Madagascar, Land of Many Faces
by David Craig
Madagascar has been described in many ways by many people, but, in my mind, few have been able to capture its essence. Only by visiting this remote island can you hope to appreciate the beauty, the variety and remarkable people of the island, set off the coast of southern Africa. While the similarities to the continent are many, the differences are far more fascinating.
For most visitors, the lovable little lemurs are one of the island’s most important features. I would certainly agree. Ranging in size from that of the tiniest mouse to a commanding baboon, the lemur is as varied and as unique as any mammal species in the world. The common lemurs enthralled us as they ran and played, getting ever more curious and playful as we watched. The massive howlers seemed terrifying at first, while the nocturnal species, often as small as a field mouse, definitely tested our observation skills.
The lemurs are definitely a major draw to the island, but as we found, there is so much more to experience. The flora and fauna change with each passing mile. From dense rainforests, to vast arid deserts, from mighty mountains to amazing rock formations, from untouched white sand beaches to tranquil palm fringed resorts, we marvelled at the variety of scenery, flora and more. Just wait until you cross a plain of the mighty Baobob trees, appearing to grow from the sky down. You’ll see what I mean once you get there!
Another quite startling reality for me was the human element, the extensive farmlands and country houses, made of brick that dot parts of the countryside. For those expecting a primitive culture with little cultural heritage – you will be surprised and hopefully fascinated by what you see and learn. The fourth largest island in the world promises to be the experience of a lifetime and an adventure through exotic lands, off the traditional tourist routes.
It is some years since I was last in Madagascar, but I continue to be most enthusiastic about every facet of this intriguing country. Madagascar is a land of dramatic contrasts and exceptionally diverse landscapes, flora and fauna, as well as the intriguing culture of its people, the world’s only Afro-Asian nation. This island nation has remained a world apart – eighty percent of its flora and fauna are found nowhere else on earth. With over thirty different species of lemurs, unusual plant life, a fascinating culture of several distinct tribes, plus strong French influences, Madagascar is a wonderful destination for the more adventurous traveller.
Our October 2018 journey has been planned to explore the deserts, rainforests, mountains, beaches, the magnificent little lemurs, and, finally, ending our adventure with a stay on the beautiful resort island of Nosy Be.
This is a tour for those who are looking for a truly unique travel experience that will take you off the beaten track and into a world apart. It will be a small group adventure and space is now limited, so confirm your intentions soon. Save $200 per person by reserving your space before May 31.