Reasons to Visit
Madagascar is fringed by stunning coastline and tiny islands. The beaches of Madagascar are beautiful, untouched and undeveloped. Here turquoise waters meet white sandy shores and they are the perfect place to relax after an adventurous time exploring the mainland and its magnificent wildlife.
The birdlife is remarkable on Madagascar with chances of seeing over 100 endemic species. The coua family, vanga family and Madagascar red fody are to name but a few. With striking plumage and sweet song they are a special feature of this diverse island.
Over 90% of Madagascar’s chameleons and frogs are endemic and are found all over the country. They range from giants like the Parson’s chameleon that can reach 60cms to some the size of a fingernail, and found in every colour under the sun the variation that can be seen is staggering.
Lemurs are the star attraction in Madagascar, and their endearing behaviour and abundant energy will keep everyone entertained. From the largest indri and its haunting eerie cry, to the smallest nocturnal mouse lemur with its huge amber eyes make each species so unique and fascinating.
The rainforests of Madagascar are a real treasure trove of exceptional and unique flora and fauna. Here you will easily find lemurs, chameleons and frogs hidden away and the diversity of species found here is overwhelming. All exploring is done on foot on the trails that weave through the forest.
The reefs around Madagascar are home to bright colourful fish and vibrant corals. From the beaches you can explore with fins and snorkel to discover more of this countries magnificent wildlife.
Whale watching off the east coast of Madagascar between July to September is something not to be missed. These giants swim close to the shores of Ile Sainte Marie and make for a great spectacle.
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Africa and The Indian Ocean
Ile Sainte-Marie is a sleepy island off Madagascar’s east coast, ringed by deserted beaches, traditional fishing villages and just a handful of small lodges. As well as a colourful history of piracy in the old days, it now boasts some of the best whale watching in Africa.
Ile Sainte-Marie is a sleepy island off Madagascar’s east coast, ringed by deserted beaches with soft sand and palm trees, traditional fishing villages and just a handful of small lodges.
The island is renowned for its seafood and is the best place on Madagascar to eat crab. If you are brave you can also sample the island tipple – coconut milk enlivened by a large measure of Pastis.
Ile Sainte Marie is about 60 kilometres long and 5 kilometres wide and has a colourful history: through the 17th and 18th centuries it was a popular base for the Indian Ocean’s pirates. There is one town, Ambodifotatra, with a couple of cafés, a large church and a busy market. Numerous villages dotted around the island have bamboo huts, fat ducks crossing the road and geese swimming in rainfilled potholes. Mango, clove, cinammon and breadfruit trees line the roads that never get far from beaches where pirogues are moored in the shallows. If you cycle through the villages in the evening you smell the food being cooked, hear music playing from the radios and under a tree in Volihava village there is often a group of men playing boules.
Ile Sainte Marie can be visited from April right through until December, but is particularly rewarding from July to September when substantial groups of humpback whales come to breed and calve in the calm waters of the Antongil Bay. The cloves are harvested in November and the mangos and lychees come into season in December: only the months of January to March are marred by the cyclone season.
With all these enticing features just a short flight from Tana it is surprising this island has remained so thoroughly unspoiled.
14 days from £2,805pp
14 days from £4,495pp
16 days from £5,565pp
95 miles away
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Include a visit to Île Sainte-Marie on your tailor-made trip around Madagascar by contacting one of our specialists...
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Further reading:Tours in MadagascarWhen to GoHighlightsItinerary IdeasPlaces to GoThings to DoAccommodationAbout MadagascarCountry Guides
Other countries in Africa:BotswanaKenyaMalawiMauritiusMozambiqueNamibiaRwandaSouth AfricaTanzaniaThe SeychellesUgandaZambiaZanzibar ArchipelagoZimbabwe
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