“We headed inland up the Tsiribihina River in dugout canoes, and in every village kids would run along the banks waving and shouting, “Bon voyage!”
Madagascar is separated from the African continent by a few hundred miles of water and 165 million years of evolution – long enough for the island’s plants and animals to have morphed into some of the weirdest on the planet. It’s the perfect place to create a unique, multidimensional luxury holiday.
We can arrange for top wildlife videographers and photographers to join your adventure, recording the highlights – as well as respected British and American research scientists to guide you in your encounters with exotic plant and animal life. Because Madagascar’s roads leave much to be desired, we’d suggest a private aircraft to link the parts you most want to explore. For instance, we could mount a mobile safari to the eroded plateaus of Tsingy de Bemaraha, then fly across the island to explore the biodiversity of the Masoala peninsula.
Madagascar is the only place where you’ll find over 70 varieties of lemurs (including one that sounds like a police siren), some 8,000 plant species and 3,000 types of butterflies – not to mention the world’s largest and smallest chameleons…and the biggest bird anywhere. Once known only as the world’s main source of vanilla, the island is now regarded as an ecological treasure. Imagine walking through rainforest, breathing in an infusion of dank vegetation and fragrant moss, and hearing what sounds like the moans of a humpback whale: you’re being serenaded by indri, the largest of the lemurs, proclaiming their territory like treetop divas.
The Malagasy people are no less intriguing. Descended from sailors who arrived some 2,000 years ago via Indian Ocean trade routes, the Malagasy still cultivate rice in terraced paddies and speak a language that has more in common with Southeast Asia than Africa. They live in a world steeped in magic and taboo, imbuing every cave, waterfall, creature and even the odd household object with supernatural powers. In some areas, people dance with their dead ancestors in a “turning of the bones” ceremony that is fascinating to witness.
Picture walking among huge butterflies that look like they couldn’t possibly fly – or under the bug-eyed gaze of aye-ayes poised in the branches overhead – or through a surreal tsingy forest of limestone formations. We might fly or sail out to the former pirate haunt of Ile Sainte Marie, where you can snorkel among the whales (when they’re in season) from a luxury beachfront lodge. Or raft down the Mangoky into the remote southwest, where our local friends will teach you to drum and sing, then bring it all together in the mangaliba – the sexiest dance in the Indian Ocean.
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To discuss what interests you about this or any other destination, call us: +44 203 358 0110