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Madagascar, officially the Republic of Madagascar, and previously known as the Malagasy Republic, is an island country in the Indian Ocean, approximately 400 kilometres off the coast of East Africa. At 592,800 square kilometres Madagascar is the world’s 2nd largest island country.

Best Places to Visit in Madagascar

1. Ifaty

A single name for a duo of resorts, Ifaty (and its bigger brother of Mangily, also now confusingly referred to as just Ifaty too) is a stretch of sun-kissed onetime fishing villages on the south-western edge of Madagascar island.

Famed for their luxurious hotel resorts and wide beaches of shining yellow sand, they draw some of the biggest crowds in the country.

Most come for the rigmarole of sun, sea, sand and world-class snorkelling that’s offered by the Indian Ocean, while others head in to enjoy catamaran tours on the Mozambique Channel, sample uber-fresh fish curries and encounter the traditional reed villages of the coastal folk.

2. Nosy Be

Just a short hop, skip and a jump across the Indian Ocean waters from the town of Ambanja, gorgeous little Nosy Be is the place to go for Madagascar’s trademark beaches.

Shining in hues of alabaster white in the coves and inlets that ring the shoreline here, they pop up beautifully around little fishing villages like Ambatoloaka, or come dotted with groups of swaying palm trees at Ambondrona.

There are beach parties too, erupting each Sunday along the sands of Madirokely.

And, Nosy Be’s popularity notwithstanding, there are chances for real seclusion to boot – just check out the far-flung islet of Orangea, languishing out at sea from the north-west coast.

3. Nosy Mangabe

Nestled deep between the coastal hills of Helodrano Antongila Bay, which carves its way inland on the north-eastern edge of Madagascar, the small island come nature reserve of Nosy Mangabe is a real must for any wildlife lovers heading to these parts.

Famed for its booming populations of bug-eyed aye-aye lemurs, the spot is a picture of tropical perfection.

Huge fig trees wrangle around groves of palms, ruffed lemurs meet mantella frogs in the undergrowth, and the green hills crash down into secluded bays of bright yellow sand.

Boats to the island and all the necessary permits are available in Maroantsetra; the closest town on the mainland.

4. Tsingy de Bemaraha

A truly dramatic landscape of carved rocks and towering hoodoos, needle-like stone spires and colossal monoliths balanced tenuously atop cliffs, the Tsingy de Bemaraha is one of Madagascar’s most curious natural treasures.

It can be found amidst the long green belt of nature reserves on the west coast, displaying its rugged karst landscapes where the inland highlands give way to the verdant hills closer to the shore.

Today it’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site; one tagged for its great biodiversity of dry deciduous forests, rare rock habitats, and the photogenic nature of the sweeping plateau within.

5. Ranomafana National Park

The natural jewel of Fianarantsoa and the home of Madagascar’s famous golden bamboo lemur, Ranomafana National Park draws thousands of people each year to its forest-clad reaches in the heart of the island’s eastern haunch.

Sweeping down from misty montane forests to lowland plains, the territory is crisscrossed by mile upon mile of hiking track, carved out by roaring waterfalls and peppered with multi-coloured lizards.

A word of warning: Ranomafana’s biggest draws lie deep between the mountains and forests, so be sure to bring sturdy boots and strong legs for this one!

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