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Why travel in MADAGASCAR
Madagascar is one of those countries whose name alone is an invitation to travel. Off the coast of southern Africa in the Indian Ocean, the Red Island is a destination of choice for ecotourism enthusiasts.
Madagascar is a gigantic island measuring 1,600 kilometres from north to south and 600 kilometres from east to west. The “Big Island” therefore offers very varied landscapes and ecosystems.
In the north and east, lush tropical rainforests flourish with extraordinary flora. Several hundred species of orchids, including the famous Madagascar vanilla (which the greatest cooks love!), clove trees, pepper trees, live there. A journey through the most bewitching scents.
In the south of the island, the landscapes dry up more and more to leave the place to a kind of semi-arid savannah where only some shrubs grow. The whole centre of the island is occupied by high plateaus . They are dominated by the red of the laterite soil and the flamboyant green of the rice fields. It is Madagascar’s granary.
Isolated from the continent for several tens of millions of years, the island of Madagascar is home to a fabulous biodiversity that exists nowhere else. Imagine that all of Madagascar’s mammal species, starting with the emblematic lemurs, are endemic to the island. It is a “world apart” that you can explore on a responsible trip to Madagascar. A terrestrial paradise or a Noah’s Ark for lovers of animal travel!
To preserve this exceptional natural heritage in the long term, Madagascar has created 18 national parks and nearly thirty reserves. In total, almost 12% of Madagascar’s territory is protected. Visits to these protected areas must be accompanied by a guide. Some natural sites are even classified by UNESCO as world heritage sites because of their exceptional aspect.
Tsingy de Bemaraha was the first site classified by UNESCO on the island. This reserve is composed of the most spectacular landscapes of the island with this forest of stone with sharp points. A veritable mineral cathedral, the Tsingy are home to an incredible biodiversity with numerous endemic species, including countless lemurs. There, exceptionally, 45% of the species are endemic to the park region alone.
The tropical forests of Atsinana are also classified by UNESCO. They include 6 national parks, including Ranomafana and Andringitra. These parks are classified for their unique character and to protect the biodiversity that is threatened there. However, this site has been declared endangered due to overexploitation of the forest. Wood is indeed the first source of energy in the country. Take advantage of your stay to participate in reforestation activities and contribute directly to the protection of this environment.
In this delicate context, sustainable tourism can appear as a solution to create activity while preserving the natural wealth of these areas.
In the Andasibe-Mantadia National Park, you can observe in the middle of the forest the largest lemur on the island, the indri-indri, known for its shrill cry. Keep your eyes peeled for more than a dozen other species of lemurs that are not always easy to see.
Change of scenery in Isalo park much further south along the RN7, the largest and main road in the island! Here too, during a hike in the park, you can see maki catta, but there, eroded sandstone massifs are composing the landscape. All around you, are colourful valleys and canyons with flowing rivers.
With almost 5,000 kilometres of coastline, Madagascar has also created several marine parks. This policy aims to protect the many threatened coral reefs, fragile marine fauna such as turtles and coastal mangrove forests.
Sustainable tourism in Madagascar also means taking the time to meet the inhabitants, who are so smiling despite concrete difficulties. If you are in Ambalavao in the heart of Betsileo country on a Wednesday, make a diversion to the zebu market to immerse yourself in the daily life of the Malagasy. In general, don’t hesitate to visit the local markets to soak up the atmosphere and discover the local crafts.
By choosing to stay in guest houses and accommodations, you will have the chance to share privileged moments with your hosts. Moments and smiles that will remain permanently anchored in your travel memories.
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