Best attractions in Madagascar: Top 14

Madagascar is an island state, like a large nature reserve. Every new visitor to the country finds something to see in Madagascar: active recreation at the seaside is complemented by ecotourism in protected areas, and guides in Madagascar help organize any kind of holiday - conduct numerous tours of the sights of Madagascar with accommodation in comfortable hotels in Madagascar. Excursions to Madagascar is a huge network of routes across the country, which is almost impossible to cover at once, but you can always choose the most important attractions, which form the most complete and vivid impression of the country. The recommendations given in this article will help to solve the problem of choice.

What to see in Madagascar first

This overview will allow you to plan your future itinerary so that you can easily determine what to see in Madagascar in 1 day, a week or any other period of time, depending on your capabilities. The best sights - cities, structures and protected areas, of which there are many, will make your trip to Madagascar a rich and memorable experience.

1. City of Antananarivo

Sunset over the "City of a Thousand Warriors"

You will definitely find something to do in Madagascar if you visit its capital, Antananarivo. This is a real jewel in the beautiful necklace of cities in the country. During a walk through the streets of the capital it may even seem that you are in the heart of France - in the center of the city there is the Hotel de France, everywhere are signs on the stores “Made in France”, all this is complemented by the enticing smell of fresh croissants and the sounds of the accordion. There is something to see in Madagascar and from the natural attractions of the capital. Just a few kilometers from Antananarivo is a reserve with rare species of animals, and Lake Anousi, located in the heart of the capital and is surrounded by a beautiful park, surprisingly beautiful, lilac-colored water.

2. Ambohimanga Royal Hill

View of Royal Ambochimanga Hill

This is one of the most important landmarks in Madagascar dedicated to the Malagasy culture. The royal hill is the ancient ruins of a once thriving city. In addition to the royal city itself, there are ancient sanctuaries and burials. It is believed that sacred rituals were also performed here. The hill was arranged in such a way that on top there was a forest where peace and tranquility reigned, and on the lower levels there were cut areas intended for agriculture. The city was enclosed by walls with 14 stone gates, and ditches were dug around the perimeter for added protection.

3. Andafiavaratra Palace

The former residence of the Prime Minister of the country Rainilayarivuni

Now for more details on what to see in Madagascar on the aforementioned hill. First of all, it is Andafiavaratra Palace. At one time it served as the residence of the Prime Minister, who ruled the kingdom in the 19th century. Now the palace is set up as a museum, which presents about a thousand and a half exhibits, including antique furniture, portraits of rulers, royal jewelry and outfits. These and other exhibits are of great historical value to the state. Many of them were restored after a major fire and were transferred here from Ruwa Palace, which will be discussed below.

4. Ruwa Palace

The building of Ruwa Palace on Mount Analamanga Hery Zo Rakotondramanana

The palace is located on Mount Analamanga, about 1.5 kilometers above sea level. It was erected in wood and stone in the 19th century in honor of the first Queen Ranavaluna, who ruled the state in the 17th century. In 1995, as already mentioned, a fire broke out at Ruwa Palace, right in the process of demonstration, which destroyed almost all the wooden structures of the structure. Today, the palace has been fully restored, and this landmark has regained its former glory.

5. Qinggi-du-Bemaraha Reserve

Hanging bridge among the stone forest of the Cinji du Bemaraha Reserve

Some natural sites are so beautiful that seeing them in Madagascar is a must include in your travel itinerary. One such site is Cinji du Bemaraha, the largest reserve of 1,500 square kilometers, consisting of huge limestone ridges and impassable labyrinths. The purpose of organizing the reserve was to protect karst landscapes and rare species of lemurs. Looking down from the tops of the limestone cliffs, you can observe extraordinary views that are difficult to describe: the stone jungle alternates with deep canyons and gorges, caves and the dark waters of the Monambolo River. Adding to the harsh landscape are carefree lemurs, who move with ease through the most impenetrable mazes.

Be sure to watch this beautiful video about Madagascar!

6. Izalo National Park

Isalo National Park Landscape

The natural landscapes of Izalo were once recognized as valuable and unusual, which is why it was decided to create a reserve here. The local landscapes are very reminiscent of the views of the African desert savannah. However, there are also some very beautiful eco-routes along the river beds. Izalo was founded in 1962 on an area of about 800 square kilometers and the altitude difference ranges from 500 to 1200 meters above the sea. The beauty of the local landscape is given by bizarre cliffs, deep caves and canyons.

7. The Tropical Forests of Atsinanana

Acinanana humid rainforest nature spot Frank Vassen

This landmark of Madagascar is a relict forest stretching along the east coast of the island. This area, formed about 60 million years ago, has remained geographically isolated throughout its existence, resulting in a high degree of endemism - for many thousands of years evolution has taken its course here. For example, about 12,000 species of vegetation growing here are endemic, as are 78 species of mammals living here.

8. Ankaratra Volcano

The ancient volcano Ankaratra reminds you of itself with columns of red-hot steam

Just 50 kilometers from the capital is a unique landmark of Madagascar - a ridge of extinct volcanoes, which covers an area of about 100 square kilometers. Volcanoes have been extinct for about 2 thousand years, but sometimes “wake up” for a short time, making themselves felt by small earthquakes and the formation of new hot springs. The highest volcano is Ankaratra, its height is more than 2.5 thousand meters. Climbing to the height, you can observe the extraordinary panorama, which is formed by sleeping volcanoes. Numerous tourists are attracted here by the abundance of springs of medicinal water, which gush out of the ground right in the streets of the town of Antsirabe, located at the foot.

9. Montagne d’Ambre National Park

Lovely waterfall of Montagne D'Ambre National Park

This Madagascar landmark is spread over 23,000 hectares right on the slopes of an extinct volcano. The park is home to tropical forests, the area is saturated with moisture - there are many lakes, beautiful waterfalls and rivers. The local population very much revered this place as a sacred place, shrouded in a multitude of beliefs and legends. This protected area is home to many endemic animals and plants, including 7 species of lemurs, 77 species of birds and 24 species of amphibians.

Attractions in Madagascar: what else to visit in Madagascar

Reviews about excursions to Madagascar indicate the possibility of combining a relaxing vacation on the pristine beaches and challenging fascinating trips through the numerous volcanoes, deserts, islands and coral reefs. The list of other attractions in Madagascar is for those who want to get to know these lands as well as possible.

10. Lake Tritriva

Sacred Lake Tritriva in the mouth of an extinct volcano

The lake has a volcanic nature - it is located directly in the crater of an extinct volcano, and its depth reaches 150 meters. Amazingly beautiful turquoise color of the lake attracts many visitors, as well as the legend that bears about this body of water. According to it, local lovers Ibeniombi and Ravolahanta, who were not allowed to be together, once threw themselves into the waters of the lake.

Another phenomenon of the lake is that during drought the water level rises, while during the rainy season, on the contrary, it sinks. And objects that are thrown into the lake, over time, appear down in the valley, so there is speculation about the existence of underground channels. The lake is so unique in its peculiarities that a visit to Madagascar is worthwhile for everyone.

11. Nusi-Be Island

Nusi-Be Island - a place for deep-sea diving

There is something to see in Madagascar among other natural monuments of volcanic origin. Such is the island of Nusi-Be with magnificent nature - clean sandy beaches, rich flora and fauna. It is an ideal place for a quiet and relaxing holiday by the sea. The island is a plateau of volcanic nature, which rises above the sea up to 450 meters. It has an excellent tourist infrastructure, which attracts travelers from all over the world: hotels, diving clubs, equipped beaches - in a word, everything you need for a comfortable holiday and recreation.

12. Baobab Avenue

Avenue of Baobabs during sunset

For the inhabitants of Madagascar, the baobab is a sacred tree, it is revered on a par with various deities. Therefore, with the development of agriculture on the island, forests were actively cut down, only baobabs remained untouched. Therefore, on the edges of one of the roads now rise old baobabs, forming a kind of corridor. The trees growing in this alley are of a very rare species of endemic plants, up to 30 meters high and about eight centuries old.

13. St. Mary’s Island

Saint Mary's Island is a popular beach resort Cost of Living

About 7 kilometers off the coast of Madagascar is the narrow and long island of Saint Mary. This place is known worldwide as an attraction in Madagascar, providing all opportunities for beach holidays, diving and fishing.The island is famous for its white sandy beaches and clear azure sea. These days it is one of the most visited islands in Madagascar, so a large number of hotels, restaurants, diving clubs have been built here in recent years, which attracts more and more tourists every year.

14. Lemurs - the symbol of Madagascar

Stay Cat Lemurs

The nature of the island is so unique that only here are several dozen species of lemurs, which have become a living landmark of Madagascar. These animals are primates, and are often mistaken for monkeys. In fact, lemurs are the progenitors of modern monkeys. They are trusting, friendly to humans and peaceful. Their appearance is very cute - big round eyes, fluffy fur and relatively small size. The smallest species of lemurs are quite tiny and weigh about 30 grams, while the largest specimens weigh up to 10 kilograms.

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A trip to Madagascar is a trip to a unique island sanctuary, where every tourist can relax in their own way: visit the volcanic mountains, taking pictures of the dizzying scenery, climb into the thickets of the mangra, visit huge vanilla plantations, bask on endless beaches and visit other interesting places. Read also about sights of South Africa and get inspired for your future journey to Africa!