Nosy komba is a small volcanic ilsland between Nosy Be and the mainland.
It´s a quiet and relaxing place.
The ilsland offers several walking trails, including a hike from Ampangorina to the top of the volcano, and along the tracks connecting the villages in the interior of the island.
Swimmig is possible but the beach near the villages is polluted.
From Nosy komba you can go further to Nosy be by chartering your own pirogue in the village.
There are many beautifull national parks to visit at Madagaskar. You can only visit the parks with a guide.
Parc National D` andasibe mantadia: a good place to spot lemurs.
Reserve speciale L´ankarana: facinating caves, loads of bat flies, lemurs. etc.
Park national de L´ Isalo: great views over some unusual canyon scenery.
Remember to be kind to nature.
You will eat well at Madagaskar. Nize Zebu steaks, chicken with vanilla, loads of mangues, lichy fruits etc.
Travelling at Madagaskar you will find many known as well as many new exotic fruits you did never knew existed. A 'funny thing is to go to a lokal market and by all the fuits that you dont know. Then go home and taste them.
When season you can smell the fresh vanilla in most places at the east coast.
Oktober to December is the season for bananas, pineapples, lychees and mangoes (yummi... never forget the delicious mangoes),
Rhum arrange:Rhum with sugar, vanilla beans, honey, and maybe lemon or cononut. Some restaurants or guest houses make their own, and they taste SO GOOD together with a pancake.
Rice is often served with boiled or stewed zebu, chicken, fish, porc or duck.
The malgasy version of soup chinoise is also very good ( noodles, vegetables and sometimes meat or seafood).
Seafood: many kind og fish, shimp, prawns, crabs is available on the coast. Crab with coconut sauce is my favorit dish.
Western food: in the main cities you can find som excellent french menues for a very resonable price.
These docile little guys are actually the largest Chameleons in the world. They are indigenous to Madagascar and mainly inhabit the rain forests. They grow to about 40cm and move very slowly. The males have a large helmet like structure called a casque with 2 rounded horns. Their tongues can be longer than their bodies! Makes it easier to catch food. You can pick them up, but try to leave them alone. They are more than happy to pose for photographs.
Ambalavo is a cute town in the highland. Many of the buildings display the carved balcony balustrades characteristic of the Betsileo architecture.
The town has an amazing Zebumarket. It takes place on Wednesday and Thursday, normally, but it can change.
Other things to visit: "Fabrique de papier Antaimoro". Situated next to the taxi-brousse station. A "factory" were you can see the famous Antaimoro paper being made.
Hiking in the Parc national d´Andringitra !
We arranged a trip to Parc d´Andringitra from Ambalavo. If you are planing to hike in the park, you have to arrange everything by your self. So start by going to the market and by all the food you will need. Then find some kind of transportation to the park. There were no direct public transportation at the time, so we hired a privat car at small local cafe. Ask around if anybody knows somebody with a car !!
When you enter the park, there is a small lodge where you can find a guide.
Sambava is a pleasant town on the north-eastern coast, with some attractive beaches. It is considered to be the vanillia capital of Madagaskar.
A visit to a vanilla factory is really interesting, at least for the nice aroma of vanilla.
For a few days I was considering if I should change my job, and go into the vanilla buisness.
I don´t know if you can find some kind of arranged tour. The owner of our hotel had some connections to a factory, and arranged a visit for us. It often works best if you ask a little around.
I still have some Mada vanillia left from my time there, and when I use it in my cooking my mind is often longing for Madagaskar.
Mahajanga is the main town of western Madagascar and one of the more cosmopolitan centers, similar in atmosphere to some places on the east African Mainland. It has a very pleasant and relaxing ambience and a large population of Muslims and Indians.
We went there by ship from Nosy be, "sambo seeline". It´s a pleasant trip and takes about 24-36 hours.
From Mahajanga you can go further to Antanarivo by taxi-brousse. It´s a beautiful trip through the highlands. The roads are pretty good, but you might get some motionsickness.
Madagaskar has a very special fauna with animals, which you won't see elsewhere. For example: the Kattas, which are a primitive kind of primate which is called Lemurs. They live in the jungles of Madagascar. You have to take a guided tour to see them in the dark forests.
I easily saw them at the Zoo in Tana.
Lemurs belong to the sub-order Strepsirhini together with bushbabies, lorises, and pottos which—like the original lemurs—are nocturnal, insectivorous primates characterized by a small body, a long nose, and large eyes. Lemurs have an interesting evolutionary history and the only reason they still exist today is because of Madagascar's isolation.
This is my highly versatile friend – Mr. Bucket. Before you think I have gone totally mad, just read on. I may be mad, but this is a friend you need for any sort of stays in Africa. So what can Mr. Bucket do for you? Well, Mr. Bucket holds water. So he can keep water for emergency drinking, putting out campfires, washing out toilets/ground, and for washing clothes. He is also indispensable for taking a bath when the water stops running. He can even store his own water. On top of all this Mr. Bucket can help you when he’s dry too. He holds things for you to carry or store. He’s great for storing liquid containers like cleaners and alcohol that could leak out. Yep, Mr. Bucket – leave home with it! When you are finished with Mr. Bucket please leave him for a local person to use.
Mr. Bucket is available at fine stores, and no so fine stores, all over Madagascar for about 50 US cents - $2. Now that’s a bargain!
There are many very fine beaches every where along the coastline. Be aware of sharks, and som beaches has sandflies. If eaten by sandflies, it can be really nasty. Some locals told me to put coconut oil all ower the body, it helps.
Transportating your self from A to B, is a big part of travelling at Madagaskar. It often takes a lot of time, as the infrastructure is no so developed. It can be so funny and also very hard.
Taxibrousse, boat, ships, zebu or walking by foot it´s a part of the adventure.
Diego is the main city of the northern Madagaskar. The northern part of Madagaskar is very cosmopolitan with a muslin community, Indian traders, Arabic sailors, french expat, descendants of African slaves, all mixing with the lokal Antakarana.
TO SEE: Montagne des francais. Excelent view across the bay.
If you come all the way here, then hire the best English-speaking guide in Madagascar. DJ (his nickname) runs Jerijery Tours and is a superb guide and all around great guy. He does guided trips all across Madagascar for several tour operators, or you can hire him directly. He operates a very comfortable 4-wheel drive people carrier and is also a very safe driver – very important considering some of the roads. Nothing is too much trouble and he happily stopped wherever I wanted to take a picture. I bought a tour at the very last minute and DJ made me feel like I had been expected for months. I saw 7 varieties of Lemurs, a host of animals, birds, insects, plants and fantastic scenery thanks to the organisational skills of DJ. He even knows the very best restaurants along the way. I never felt rushed, yet I couldn’t believe how much I saw in just a few days. English-speaking guides are hard to find, but DJ is the best there is!
(All the pictures were taken during my tour with DJ)
The sisal plantation surrounds Berenty reserve but once you are inside the forest you can't see it.
You can organise a visit to the plantation and the factory which is interesting if you have a few days in Berenty. If you are there for only 1 or 2 days, you wouldn't want to miss the wildlife in order to visit the sisal factory. You are shown how the sisal grows, how it is harvested and cut and then made into ropes. Conditions inside the factory are not up to the standards we are used to, with fibres everywhere it made me think of what it must have been like in the cotton mills in the last centuries.
The Sisal plantation is criticised for its existence next to Berenty reserve - but at least it is a natural product and provides jobs.
Berenty is the best place to see Ringtail Lemurs and Verreaux Sifakas, as well as lots of other Lemurs, birds and reptiles.
It is easy to walk around on your own, with nothing dangerous to worry about.
The reserve is about 250 hectares of mainly spiny forest and dry Tamarind gallery woodland. There are lots of reptiles here and we saw a boa constrictor catch and eat a wood pigeon.
A good place to walk in the afternoons when it is hot is by the small drinking pools along the pathways, as the birds and animals come to drink here.
Berenty is a bridwatcher's paradise with many species to see - if 1 less wood pigeon!
The reserve has accomodation which is comfortable and a restaurant which quite good. 3 days is a good time to spend here. We went in November which was good for seeing lots of lemurs with babies but also lots of mosquitos.
Résidence Lapasoa Isoraka BP 3650 Antananarivo Tél :22 611 40. 180.000 FMG Beautiful colonial...more
Le Royal Pallisandre is a very good quality hotel in the heart of the city. The rooms and public...more
Lot 66 B Antanetibe Ivato, Antananarivo, 105, Madagascar
Good for: Solo