only to see the Rova Palace, built using a cement made out of egg-whites, for the huge, circular front gate that takes 40 men to roll into position.
Sadly youâ€™ll seldom find more than a handful of people visiting these great ruins.
Nosy Be (Nossi Be)
Translated â€˜the big islandâ€™ Nosy Be is Madagascarâ€™s largest, most popular holiday resort. It is surrounded by numerous other smaller islands like Nosy Komba, Nosy Tanikely or Nosy Sakatia, each of them a true tropical paradise. There are tons of things to do here, from laying on the beautiful beaches of Andilana and Amporaha to visiting the islandâ€™s highest point, Mont Passot, or checking out the markets on the outskirts of Hellville City.
Nosy Be offers a true spectacle of perfumes, with scents of ylang-ylang, vanilla, lemon grass and patchouli exciting your senses as soon as you step off the plane.