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10 Best Things to Do in Madagascar

Article by GVI


Posted: March 9, 2023

If you’re looking for a trip that you’ll remember for years to come, Madagascar should be at the very top of your list. The fourth-largest island in the world is home to a plethora of unique sites and activities for any type of traveller, from natural wonders and wild animals, to local markets and culture. Here are 10 things to do in Madagascar that you’re sure to enjoy!

Explore Madagascar’s Natural Wonders

Madagascar is filled with incredible wildlife and stunning natural sights that you won’t find anywhere else in the world. From the sweeping red sandstone canyons of the Isalo National Park, to the rainforest-covered mountains of the Andringitra Massif and cool natural pools of Anjohibe, you’ll feel transported to a whole new world. Whether you’re an avid hiker or just looking for an awe-inspiring photo op, Madagascar’s unique landscapes will take your breath away.

The country is also home to some of the world’s most diverse marine life. From the coral reefs of Nosy Be to the whale sharks of Nosy Tanikely, you can explore the depths of the Indian Ocean and discover a world of vibrant colours and fascinating creatures. Whether you’re a scuba-diver or just looking to take a dip, Madagascar’s waters are sure to provide an unforgettable experience.

Take a Tour of Antananarivo, the Capital City

Antananarivo is Madagascar’s bustling capital city situated in its heart. It is home to a variety of attractions including historical palaces, art galleries and museums, striking architecture and monuments, unique markets, and delightful cafes and restaurants. There’s no better way to get to know the local culture than strolling through this amazing city while trying out its unique cuisine.

Go on Safari in the National Parks

No trip to Madagascar would be complete without visiting its fabulous national parks, filled with some of the world’s most unique species of mammals, reptiles, birds and plants. Take a 4×4 safari in Parc National de Isalo and search for the elusive fossa or spot some of the park’s 12 species of lemurs. Or, enjoy a relaxing boat ride along the Sakay River in Parc National de Sahamalaza-Iles Radama and look out for turtles, migratory birds and even humpback whales.

For a truly unique experience, visit Parc National de Ranomafana and explore its lush rainforest. Here you can find some of the world’s rarest species of frogs, chameleons and birds. You can also take a guided tour of the park’s hot springs and learn about the local culture and history.

Experience the Unique Culture of Madagascar

Port Louis, Madagascar’s capital city, is always bustling with activity at the colourful markets selling traditional Malagasy crafts and clothing. You can learn about local culture at handicraft classes or take in some of the renowned traditional dancing in one of the city’s many theatres.

If you’re looking for a more immersive cultural experience, consider visiting one of the many villages in the area. Here, you can learn about the traditional customs and beliefs of the Malagasy people, as well as sample some of the local cuisine. You can also take part in activities such as fishing, hiking, and bird watching, all of which offer a unique insight into the culture of Madagascar.

Indulge in Local Cuisine and Drinks

No trip to Madagascar would be complete without trying some of the delicious Malagasy cuisine. Highlights include spicy dishes like thiakry, a coconut-based grain salad that’s served as a side dish, and romazava, a nutritious stew made with beef, vegetables and herbs. If you’re looking for something sweet, don’t miss out on ravinala, a tasty dessert made with shaved coconut, nuts and spices. Don’t forget to wash it all down with a cold glass of litchi juice or Toaka Gasy, a local beer that’s sure to refresh you on a hot summer’s day.

Enjoy the Beach and Water Activities

Madagascar offers a variety of beachside activities. Popular spots include Nosy Be and its beautiful beaches and resorts, Ifaty beach in the southwest known for its unique scenery and spinner dolphins, and Masoala National Park with its turquoise waters and exotic wildlife. There is something for every type of traveler here – from snorkeling and scuba diving to swimming with whale sharks and exploring sunken shipwrecks.

If you’re looking for a more relaxed beach experience, Madagascar also offers plenty of opportunities for sunbathing, beachcombing, and simply enjoying the stunning views. There are plenty of beachside restaurants and bars to enjoy, as well as a variety of water sports such as kayaking, windsurfing, and kitesurfing. No matter what type of beach experience you’re looking for, Madagascar has something for everyone.

Visit Historical Sites and Museums

Madagascar’s historical sites and museums offer amazing insight into its tumultuous past. Start your journey with a visit to the Andafiavaratra Palace in Antananarivo, which once served as a royal palace for Queen Ranavalona I. Follow it up with a trip to one of several tribal tombs found across Madagascar that hold 1000-year-old remains that offer unique insights into the island’s past inhabitants. To explore other pieces of history, visit Puta Manga madagascar’s first chronological archaeological museum, located in Antananarivo.

Get Up Close with Lemurs and Other Wild Animals

Madagascar’s national parks provide the perfect opportunity to get up close and personal with some of its most fascinating animals. Lemurs are among the most popular sights here, with more than 100 species spread across Madagascar. Other notable wildlife include fossas, tortoises, chameleons, hundreds of species of birds, and lots more.

Take a Day Trip to Nearby Islands

Madagascar is surrounded by numerous tropical islands. Near Ile Sainte Marie lies Ilots Mangabe – a cluster of small islands home to several endangered species of lemur as well as exotic birds and reptiles. You will also find African Coelacanth – one of the world’s rarest fishes here! If scuba-diving is your thing then Sakatia Island should definitely be on your list. Whatever you choose to do you’re sure to have an unforgettable experience!

Discover Malagasy Arts and Music

No trip to Madagascar would be complete without sampling at least a bit of the local music and art scene. Music plays an important role in Malagasy culture, from traditional song and dance to modern interpretations like polyphonic vocal music from Ialatsara or Kanto Be from Toliara. For more traditional crafts check out Antsiranana and Analalava for their unique woodwork and stone sculptors; or Maroantsetra for its vibrant textile markets.

If you’re looking for an off-the-beaten-track destination where you can immerse yourself in diverse wildlife and culture, Madagascar is it. From national parks teeming with wildlife and fascinating historical sites to tasty cuisine and vibrant markets, there is so much to discover on this incredible island. So pack your bags and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime!

Ready to take your adventure to the next level? Join a GVI volunteer program in Madagascar and make a difference while immersing yourself in the local culture. With GVI, you’ll have the chance to work alongside passionate and like-minded individuals, creating memories and impact that will last a lifetime. What are you waiting for? Join us in Madagascar and let’s make a difference together!

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