All about our trip
I never thought I’d one day be able to go to Madagascar. Since I’m a young gal, all I knew about Madagascar was from the movie (you know, with the zebras, lions and all that.) So I thought that all we would get to see there were jungles and wild animals roaming around. But I was really surprised about Madagascar when we got there. The scenery was even more beautiful than what I had thought, plus there were so much more things I could also do there.
I flew in there together with a bunch of friends from South Africa. We took the Air Madagascar flight out of Johannesburg. The flight was pretty much uneventful but I did look forward to all the stuff we’d be doing once we landed.
Where I went
So Madagascar is really famous for its natural beauty. Packed with wildlife and great backdrop of nature, you can take time to slow things down and appreciate just how nice everything is.
Here’s a few of the places I went to:
Wildlife reserves and Parks
Of course this was the top priority in my to-go list!
After all, I wanted to see the animals and sceneries that made Madagascar such a talked about country.
Tsingy De Bermaha
Definitely one of the places you have to go to. It is really huge! It came complete with lakes, forests, limestone rock formations aside from many other natural wonders. It was also where we saw several wildlife, including lemurs and several different birds. I’m not really into nature so much, but seeing it for yourself can change your mind. It really was spectacular to watch.
Andasibe-Mantadia National Park
While the name can be a handful to speak (and even write!) it is a great place to visit. It’s actually made up of different parks. More wildlife can be seen in the park’s rainforests. Some trials are relatively easy to walk on while others do need some extra care. So be ready with your trekking shoes. I saw plenty of lizards and reptiles here as well, including some pretty cool chameleons.
The lemurs were especially cool since you could take pictures of them up close. They didn’t seem to mind the many people that were visiting the park that day.
There are several other wildlife parks in and around the country. You can get a local travel guide to help you pick out the best ones to see. Hotels and accommodations near these parks are also okay and you can have several options. I learned from my guide as well that some parts of Madagascar can become inaccessible when it rains (due to floods I guess.) So it’s always better to plan in advance and ask a guide or the hotel staff of the hotel you’re looking at, before you even book the trip.
We also drove by the Avenue of the Baobabs. (I had no idea what a Baobab was before this trip.) Turns out these are pretty big trees reaching up to almost a hundred feet high. I was told that Madagascar had dense forests surrounding these trees as well. Now there are usually rice paddies and villages in place of these forests. But the Baobab trees remained.
The combination of the wildlife and the scenery was what made it special for me. You could really feel that you were the one visiting these animals’ homes, and not the other way around like in zoos. It was great to see all of that here in Madagascar.
Beaches and Other Things to Do
While nature is great and all, you can really look forward to other outdoor activities like going to the beach and doing some water sports. There are a lot of options In the Northern and Eastern parts of Madagascar.
Part of an island group in the northwestern part of Madagascar. This is a tourist destination and so it’s easy to fin amenities such as hotels and travel guide. You can find plenty of beaches here, perfect for just lying back and relaxing with a cool drink in your hand.
A smaller island, but you can find snorkeling sites here. In true Madagascar fashion, lemurs are found on this island.
I mostly just laid back and swan a little while on the beach. I’m the type of guy that just really wants to relax whenever possible. Getting to the beach to cool off after spending a few days of trekking and seeing all those parks really felt nice. And while I did enjoy my tour of the wildlife, it felt great just lying on the sand and drinking cool drinks.
Other water activities like kayaking and kite surfing can also be found in the island. You can ask your hotel or travel guide to hook you up with the suppliers.
Some stuff you need to know
I had researched about the country before going there and found some helpful tips before I went there. It made my stay a lot easier then. I’d like to share some of what I learned with you.
Drink only bottled water. Or pack chlorine tablets to disinfect any tap water. I was told that the tap water isn’t safe to drink. So better to be ready than to be sorry. Also, if you’re gonna go on hikes then do bring enough of your own water.
Use anti-mosquito products. Malaria is pretty much widespread in Madagascar, so be sure to protect yourself.
Food is pretty easy to come by, but don’t expect too much of the comfortable fast food we usually get. They stick to good international food however in the bigger restaurants. So you can find European and English food here. French food seems pretty widespread here as well since they used to be a French colony.
English isn’t as widespread here as a language, so this means you may need to get a local guide when you want to go around the parks. But for everyday stuff, you can get buy without speaking too much English.
Madagascar was pretty safe, even for tourists. But always keep your wits about you. Generally as a traveler, I keep to myself and try not to be a target. So I hide any valuables and keep a low profile.
Commuting in and out can be quite a challenge as well. Buses will be most common but will tend to be a bit uncomfortable. Everybody rides in them, and since the country is not highly developed, you’d still see people bringing everything with them on the bus. This includes live chickens, sacks of vegetables and everything else they can carry (including some stuff they can’t.)
I really enjoyed my trip to Madagascar, and hope you guys will enjoy it too. It was a different experience for me, especially in seeing the different wildlife and sceneries in the country. As a city boy myself, I’m not too familiar with all that nature stuff. But I can say that the trip was very much worth it since I did learn and see a whole lot of new things.