It’s the world’s fourth largest island

Madagascar is big.

It’s 226,917 square miles, making it the fourth largest island on the planet (and bigger than Spain, Thailand, Sweden and Germany).

There are 25.5 million Malagasies, making it a more populous country than Australia, Sri Lanka, The Netherlands, Romania and Greece.

According to Conservation International, just 17 countries are considered “megadiverse”. Each possesses a vast number of different species – many found nowhere else. And Madagascar is one. Among its resident animals are more than half the world’s chameleons and dozens of species of lemur.

Unlike the film Madagascar, however, you won’t see any tigers, giraffes or hippo.

My trip to Madagascar

Let me start of my saying I AM SO GLAD I went to Madagascar especially after the recent health concerns in the country, but to be very frank, I don’t think I’d do it again the way I did it. For that, I will write you for you below what I recommend you do, and under it, the things that I did, but do NOT recommend you to do.

This is based on my visit in October, 2017. If you read this years later, I would advise you to check if Madagascar gotten any better in terms of transportation, and tourism. As for the time of my visit, it for sure was not prepared.

In regards to Visa, Kuwaiti and GCC Nationals get their visas on arrival. The process is simple and easy. Just make sure you carry with you dollars to pay the fees upon arrival.

After you try to leave the airport, officers will call you to intimidate you for tips; pretend you’re dum and carry on.

My trip was with @rahhalah which are local operators in Kuwait and in Dubai, i’ve guided one of their trips before to Tanzania, and i’ve been with them on a few trips. Rahhalah offers this trip but differently than what we’ve experienced, what we did was specifically designed for our group, a group of experienced travelers and adventurers and in which we were very much challenged. It was amazing (now, not then haha)!

We had an overnight in Antananarivo to fly to drive basically to everywhere else. The drives are LONG per day from 8-12 hours and a minimum of 4 hours – the 4 hours ones are the “short” drives.

If you had to stay in Antananarivo, the hotel we stayed at is pretty central, clean and theres a spa that I liked. But BECAREFUL not to walk around the area surrounding and if you decide to do so please do not take ANYTHING with you. not even your phone as the area is DANGEROUS for tourists.

The hotel is called Du Louvre:  http://www.hotel-du-louvre.com/

As for the areas/parts I recommend:

MUST DO: Avenue of Baobab 

I’ve been DREAMING of seeing the Baobab trees for years now!! Finally, I’ve seen them and what a delight! One of the most memorable sights and sunsets i’ve seen ever.

There are so many stories about the Baobab trees, the anger of the lords and the reason they look the way they do – But none of them is true the locals told us, they’re just stories.

MUST DO: Tsingy National Park 

This is definitely not to miss. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site which protects the largest of Madagascar’s Tsingy limestone plateau and its wildlife. A visit to the Tsingy de Bemaraha is just as adventurous and as amazing! We’ve walked in walkways through the chaotic razor-sharp pinnacles which was something i’ve never seen before. Just amazing! Those are set out with cable robes (some climbing was included), rocky steps, steel ladders and a suspension bridge over the impressive canyons. Awesome experience!

Hotel we spent an overnight in here was Soleil du Tsingy, it was really great and i’d recommend you to consider it.

Now for the second part which we mainly did as a big part of the trip, but I do not recommend it if your goals is tourism: 

Tsiribihina River with a canoe in 2 days and half: 2 and half days canoe-ing experience in traditional wooden Malagasy canoes.

In this experience, we’ve visited some isolated villages and children running along with the boat on the riverbank; woman washing their clothes, campfires under a blanket of bright stars, and if lucky you will spot crocodiles, lemurs and other wildlife.

However, since the country isn’t prepared well for tourism it could get extremely hot and extremely tiring. Spending 8 hours in a wooden canoe was very hot and very painful. I think it would be enough if it was one day only.

Finally and to sum it up, our route was like this:

 

Route: Arrival in Antananarivo ; Miandrivazo; Tsirihibina River; Belo sur Tsiribihina ;Bekopaka; Bemaraha National Park; Bekopaka; Kirindy ; Morondava ; Antananarivo; Antananarivo Departure

TIP:

Mosquitos, spiders and plenty of other insects are pretty much all over Madagascar. Make sure you’re well prepared with all the repellent or similar stuff that you might need.

Watch here how we prepared in this particular bit:

If you have any questions feel free to drop me either and email at info@hello965.com, write me a comment below on this post or even leave me a comment on instagram at: instagram.com/hello965