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Audley Traveler

A cinematic glimpse at Madagascar

The peculiar and remote island nation of Madagascar can be discovered in theaters near you in a documentary featuring its most famous inhabitant – the endemic lemur.

Ringtail lemur, Isalo National Park, Madagascar

Ringtail lemur, Isalo National Park, Madagascar

The peculiar and remote island nation of Madagascar can be discovered in theatres near you in a documentary featuring its most famous inhabitant – the endemic lemur. The 3D IMAX film Island of Lemurs, narrated by Morgan Freeman, serves as a great introduction to the country and its wildlife for anyone considering a trip there.

The trailer and showing times can be found on the Imax website.

Cut off from mainland Africa for millions of years, Madagascar is home to more than 200,000 species of flora and fauna, of which more than 80% cannot be found anywhere else in the world, including more than 100 species of lemur. The fight to protect this endangered primate is the focal point of the 40-minute IMAX film that follows the conservation efforts of lemur expert Patricia C. Wright, who played an integral role in the establishment of the Ranomafana National Park.

Travellers wishing to visit Madagascar to discover this playful primate first-hand will be rewarded with some of the most amazingly diverse and interesting wildlife left on this planet. However, Madagascar Country Specialist Donna Piccini advises that tourism is just being established in the country so visitors should pack a sense of humour and along their sense of adventure. Transportation is no exception, so it is advisable to stick to a one region (north or south) unless you have an abundance of time to spare. With a bit of inside knowledge, a trip to the mainland promises stunning scenery and diverse environments from jungle to speared rock formations, and the halo of small islands scattered around it offer empty white sandy beaches for a bit of relaxation.

Below Donna describes some of the highlights of her travels in Madagascar:

  1. Masoala National Park - Masoala National Park is the last refuge of the red-ruffed lemur, which can be found sunning themselves in the tree tops. It is also the country’s largest park consisting of a mountain range covered in primary forest as well as the deserted beaches of Antongil Bay where hump-backed whales come to breed and calve.
  2. Ranomafana National Park – Established as a national park in 1991 to protect the golden bamboo lemur, this region was a popular destination in colonial times for visitors wishing to bathe in thermal hot springs. Today, the lush rain forest and its curious inhabitants are the main attraction.
  3. Ifotaka Community Forest - The Ifotaka Community Forest is as remote as it is wild. It covers a huge expanse of gallery and spiny forest and has been protected by the Antandroy Tribe, one of Madagascar’s fiercest and most traditional tribes. Many tombs are hidden in the forest undergrowth, and your guide will explain their traditions as you pay a visit to the ombiasy (traditional healer), learn how to use the piletse, a zebu-hide sling shot, and take a zebu-cart to the colourful market at Fenaivo.

Itinerary ideas to help start planning your tailor-made journey

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