Explore Africa: visit Madagascar

Madagascar, an island nation located off the southeast coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean, is a world of its own. Often referred to as the eighth continent due to its profound levels of biodiversity and distinct ecosystems, Madagascar offers a blend of natural beauty and rich culture that is unmatched. 

Madagascar's isolation from mainland Africa for millions of years has resulted in a diverse range of flora and fauna, with over 90% of its wildlife being found nowhere else on Earth. The island is most famous for its lemurs, charismatic primates that have become synonymous with Madagascar's identity. These creatures range from the tiny mouse lemur to the impressive indri, and observing them in their natural habitats is a highlight for any visitor. The island's varied landscapes also offer breathtaking scenery. From the spiny forests of the southwest, characterized by their bizarre and thorny vegetation, to the lush rainforests of the east and the unique stone forests of Tsingy de Bemaraha, Madagascar's ecological diversity is astonishing. Each region not only supports a unique set of species but also offers distinct trekking and exploration opportunities.

Madagascar is not just about its ecological wonders; its cultural heritage is equally fascinating. The Malagasy people, whose origins are a mix of Southeast Asian, African, Arab, and French influences, have a rich culture that is expressed through their music, dance, and art. Traditional music often features the valiha, a bamboo tube zither that is considered the national instrument of Madagascar.

The island's history is filled with tales of kings and queens, pirates, and traders, all of whom have left their mark on Malagasy culture. The influence of these groups is evident in the diverse linguistic, culinary, and architectural traditions seen throughout the island.

Despite its natural and cultural wealth, Madagascar faces significant challenges. Deforestation, driven by slash-and-burn agriculture (known locally as 'tavy'), illegal logging, and the demand for charcoal, poses a serious threat to the island's unique ecosystems and wildlife. Conservation efforts are crucial and many local and international organizations are working hard to protect Madagascar's natural heritage.

Madagascar is a testament to the beauty and complexity of nature. Its extraordinary biodiversity coupled with a rich cultural tapestry makes it a must-visit for anyone passionate about nature, wildlife, and culture. A journey to Madagascar is not just a trip; it's an exploration into one of the most unique places on our planet.


  • Amanda Berry
  • Getty Images
  • Guillaume Petermann
  • Olivier Grunewald


  • Conservation International: Madagascar's Biodiversity.
  • National Geographic: Madagascar, Island of Lemurs.
  • UNESCO World Heritage Centre: Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict Nature Reserve.
  • Madagascar National Tourist Office: Cultural Heritage of Madagascar.
  • The Guardian: Efforts to Combat Deforestation in Madagascar.