While your imagining of Madagascar is likely coloured by the eponymous DreamWorks movie, the island is a biodiverse haven of unique flora and fauna, and draws travellers in search of their last sunshine fix before winter.



Why now?

Sitting proudly in the middle of the Indian Ocean off the east
coast of Mozambique, Madagascar is the world’s fourth-largest
island. Despite its unique flora, fauna and landscapes, it’s
perhaps best known for the eponymous DreamWorks film – full
disclosure, Sacha Baron Cohen’s voice as King Julien is as reason
enough to visit the island.

While Madagascar’s roads are notoriously bad, its destinations
are always worth the ride. Spend days trekking through sandstone
canyons, clambering through forests in search of lemurs (the
island’s national animal) and stumbling upon empty patches of
golden sand. Beach bums should head to Île aux Nattes, a tiny isle
that pairs wild tropics with sandy stretches, while city lovers
should make a pitstop in Madagascar’s capital, Antananarivo (Tana
for short). While long stays aren’t recommended here (the city is
known for its noisy traffic), the bustling Analakely Market is not
to be missed.

At sunset, visit Allée des Baobabs to see the island’s famed
trees against a candy-floss-pink background – some of them date
back more than 1,000 years. Gnarled branches stretch up into
purple-tinged skies, oozing so an albeit very knobbly kind of

Don’t miss…

The hiking opportunities. Madagascar is covered with vast
expanses of savannahs, canyons and gorges. Head to Isalo National
Park, where gorges are covered in a blanket of savannah grass
streaked with winding streams and framed by rocky cliffs. After
you’ve satisfied your inner nature-lover, explore the small,
adjacent town of Ranohira – if you’re there on a Friday, visit the
market to wander around aromatic stalls selling herbs and

Who to take with you

The island is a hotspot for biodiversity, with around 90 per
cent of its plant and animal species being unique to Madagascar –
so take someone eager to explore them all. Spend days snorkelling
among colourful fish (or, if you’re feeling brave, diving to spot
some sharks), watching frogs hop about on land or admiring lemurs
that swing from trees.

When to go

Rainy season runs from December through to March, so it’s best
to travel between April and November if you’re after dry weather.
We suggest going in November for that last dose of sunshine before

Where to stay

Stay at Constance Tsarabanjina, where 25
thatched bungalows perch among the jungle canopy on an uninhabited
private island off the Madagascan coast. Take boat trips to the
mainland, go for long walks around the length of the island (it
only takes 90 minutes), water ski over glistening water or laze on
powdery beaches before returning to the hotel for food and
cocktails overlooking the horizon.

Most likely to bump into…

Hikers looking for a different kind of challenge. Madagascar has
three high peaks: Maromokotro in the Tsaratanana Massif (2,876m),
Boby Peak in the Andringitra Massif (2,658m) and Tsiafajavona in
the Ankaratra Massif (2,644m). Keen adventurers are rewarded with
jaw-dropping views of the island and plenty of nature-spotting
opportunities along the way.

Essentials to bring with you

Slip into this square-necked Matteau swimsuit,
throw on a pair of sunglasses and head straight to the beach, or
pair with denim shorts for a day spent exploring.

How to get there

Flights to Madagascar’s main airport takes around 12 hours from
including a stopover.

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