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Madagascar is a country that occupies the fourth largest island in the world which also carries the same name. It is located in the Indian Ocean near the eastern coast of Africa. Its history dates back 160 million years ago when the portion of land broke up from the rest of the African continent. The place boasts huge tropical forests which is a laboratory for researchers and scientists all over the world. Its flora and fauna has an enormous biodiversity which is far greater than the rain forests of South America. You can find here exotic creatures like dwarf chameleons, tomato frogs, giant rats and hedgehog-like tenrecs. The country has been considered the Eighth Continent because of the island’s world-class beauty and the diversity of its people. Madagascar’s capital is Antananarivo.

What to see & do

Ranomafana National Park - The park is home to a number of rare species like Madagascar’s own lemur or the primates that look like a cat crossed with a squirrel and a dog. It spans in a 41,600 hectares of land and was established in 1991 to conserve the unique biodiversity of the country’s local ecosystem and reduce human pressure on the protected area. The park is usually used as a subject of extensive scientific research by scientists and researchers. People can also stay for days inside the park since it has a Lodge and Ecolodge.

Avenue of the Baobabs - This place features a group of baobab trees lining a dirt road between Morondava and Tsiribihina in the Menabe region in western Madagascar. The landscape of the said avenue is a sight to behold especially to travellers who flock to the area to admire its beauty. The site has become the centre of local conservation efforts with it being granted a temporary protected status in July 2007 but the Ministry of Environment, Water and Forests.

Nosy Mangabe - The Nosy Mangabe is a small island reserve two kilometres from the town of Maroantsetra in eastern Madagascar. The place could be reached by boat and is part of the Masoala National Park complex. The tropical rainforest is the home of the endangered aye-aye. The island is not far away from town so visitors can just for here for a day trip but there are also overnight accommodations available for people wanting to see the nocturnal aye-aye. There is a camping site on the island with basic kitchen and shared facilities. Visitors in the area are required to have a tour guide.

How to get around within Madagascar

Touring Madagascar is possible through Air Madagascar which has several flights to numerous destinations in the country not only big cities but also little hamlets. Four rail lines namely the Antananarivo-Ambatondrazaka via Moramanga, Antananarivo-Antsirabe, Fianarantsoa-Manakara, and Antananarivo-Toamasina also ferry passengers from one place in the country to the other. When riding the train, people can see the beautiful landscapers on the country and also discover local fruits along the way. This is a cheap way to tour around but trains can get really packed with both locals and tourists.

How to get there

Individuals are allowed to enter Madagascar for 30 days using an initial tourist visa which can be obtained upon arrival to the country. Flights coming in to the country come from various destinations like Paris, Bangkok, Johannesburg, Nairobi, and Mauritius, and land on Ivato International Airport located in Madagascar’s capital city, Antananarivo. Airlines being serviced in the said airport include Air Madagascar, Air France, Corsair, Air Austral, and Air Mauritius, among others.

Images by Flickr\Effervescing Elephant

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