If you can’t actually travel, and leave the office, sometimes desktop travel can be the best thing. I found a lovely article on Afro Style Mag about Madagascar as a travel destination and thought I should share. “Madagascar’s the world’s fourth largest island situated in the Indian Ocean, near the south-eastern coast of Africa and is about the size of Spain and Portugal combined. Madagascar became a French protectorate in 1885, ending the reign of the “Malagasy Monarchy”. The country remained under French control, becoming an overseas territory of France in 1946; However in 1960, Madagascar became an independent country. The Malagasy way of life reflects various ethnic influences, which have evolved into one unique culture. With 18 official clans, Madagascar is home to settlers of Indonesian, African, French and Indian backgrounds. Although each group has its own identity, they are uniformly Malagasy. There is a rich tradition here of folklore and superstition thrown in to perplex visitors that makes Madagascar a truly rewarding experience. The best time to visit Madagascar is between the dry seasons of April and November, although June to August gets fairly cold. But before you pack your bags, learn about the country, its people and the natural wonders you won’t want to miss on what will undoubtedly be a trip of a lifetime.”
Antananarivo (also called Tananarive or Tana) is the capital city of Madagascar. Located in the highlands of Madagascar, Tana is quite unlike any city you have ever visited before. Situated in the central highlands of Madagascar where the climate is mild, Tana lies in the heartland of the Merina people who look ethnically Indonesian. Tana has colorful houses decorating the hillsides, extensive rice paddies running through sections of the town, and bustling streets full of cars and Zebu-drawn carts.
The charming village of Andasibe lies in the foothills of two national parks and is the perfect base for exploring the rich surroundings. Tour the village in a “pousse pousse”, a unique Malagasy mode of transport similar to a rickshaw, or stroll the streets to interact with the friendly locals. Whilst staying in Andasibe overnight in comfortable hotels or closer to the park entrance are more up-scale lodges. Formerly a logging village, all of the houses, churches and even the train station is built from wood. The locals cultivate rice and mainly live off the fertile forest which lends an extremely relaxed and peaceful ambiance to Andasibe. Listen to the music of the forest as it slowly wakes up. Experience the unique call of the Indri, the largest lemur genus endemic to this part of Madagascar. Their magical calls are described as haunting and can be heard early in the morning and late afternoon. Visit the marvelous markets, enjoy the delicious wild mangoes and finger bananas, or discover the talents of the local artisans specializing in stonework and products made from the horns of the Malagasy cow. Andasibe is amazing, the people, their way of life and the environment. All and all it’s the ultimate experience and a nature lovers’ paradise.
Anjajavy Hotel is at the end of a peninsula in the northwest which is only accessible by light aircraft from “Tana or Nosy Be”. Unbelievably glamorous, it has 25 individual rosewood villas, all with a superb beachside setting, air-conditioning and private decks. A loft room can be used for 1 to 2 kids. The bathroom on the ground level has a large bath and a shower. This is Madagascar’s only Relais & Chateaux beach resort and is the perfect blend of simple but appealing accommodation with plenty of wildlife and beach activity, almost a taste of Madagascar in its own right.
Depending on the season, there are sightings of humpbacked whales, pilot whales, dolphins, whale sharks, manta rays, leatherback turtles and green turtles while deep-sea fishing is on offer all year round. Night walks afford you the possibility of seeing the tiny lemurs, Madagascar flying fox or Commerson’s leaf-nosed bat. Anjajavy has a good swimming beach and a wide variety of free activities include water skiing, catamaran sailing, wind surfing, snorkeling, canoeing in the sea or mangroves and the highly recommended village boat trips. Fishing and sunset cruises are an optional extra. Guided or self-guided walks along with mountains bikes are freely available for exploration of the forest and surrounding bays.
To find out more about travel to Madagascar log onto our source, AfroStyleMag