Trip and Wellness

10 Top Tourist Attractions & Things to Do in the Madagascar

Baobab Alley Sunrise, Madagascar nature

Madagascar is a travel destination that offers a unique experience due to its natural beauty and ecological diversity. As one of the last major areas on Earth to be settled by humans, it feels like a country forgotten by time. Madagascar, situated in the Indian Ocean off the east coast of Africa, is a destination that boasts a unique collection of flora and fauna, exclusive to this region. Madagascar is a must-visit destination for nature lovers due to its incredible biodiversity, earning it the nickname “the eighth continent”. The country’s architecture, art, and social manners reflect a deep respect for ancestry and tradition, which is a prominent aspect of the national culture. Travel to Madagascar and explore its top tourist attractions to experience the country’s natural, cultural, and historical diversity firsthand.

1. Antananarivo

City of Antananarivo at sunny day. Madagascar
Source: istockphoto

This capital city in Madagascar offers a unique blend of traditions and culture, making it a great destination for travelers. This city, also known as Tana, is located at the base of the nearby mountains and sits at an elevation of 1400 meters. 

Explore the historic district of the city and admire the remnants of French colonialism, including beautiful Parisian-style architecture nestled on the hillsides. Antananarivo is a developed city in Madagascar compared to other parts of the island.

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Antananarivo: Best Areas & Hotels

2. Nosy Be

Turquoise blue water on a tropical island beach in Nosy Be, Madagascar
Source: istockphoto

The small island of Nosy Be is one of Madagascar’s most popular tourist destinations, bringing thousands of visitors from all over the world every year. Although Nosy Be’s beaches aren’t as picture-perfect as some other tropical beaches, they make up for it with their peacefulness, brilliant turquoise ocean, and outstanding seafood restaurants providing seafood supper on the sand.

Nosy Be is a playground for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike. Its azure waters are teeming with marine life, making it a haven for snorkeling and diving enthusiasts. The renowned Lokobe Nature Reserve, home to lemurs, chameleons, and a plethora of bird species, offers an immersive wildlife experience. Travelers can also bask in the sun on the picturesque beaches of Nosy Komba and Nosy Iranja or embark on a thrilling deep-sea fishing excursion.

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Nosy Be: Best Areas & Hotels

3. Avenue of the Baobabs

Beautiful Baobab trees at sunset at the avenue of the baobabs in Madagascar
Source: istockphoto

These towering Baobab trees are symmetrically lined up on a gravel road between Morondava and Belon’i Tsiribihina in western Madagascar. Its distinctive and raw beauty attracts many travelers, making it one of the top sites to visit in Madagascar. 

The Baobab trees are known locally as Renala, which means “Queens of the Forest.” These 30-meter-tall curiously formed trees have been there for 1000 years, and the beauty of these trees at sunset is worth capturing.

4. Tsingy De Bemaraha

Tsingy de Bemaraha, Madagascar
Source: istockphoto

The Tsingy de Bemaraha Reserve is a great travel destination located in the southern region of Madagascar’s largest natural reserve, the Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict Nature Reserve. The park’s limestone plateau is dotted with pinnacles known as “Tsingy”. Situated close to the western coast of the country, the park offers a vast area of mangrove forest to explore. During your travels, you can visit the park and observe seven different species of lemurs, including the Deckens sifaka. This particular genus of lemur is known for its striking black face and creamy white fur.

5. Isalo National Park

Isalo National park sunset landscape in a nature scene in Madagascar
Source: istockphoto

Isalo National Park offers a diverse landscape for travelers to explore. The park in central southern Madagascar features grasslands, steep canyons, and sandstone formations, with occasional palm-lined pools. Guides are mandatory in several national parks of the country, just like many other travel destinations. Travel arrangements can be made for durations as brief as a few hours or as extensive as a few days.

6. Ifaty

Madagascar: Dugout Canoe on Ifaty Beach
Source: istockphoto

Ifaty is a beautiful travel destination consisting of two charming fishing villages located on the southwest coast of Madagascar. The coastal waters are perfect for diving, snorkeling, and fishing due to a 60-mile-long coral reef that acts as a natural barrier against rough sea waves. The inland desert region is a popular travel destination due to its unique spiny forest, which is home to centuries-old baobab trees with peculiar shapes.

7. Ranomafana National Park

The rainforest of Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar
Source: istockphoto

Ranomafana National Park is a popular travel destination located in the southeastern region of Madagascar, near the village of Ranomafana. Explore the scenic eastern section of the park, where you can witness numerous streams splashing through densely forested hills. Visit the park to witness the endangered golden bamboo lemur, which has a unique diet of bamboo shoots containing lethal doses of cyanide for other animals. However, the charming golden lemur feeds on the bamboo without any harm.

8. Royal Hill of Ambohimanga

Gate at the former Royal Palace Rova, Ambohimanga Royal Hill, UNESCO World Heritage Site, Madagascar
Source: istockphoto

The Royal Hill of Ambohimanga is a must-visit destination for travelers to Madagascar. This historical village has been revered as a sacred site by the Malagasy people for over five centuries and was once the residence of Madagascar’s royalty. In 1847, a wall was built around the village using a mixture of lime and egg whites as mortar. Explore the Mahandrihono compound, which features the historic residence of King Andrianampoinimerina. Admire the walls constructed entirely of rosewood and discover a collection of artifacts belonging to the island’s renowned king, such as weapons, drums, and talismans.

9. Masoala National Park

Beautiful dream paradise beach in Masoala national park, Madagascar.
Source: istockphoto

Explore the Masoala National Park located in the northeast of Madagascar, which spans almost 250 miles of lush rainforest and encompasses three marine parks. The wildlife reserve showcases a variety of lemurs, which includes the Aye-aye, the biggest nocturnal primate globally. The park boasts a variety of birds and reptiles, such as the Tomato frog, which is recognized for its vibrant red hue. Explore the Tampolo, Ambodilaitry, and Ifaho marine parks for exciting snorkeling and kayaking experiences.

10. Ile Sainte Marie

Aerial of the Island Ile Sainte Marie, Madagascar
Source: gettyimages

The Ile Sainte Marie is located off the eastern coast of Madagascar. During the 17th and 18th centuries, the island’s array of sheltered bays and inlets enticed pirates, and the ruins of many pirate ships may still be seen from the shallow waters of the Baie des Forbans. Today, the island is one of Madagascar’s most popular tourist destinations. Snorkeling is perfect in the calm, clear waters of the island’s bays. During the summer and early autumn, migrating humpback whales frequent the island waters.