Madagascar is the worlds 4th largest island just off the East Coast of Africa, directly east of Mozambique. The colonial past has heavily influenced the capital, Antananarivio, with ornate architecture, pretty iron work, cobbled streets and croissants on every corner.
But leaving the city walls is another ball game as you enter a world of epic landscapes ranging from rainforest to desert, canyons, mountains, terraced rice paddies and 5000km of tropical coastline and islands – Nosy Be being the winner – keeping any intrepid traveler busy for months on end. Famous for its National Parks: Isalo in the SW, Ankarafantsika in the NW and Marojejy in the NE all worthy a place on a backpacking itinerary.
The island’s signature animal is the lemur of course, but there are many more weird and wonderful creatures to look out for starting with the eerie-looking fossa (remember those guys in the movie?), chameleons, rays and turtles, sharks and whales in the breeding season.
Getting around and living is pretty cheap and safari’s are best organized in-country for better deals