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... is a very large island in the Indian Ocean to the south-east of Africa.

This truly remarkable country is one of the largest, oldest and most diverse islands on the planet. Having been virtually isolated from the outside world for 65 million years, the flora and fauna has developed in strange and exotic directions.

The catalogue of endemic species is prodigious ... eight whole plant families, over 1000 orchids and thousands of succulents ... 350 species of frogs, 370 unique reptiles, 200 mammals, five families of birds and an entire branch of the primate family tree.

The island also has a very broad cultural range, dominated by the descendants of waves of settlement from Indonesia and Malaya, with strong Bantu and Swahili influences from mainland Africa.

Travelling in Madagascar is a complicated business, with poor and unreliable infrastructure, as well as a very limited range of accommodation in many areas. It still remains a place where intrepid naturalists can be in their element but leisure travellers may find themselves being significantly under-serviced.

Wildlife is best viewed in the tropical forest reserves of the North and East, the weird erosion and deciduous forest landscapes of the North and West and the dry spiny forest of the South.

Madagascar also has some superb beach locations and excellent diving, notably on the tropical islands of Nosy Be to the north-east and Nosy Boraha to the north-west.
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Jay Hanson
Jay Hanson, Senior Safari Consultant
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