From Lemur to Baobab Trees: Madagascar Unveiled

Nellie Huang April 17, 2013 8

Sunset at Avenue du Baobab.

Madagascar is a name that’s famous around the world – yet the country remains largely unknown. For those who are curious enough to go under its surface will be duly rewarded by otherworldly landscapes, warm people, rich biodiversity, and an impressive collection of wildlife found nowhere else in the world.

As the fourth biggest island in the world – after Greenland, Papua New Guinea and Borneo  –  La Grand Île is located in the Indian Ocean, with the Mozambique Channel separating it from continental Africa. Over 5,000km of wide beaches and coral reefs stretch along its coastline, while further inland, it’s home to diverse terrains ranging from volcanic mountain chains in the center to the humid rainforests in the east, dry sandstone cliffs in the west and bizarre karst forests in the north.

Locals crossing the river on a dugout canoe.

Madagascar’s isolation from the African continent 165 million years ago has resulted in the evolution its animals and plants into what they are today. There are now over 70 species and sub-species of lemurs on the Red Island, although 16 have already been wiped out since the arrival of mankind. There are also over 346 species of reptiles found nowhere else besides Madagascar – including the world’s biggest and smallest chameleon.  Plant life is as equally impressive here, with over 6,000 species of endemic plants, including the bizarre spiny octopus-like trees and the bottle-shaped baobab trees.

Hiking the Stone forest of Tsingy de Bemahara.

The only predator on the island, the fosa (panther-like creature).

With over three weeks in Madagascar, we traveled through the raw and rugged backcountry, exploring as much as we possibly could – from trekking through darkness in the Kirindy forest and watching sunset at the Avenue du Baobab to climbing sharp karst stone pinnacles in the Tsingy de Bemahara and flowing down the Tsiribihina River on dugout canoes.

Seven continents and hundreds of countries later, Madagascar remains one of my favorite places in the world. I’ll let our photos show you why.


  1. patrick marks June 24, 2013 at 3:56 pm - Reply

    Madagascar is a fabulous place and I can say from having travelled there 4 times and seen new places on each trip and returned to old favourites and seen more amazing animals and friendly locals. I’m happy to give my thoughts to anyone wanting to travel independently and meet locals and the people dedicated to conserving the amazing wildlife.

    • Emily July 5, 2013 at 6:43 pm - Reply

      Hi Patrick, my friend and I are heading to Madagascar in August for a month, do you have any travel advice for us as independant travellers on a budget?

    • Catrina May 3, 2014 at 3:44 am - Reply

      Hi Patrick wouldn’t mind having your thoughts copied and pasted to me as well. In early stages of planning.
      Many thanks

    • Emma August 14, 2014 at 3:46 am - Reply

      Hi Patrick, I am also in early stages of planning 5/6 week trip to Madagascar late this year. Would love to hear any advice you have particularly relating to independent travel.

      Thank you,

    • Patrick August 31, 2014 at 3:40 am - Reply

      Patrcik, Any information on travel and infrastructure in Madagascare would be very helpful Hope to rented a 4 wheel drive with driver and had as many of the places I lived there and record all the things I took for granted when I was there. Lemurs, Booboa trees, birds, culture. I did not pay enough attentions.. did collect butterflies and lost of sea readture. Anyway whet ever you can provide would be great.

      planing at at least 4 to 5 weeds to reacquaint myself witht the people and the language. I want to suck up the culture again.

      God Bless, Paul Ropisen

  2. Nicci August 28, 2013 at 5:55 am - Reply

    Hi Patrick, my fiance’ and I are planning to visit Madagascar next year as our “off the beaten track” honeymoon destination next year, Any advice and pointers you could offer would be great. We would really like to experience the island and see as manyof its wonders as possible.

  3. Gabel October 21, 2013 at 4:49 am - Reply

    Love to see your page!
    I’m going Madagascar in November!
    Want to go to the tsingy, may be Manambolo in a canoe, and Sait Mary island.
    I want to use local transports.
    You know how I can get from Tana to Tsingy B. and how much time I need for the travel?
    I only have 2 weeks, so the difficult is to find where I’ll have tiem to go, using local transports…
    If you can give me some advices, I’ll be happy! :-)
    Gabel (Portugal)

  4. Gary Heiser May 18, 2014 at 3:17 pm - Reply

    My daughter (20) and I are intending to go to Madagascar very soon, July for about two weeks.
    We do not have any contacts or prior experience with this country and want to utilize or time as well as possible. Priority is scuba diving.Any suggestions for reputable dive captains? can you recommend guides and drivers for other locations?
    Many thanks, Gary!

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