Nosy Komba is a beautiful island a few kilometers away from Nosy Be, placed on the map for its population of habituated black lemurs. Hills fold dramatically into the water, creating sandy coves and sheltered harbors for fishing villages. The island’s main settlement is Ampangorinana, where the villagers have a keen eye for business: the dusty lanes are lined with embroidered tablecloths, woven baskets and wood carvings. Out of the village island life is quiet. There are numerous deserted coves to explore as well as paths that lead through tavy farms and into the hills where you will find birds, chameleons and black lemurs: best of all, you’ll have them all to yourself.
Ile Aux Nattes (pronounced "eal oh nut"), also known as Nosy Nato, is a small but extremely beautiful tropical island (only 3 km in diameter) just off the southern tip of St Marie. The only way to reach the island is by lakana (traditional wooden canoes also known as a pirogue) from Sainte Marie. Some lakanas are always on standby on the beach just south-west of the airport runway and the trip across only takes about four minutes. During low tide a reasonable good swimmer can swim across the narrow channel (about 300 meters) separating the two islands. Although very small - it can be explored on foot in less than 3 hours - Ile Aux Nattes has everything travel brochures are made of. Unspoiled tropical beaches with fine white sand, coconut and other palm trees scattered along the shore, and a turquoise lagoon protected by coral reefs inhabited by a variety of exotic marine life.
Ambohimanga is a hill and traditional fortified royal settlement (rova) in Madagascar, located approximately 24 kilometers (15 mi) northeast of the capital city of Antananarivo. The hill and the rova that stands on top are considered the most significant symbol of the cultural identity of the Merina people and the most important and best-preserved monument of the precolonial Merina Kingdom. The historic walled village includes residences and burial sites of several key monarchs. The site, one of the twelve sacred hills of Imerina, is associated with strong feelings of national identity and has maintained its spiritual and sacred character both in ritual practice and the popular imagination for at least four hundred years. It remains a place of worship to which pilgrims come from Madagascar and elsewhere.
The Ifaty southern region is delightfully laidback, comprised of two small fishing villages called Mangily and Madio Rano. Between these villages you will find a collection of bungalow accommodation options, making it an ideal beach destination to unwind after your more active trekking and wildlife exploits on other parts of the island, or simply watch the traditional ‘pirogue’ fishing boats ply the gentle waters. Due to the convenient location behind a large coral reef and the proximity to Toliara, first touristic infrastructure developed during the 1970ies. At the white sandy beaches of Ranobe bay (translated “big water”) at Mozambique Channel, you have the best opportunities to relax. The water is warm and the sun shines on more than 300 days of the year. Ifaty has a number of well equipped hotels and lodges, via which you can organize trips by zebu carts (charrettes), lobster diners, pirogue journeys or visits to the nearby Reniala Reserve as well as the tortoise village.
Anakao or Anokao is a coastal fishing town of about 3000 on the southwest coast of Madagascar, 35 kilometers south of Toliara. It is located southwest of Soalara. It is inhabited by the Vezo people and is a notable resort getaway, containing the Club Resort Anakao, Anakao Ocean Lodge, Prince Anakao, and Chez Emile hotels. There are some tombs located near the point of the town. The terrible roads heading south make boat the best way to reach Anakao and fleets of pirogues line the shore. The inaccessibility of the village means that modern development has largely passed by Anakao.
Nosy Ve is an uninhabited coral island three kilometers off Anakao in the far southwest with deserted white-sand beaches and low greenery with little shade. Local fady (taboos) have left Nosy Ve unspoiled and provided a safe nesting ground for many red-tailed tropicbirds which allow close approach. Nosy Ve is a flat uninhabited and mostly unshaded island located off the southwest coast of Madagascar, about 5km from Anakao Village. The French originally landed at this location in 1888 prior to conquering the mainland. Some ancient tombs from French settlers can still be found here. The island has also served as a hideout for pirates as well as a slave departure port. Nosy Ve is a sacred location to the Vezo people, where each year locals sacrifice zebu according to traditional rituals. The island is home to the world's most southernmost all-year breeding colony of red-tailed tropic-birds, which attracts ornithologists from all around the world.
Miary’s village is well-known for its sacred banyan which is a fig tree characterized by long descending branches that reach the ground and thus look like roots. Miary’s banyan is repeatedly cited as the most representative of the island’s essence. The village is reachable by road, 10 km northeast of Tulear. Planted over 200 years ago, today this banyan has roots over an area of more than 5000 square meters – which is seriously more impressive than it sounds… It lies on the coast beyond the tiny village of Mahatsinjo, and the sacred tree was planted by the Queen of the Sakalava tribe in 1836. Nowadays, the Queen of Nosy Be makes an annual pilgrimage to sacrifice a zebu and gain benediction. It is a sacred tree with Indian origins and worshipped by its inhabitants. The fig tree is huge and its roots come out of the earth like tentacles. It is within an enclosure and you will be able to visit this magnificent place that has abundant legends and references to the royal ancestors. It a silent dark place really convenient for meditation which gives it a singular charm.
Nosy Iranja, made up of two idyllic islands some 48 km (75 mins by boat) south of Nosy Be. The islands are linked by a sandy walkway that is navigable at low tide, at which time guests may stroll across to the larger northern island and explore the local village. The southern island is exclusively reserved for guests, meaning there is private access to a sublime beach and crystal clear waters. The island is famous for its turtle population and visitors can sometimes witness the hatchlings scurrying across the beach towards the water. Take a boat trip to nearby bays for great snorkeling and scuba diving and chance a sighting of dolphins and whales along the way.
The Manambolo river originates in the highlands of Madagascar ("Haut plateau"), about 80 miles (130 km) west of Antananarivo, the capital city of the country. The Manambolo, deep red-orange in color from eroded sediment, descends through a largely deforested landscape as it heads toward the Mozambique Channel. About 45 miles (70 km) before reaching the sea, the river enters the Manambolo canyon. The canyon is spectacular with colorful sandstone cliffs and thick cover of deciduous forest. Lemurs (Decken's sifaka and red-fronted brown lemurs) may be seen coming down to drink at the river's edge and in trees along the ridgeline. There are several small clearwater creeks adding to the Manambolo's flow in the canyon and following one of these creeks can be quite rewarding. In the lower part of the canyon, the river loses its current and becomes a pool.
Nosy Boraha, previously known as Île Sainte-Marie (and still popularly known by travellers as such), is an island off Madagascar’s east coast. Near the main town of Ambodifotatra, the pirates’ cemetery includes graves marked with a skull and crossbones. With a considerable amount of island charm it has numerous deserted beaches show off a fringe of coconut palms and luscious vegetation, and intriguing inland villages make the perfect place to explore. Off the south coast, Île aux Nattes and Ilôts aux Sables are tiny islands with coral reefs and sea turtles. Antanandava Waterfall is surrounded by rainforest. On the east coast, traditional pirogue boats dot Baie d’Ampanihy’s lagoon.
National Road 7, which crosses the center of Madagascar from Antananarivo to Tulear, offers many colors and landscapes to admire. There are tender greens of the rice fields and the deeper ones of the primary forests, the ochres associated with the “fire” colors of the Isalo massif and the turquoise blues of the lagoons. Thermal baths, wood sculptures, vineyards and national parks are just some of the riches you will find in your journey through this mythical route.
These natural chimneys of sand and red clay set against blue skies are particularly noteworthy in the afternoon sunlight. Featuring tall clay-like rock formations created by landslides and mudslides, this area's red rocks are often compared to the larger ones found at Utah's Bryce Canyon National Park. You'll need a four-wheel drive vehicle to get to this natural wonder, but recent travelers recommend making the trek.
Established in 1962, the Isalo National Park is located approximately 700 km southwest of Antananarivo and protects 815 km² of sandstone massif wildly eroded by wind and rain into bizarre ridges (known as “runiformes”) featuring wild forms, impressive gorges and canyons and tiny stalagmite pinnacles. The far Wild West reminiscent of the landscape, dominated by rugged massive that rises up from the flat surrounding grassy plain, attracts hikers from the whole world that gather here to admire the sweeping colours of this Jurassic scenery. The climate is dry tropical with warm temperatures all year around.
Ranomafana National Park is in the southeastern part of Madagascar in Haute Matsiatra and Vatovavy-Fitovinany. With more than 41,600 hectares (161 square miles) of tropical rainforest, it is home to several rare species of flora and fauna including the golden bamboo lemur, the greater bamboo lemur, black and white ruffed lemur and Milne-Edwards sifaka, and over 130 species of frogs. Pitta-like ground rollers, blue vangas, short-legged ground rollers and brown mesites can be seen.