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An epic journey to magical Madagascar

Sep 11 2018 Written by: Rob Barbour Photography: Rob Barbour

 

“Madagascar is a curious wonderland. It’s an unrepeatable experiment, a set of animals and plants evolving in isolation for over 60 million years. We’re still trying to unravel its mysteries.” – Sir David Attenborough.

 

Understanding the geological history of this island country off the southeast African coast, helps explain why Madagascar is such a unique destination.  Part of the original land mass of Gondwana land, Madagascar split from India approximately 88 million years ago.

Wildlife has evolved independently ever since. This explains the 80% endemicity and exclusivity of Madagascar’s birds, reptiles and mammals. Nothing bites, stings or eats you which is good news for travellers. Even the snakes and spiders are harmless to humans, making wildlife viewing an anxiety-free affair.

Most see Madagascar as part of Africa however it has only been discovered and inhabited in the last 2000 years. The first people were actually from Indonesia. Today, the culture is an interesting mix of southeast Asia, Africa and most recently French, due to the colonial period. The wonderful fusion of distinctive food, customs and architecture makes Madagascar a feast for the senses.

Magical Madagascar has something for everyone. From pristine beaches and abundant, well protected marine and endemic wildlife, to lush emerald forests and incredible scenery. There are strange plants and creatures, seemingly from a Dr Seuss book, including the famous and magnificent baobabs.

 

The lemurs of Madagascar

This wild and mysterious country, the world’s fourth largest island, is perhaps best known as the home of lemurs. With over 100 different types, these adorable, cheeky creatures like getting up close and personal, particularly with Rob!

At least half the world’s 150 chameleon species and many endemic birds, frogs and mammals like carnivorous fossas also live exclusively here.

 

 

While on safari Rob experienced amazing night walk adventures and more close encounters with strange and colourful amphibians and reptiles.

 

Distances are long, but whether you travel by road or air, there is always something interesting to look at whilst moving. It may not be the first country on your travel list but, if you have been to the more prominent wildlife icons on the African continent, then Madagascar is well worth a visit.

It truly is the Indian Ocean’s ‘Galapagos’ and a wild and magical place worth experiencing.

 

 

 

Watch Rob’s Madagascar video highlights:

 

If you are interested in exploring this ‘gondwana land’ of endemic flora and fauna, please get in touch at  epic@epicprivatejourneys.com