When I arrived on Madagascar’s shores in April of 2017, it was like I had stepped back into a place completely removed from the rest of the world. Madagascar is an island off the coast of mainland Africa, yet most species here exist nowhere else on earth, from friendly ringtail lemurs to the brilliantly colored chameleons. Its isolation has created a unique and extraordinary biodiversity unmatched anywhere else in the world, so I was eager to explore this strange island. One of the wonderful aspects about my role as WT’s Africa Specialist is getting to experience places like this.

Our Trip Leader, Vy Raharinosy, greeted me on arrival and off we went for a two-week odyssey around Madagascar. We hiked in lush rainforest, saw sunset and sunrise in the Avenue of the Baobabs, planted trees in Andasibe, watched lemurs jumping between trees above us, and met many local people who passionately showed us their innovative solutions to help preserve their beautiful country. Madagascar is not an easy place—it is like adventure travel of 20 years ago—rough roads, difficult to get to, simple accommodations—but the rewards are endless. I understand now why seasoned travelers often return—they can’t get enough the first time. I know I’ll be back! Here is a small snapshot of my amazing journey.

Panther chameleon Madagascar
A panther chameleon showing off the most spectacular colors. Almost half of the world’s chameleons live in Madagascar.
people of madagascar
Left: Happy kids at the Avenue of the Baobabs. Right: We met a young woman from the fishing village of Betania. She wears a natural sunscreen made of ground tamarind wood.
Market in Madagascar
Farmers grow a variety of vegetables in Madagascar and sell them in local markets. Malagasy cuisine is influenced by the island’s Indonesian and French roots. The food is quite tasty. Fruit is also plentiful and exotic.
Fossa in Madagascar
We were incredibly lucky to see a Fossa, one of the few predators in Madagascar. It’s related to the mongoose.
lemurs in Madagascar
Left: The Verreaux’s sifaka performs constant acrobatics as it easily leaps between the trees. It uses its long tail for balance. I hoped for an action photo and was rewarded with this shot. Right: Ring-tailed lemurs lick rocks to obtain minerals. They forage on the ground more than any other lemurs.
Lemur and guide in Madagascar
Left: Our wonderful Trip Leader, Vy with his assistant, a common brown lemur. Right: The indri is the largest living lemur and exists only in eastern Madagascar. We heard the sounds of its haunting call as we walked through the forest.
People in Madagascar
Women drying rice in the sun. Fun Fact: Rice is a staple here, with annual consumption about 250 pounds per person.
women’s weaving cooperative in Madagascar
We visited a women’s weaving cooperative near Ranomafana. A non-profit gave them weaving lessons and now the women earn money to help support their families. Their scarves also make the perfect gift.
people in Madagascar baobab lemur
Left: Lemur Island is a photographers paradise. These lemurs were happy to help me find the right camera angle. Right: This baobab is more than 600 years old. It is one of the 25 baobabs that line the Avenue of the Baobabs.

The wildlife, the people, and, of course, the amazing “Vyman,” made this trip absolutely unforgettable. It was a wonderful experience and such an honor to see this corner of the world. I’ll be back!

—Text and photos by WT’s Africa Specialist Barbara Wright. We offer two adventures in Madagascar, Magical Madagascar and Madagascar: Off the Beaten Path.

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