We have listed the best attractions and unique things to do in Madagascar.
Major Attractions In Madagascar
Parc National de L’Isalo
Within Toliary area, southwest of the adjacent Antananarivo is Parc National de L’Isalo which holds sandstone structures dated back into the Jurassic time. The national park hold fire-proof forests, open grasslands and deep canyons. It is a very stunning area ideal for hiking particularly in the canyons.
The plants and wildlife are also very spectacular and the park has over 15 lemur species, over 80 bird species and more than 30 reptiles. Many of these species are unique to this island and can’t be seen anywhere else on earth. In Madagascar you will see the fire-proof Tapia plus Heza forests, and the riparian forest together with rivers. Therefore book a guide to take you through the exciting trail which runs between one to seven days but all worth experiencing.
Ranomafana National Park
Ranomafana National Park (hot-water in Malagasy)is the most magnificent forest on earth with a vast diversity of wildlife. There are more than 10 lemur species the spectacular golden-bamboo lemur and more than 120 catalogues species thirty of which are endemic to the island.
Being a rainforest, the wild animals are not the only attractions in the park but it is more like a magical woodland painted out of children’s’ story books. There are rare trees, carnivorous plants and medicinal trees together with various palm plus orchid trees. The small streams that converge into the Namorona River divide the forest.
Andasibe and Mantadia National Park
Initially being one forest, the Mantadia plus Andasibe National Park are now divided into two separate forests with the latter being adjacent to the Andasibe village whereas the former is a bigger park. These very thick humid forests hold some of the most unique plant species on earth. they are characterized by mosses, ferns, orchid and lians plus some valuable but rare tree species.
What To See
The indris call re lemurs that you shouldn’t miss. They are the biggest lemur projecting to one meter high and their weird cry echoes all through the park. Unique about this park are the habituated lemur families open to human visiting. In addition to these are thirteen more lemur species, fifteen mammal species and close to one hundred species of birds such as the Madagascar Wagtail. There are over 45 reptile species including the leaf tailed geckos and the largest chameleon on the island.
There are various trails in the forest you can partake to view the wildlife and they usually include several sacred places of the long ago forest occupants.Madagascar is more of a huge playground in which nature experimented it wildness. There are several plant, reptile, birds and animals in Madagascar and a visit to the various national parks is the finest idea while on this island.Accommodation in Madagascar ranges from luxury hotels,lodges,guest houses as well as apartments,you are kindly recommended to book in advance to avoid any in conveniences.
Attractions in Madagascar
Over time Madagascar has gradually become a famous holiday destination among tourists with hundreds of holiday makers jetting onto the island to enjoy the true African tranquil,, beauty and nature. The country’s good cultural and historic past has allured several people into visiting the islands. Listed below are some of the prominent tourist attractions in Madagascar that are most enjoyed by visitors and worth visiting.
This is the capital city of Madagascar and it is commonly referred to as Tana by the local residents. This capital unlike many in the world is comprised of several winding cobbled streets with small houses having wooden balconies plus shattered windows. The city lies on several hills which give it a cool highland locale. The city has very lively markets, numerous historic sites, architecture and most of all are the very hospitable people. The city is very ideal for trekking with spectacular views of the sunset over the backdrop hills.
The Queen’s Palace or Manjakamiadana
The Queen’s palace is a section of the enormous royal complex that was constructed for Queen Ranavolana back in the seventeenth century. Unfortunately, little of the palace’s previous beauty is seen today following the large fire that gutted the place in 1995 destroying most of the furniture. What remained was an empty hall of the queen’s palace, part of the tombs, a church and a stone gateway. Today reconstructions are still in progress although the place remains opened to the public at no charge.
The Ranomafana Hot Springs
These hot springs can be accessed by the bridge and seen near the previous Hotel Station. The baths are somewhat rural in style despite the magnificent setting which makes the facility rather a comfy place. The springs are popular for their naturally flowing mineral water which has a lot of medical importance such as helping with rheumatism, asthma and many others. Adjacent to the springs is a stunning swimming pool in which you can deep or float as you admire the scenic neighborhood.
Tsimbazaza Zoo plus the Botanical Gardens
A few kilometers from the capital Antananarivo lay the beautiful gardens together with the impressive Zoo which have attracted some of the largest numbers of tourist on the Island. In the zoo you will majorly find indigenous animals like the aye ayes, lemurs and the fossas. The botanical garden has is rich with various local plants and a very rich bird life which make it a perfect spot for bird watchers. The place is opened daily from 9am to 5pm and entrance is at an affordable charge.
Antananarivo Crocodile Farm
This farm is a lake of hundreds of various sized crocodiles all living in the same environment. It is offers a very scenic view especially for first timers. Making a visit during the feeding hours which is at midday; will allow you to see a lot of activity among these crocodiles. This is a good place to visit particularly for individual who want to learn more about the history of crocodiles on this island. There is a gift shop and a wonderful restaurant in this place and it is opened daily from 9am to 5pm with admission at an affordable charge.
Things To Do in Madagascar
Other things to do besides visiting the primates of Madagascar
Participate in the Alahamadi Be
The Alahamadi Be is the New Year for all Malagasy people when it comes to tradition. The New Year celebrations take two days before they are complete and it is celebrated in the month of March. Traditional music rules over the whole event and the people go to the streets to congratulate each other upon reaching the New Year and you can join the various crowds although it is better if you leave most of your valued possessions in your room because they might be pickpocketed.
A visit to the Miniature studio
Antsirabe is where the Miniature studio is located and they can both be found in the southern part of Madagascar. The Miniature studio is where the locals use materials that are mostly recycled to make different things like small cars, bicycles, bags and many more others. There provide a free demonstration to the tourists especially for cars and bicycles.
You can buy yourself something from the shop if not just for the support of the community but note that you will need a local tour guide to translate everything for you as the demonstration at the miniature shop will be in French. They are extremely welcoming people and you can take as many photos as you want of the workshop for as long as you first seek for permission.
Join the Hiragasy celebrations
The Hiragasy celebrations are carried out in July and it is the traditional day when all the traditional entertainment is done and this ranges from music, sports, drama, eating and all these were carried out hundreds of years ago. Various competitions are carried out and you can participate in any activity that you want during these celebrations.
Take a stroll through the Gemstone factory
Madagascar is a country that is known to have a lot of gemstones although at the moment the government has put up a lot of sanctions against exporting of the gem stones as they were being smuggled out. The gemstone factory tour will show you how the gemstones are polished before being exported for sale and you also get a chance to search for gemstones with the employees after putting on protective gears.
Gemstones are part of the Madagascar culture as they are used when it comes to celebrations especially weddings and that is why you will find that the highest population in the country at least owns one or two gem stones in their homestead.
Join in the Fisemana ceremony
The Fisemana ceremony is carried out by the ethnic group of Antankarana people and it is done as a cleansing ritual. This is carried out every year around June and it is led by the leaders who are known as the soothsayers. The ritual has always been done and it dates back many years ago which makes it a good one to go for especially for the tourists who want to know more about the culture in Madagascar but before you go for the ritual ask for permission from the elders so that you can participate fully.
Exploring the paper industry
The paper factory is locates in Ambalavao a small town in Madagascar and the paper that is made in the factory is exported to the different parts of the world. The paper is majorly used for art and it is made from the bark of the Havoha tree which is endemic to Madagascar. The beauty about visiting the paper making factory is that you will get to see how the locals make the paper using their hands and not machines.
The paper is cut out by the locals and then decorated with flowers and leaves before being left in the sun to dry before being packed to make books, lamp shades, notebooks and many more other paper materials. When you visit the factory you will get to see the way the tradition of making paper is done as this dates back to the 18th century.
Enjoy the Famadihana
You might not be able to engage in the Famadihana activity as it is carried out by only family members but you can be allowed to view the whole process only if you ask for permission from the ethnic leaders. The Famadihana is where the family members remove their dead relatives from their graves and have a celebration with them and this is mostly done as a sign of respect to the dead.
The dead are made to put on new silk clothes, food is shared while they are seated with their living relatives and they get to dance around with the dead bodies before they are reburied at the end of the day.
Visit the silk weaving studio
The silk studio is located in Ambalavao city and a visit to the place will show you how the Malagasy locals used to weave their silk clothes thousands of years ago as they still use the same techniques as before. The locals in Madagascar are known to make their own clothes from fine silk which are mostly used when it comes to celebrations like weddings and the one way you can get to learn how these are made is by visiting the studio.
The process through which the silk is made is a bit long but exciting to watch as you will get to see that they first pick the silk from the silk cocoons, boil wash and dry before it is spun around using hands. After that it is dyed and then later spun again to make the shawls and scarfs which come in different colors.
Enjoy the Santabary festival
The Santabary festival is carried out at the end of April to early May and it is carried out to celebrate the year’s harvest of rice. It has always been done from the ancient times as the festival shows how grateful the locals are for the rice harvests that they have received. The festival is filled with a lot of food, traditional music and dancing across the country and this is one festival that you do not want to miss out when you decide to take this safari.
Learn how to smelt Aluminum
The traditional aluminum factory is located in Ambatolampy a small town in Madagascar and here you get to see how Aluminum is smelted in the traditional way by the locals. When you get to the place, there will be a demonstration shown to the tourist about how the aluminum is smelted to created different products like pots, sauce pans and many more others. Do not forget to go with some bit of money to purchase some of the products that are made at the factory in order to support the community around it.
The decoration and transformation of the zebu horns
The zebu horns are got form a cow breed that is known as the Zebu which is the mostly reared breed of cattle by the locals. The zebu horns are sharp and long and these can be used to make different things that can be used in a homestead.
Visit the Zebu workshop and get to see how they make cutlery out of horns, necklaces, all types of jewelry and many more other things. The employees at the workshop will take you through a free demonstration and show you how they make the different products and you will also be required to at least purchase something from the workshop to support the noble cause.