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An update from Evaneos

Best places to visit in Madagascar

Going to Madagascar is an experience in itself. The "great island" is a vast territory and to choose an itinerary is sometimes very difficult. Where to go? Which stopover places to choose?

Don't worry, we're here to help. An entire team of travellers, passionate about Madagascar and members of the Evaneos Travel community, have come together to share their advice and reviews with you on the places to visit during your trip to Madagascar. In short, you'll have all the information you need to organise the perfect trip.

Antananarivo, the capital and its twelve hills, boasts multiple attractions. Spend a few days there and discover its surroundings and the numerous trekking possibilities, on foot or by bike. Île Sainte Marie is a favourite spot: coconut trees, white sand, and the pleasures of nautical delights, not to mention whales when it's the right season. Diego Suarez, on the northern tip, and all its surroundings are beautiful. The "Tsingy Rouge" (red stone formations), Amber Mountain and the natural parks are must-sees. The villages of fishermen, Ramena and its vast beaches will enchant you. Nosy Be shouldn't be overlooked either, with its richly diverse and colourful sea-beds.

Towards the south, an unmissable route is to follow the RN7 highway to Tuléar. At Fianarantsoa, take the train to Manakara. An unforgettable and colourful journey awaits you, during which you'll cross incredibly stunning landscapes, so keep your cameras ready. In the extreme south-east, FortDauphin will give you the feeling that you're on another planet. Madagascar is a land of contrasts, between the red of its earth and the green of its crops and forests. There's a neverending list of activities on offer, from water sports to hikes in numerous natural parks like Isalo, or Ranomafana... Above all, don't hesitate to invest in a local guide, who'll share his knowledge of the area with you.

Cathy Trichet
Ankevo is a fine example of community solidarity. For the past fifteen years, the ADDA (association for the sustainable development of Ankevo) has been working to improve the quality of life for the inhabitants of three villages: Ankevo sur Mer, Ankevo Antety and Atsaloa.
Welcome to the vanilla capital. Antalaha,which was still a village in the 19th century, is now a prosperous town, thanks to the introduction of vanilla at the start of the 20th century. 
Antsirabe gets its name from "Any sira be", which means "the place with much salt". It rises to an altitude of nearly 5000 feet, and its hills are surrounded by thermal springs rich in mineral salts, perfect for a relaxing time during your trip.
Antsoa (Madagascar)
Antsoa is a virgin island paradise nestled in the waters between Nosy Be and Nosy Iranja and is dominated by a sugar loaf mountain which arises from the sea.
Antsokay Arboretum is located around one and a quarter miles north of the Tropic of Capricorn and was founded in 1980 by Hermann Petignat, a Swiss botanist. The organisation that manages the arboretum is working to protect the endemic flora of southern Madagascar. 
A fabulous national park that is not to be missed!
Cap Miné is located north of Ramena, a few kilometres from Diego-Suarez, which is the port of entry into Diego Bay. 
Diego Suarez was renamed Antsiranana at independence. It is the third harbour of the island and the biggest city in northern Madagascar . Antomboko, meaning with holes, pierced, is its original name. A name that is suggestive of Diego Bay which, with its length of 97 miles, is one of the largest in the world .
The region of Sahamabajy, a small town nestled at the edge of a lake with the same name, is the sole tea producing area of Madagascar.
If you want to observe the daily life of the inhabitants of the Highlands and immerse yourself in the ambiance of a Malagasy village, Iarintsena is the place for you.
Ifasina is a small village of the High Plateaus of the Fianarantsoa region and consists of rows of small wooden houses.
Isalo (Madagascar)
More than 800 square kilometres of breathtaking scenery! Isalo National Park is a mountainous mass of Jurassic sandstone that spreads over a hundred kilometres at an altitude of between 800 and 1,200 metres above sea level.
The emerald sea is found at the entrance to Diégo-Suarez bay, the second biggest bay in the world after Rio de Janeiro. Tiny desert islands are scattered over this startling coloured water.
The green side of the long Sambirano Valley contrasts with the dry landscape of savannah and red soil on the western coast of the island. 
About a hundred kilometres from the city of Toamasina (Tamatave), Mahambo is an unspoilt fishing village preserved from mass tourism.  
Mahajanga is an important city of the north-west of Madagascar. Located at the mouth of the Betsiboka River on the Mozambique Channel, the city has approximately 200,000 inhabitants and is the capital of the region that bears the same name. 
Terminus: Manakara It’s the final station on the FCE line: Fianarantsoa- Côte Est, the only railway line in the whole of Madagascar. Over here, it is best not to be in any hurry... it will take you at least 12 hours to end up in Mankara! But the trip is well worth it: mountains passing by, traveller's palm forests, bamboo, litchis, and even passing through Ranomafana forest will all be part of the adventure…
The Manandona plain has the particularity of being very wide and straight, whereas most of the Malagasy plains are steep and winding. With an average altitude of 1500 metres, the landscape of Manandona consists of a rim of mountains, high plateaus and deep gorges.
Marojejy National Park is one of the most beautiful wilderness areas of the country. Its beauty originates from its "Jurassic" atmosphere: 90% of its hilly terrain is covered by primary forest. 
In the north-east of Madagascar, Masoala peninsula harbours primary forests with enormous wealth in terms of biodiversity.  
Ankify is a peninsula in the north-west of Madgascar, in Diana region. It's still less touristy than its neighbouring islands: Nosy Be and Nosy Komba, even though it has some places that are just as beautiful.
Amber Mountain is a place of animal superlatives. This natural reserve, which extends over an area of 90 square miles, has an incredible wealth of plants and wildlife to offer, as is so often the case with island habitats.
This town of 70,000 inhabitants is the capital of Menabe region, whose name means red earth. Menabe is the home of the baobab, the island's emblem and something you absolutely must see during your trip to Madagascar.
Peacefulness and simplicity are the strong points of Nosy Komba . Indeed, this volcanic island that is 5 miles in diameter has neither electricity nor roads. It tempts you to live the local and traditional way, giving you a pleasant rest during your stay on the Red Island . It is also called Nosy Ambariovato which means "island surrounded by rocks".
Baramahamay bay is located on the southern tip of Nosy Iranja island , in the warm waters of northern Madagascar.
Not only does this northern Madagascan island provide a habitat for some magnificent and wonderful plants and animals, it has beautiful beaches to offer too. Nosy Mangabe truly is a little piece of heaven on earth!
This once southern seas pirates’ hide-away is now well known as a meeting point for humpback whales. Saint Mary’s Island, very elongated in shape (30.5 miles long by 3 miles wide), is named for its discovery due to a shipwreck that occurred on a 15th of August, Assumption Day. What is more, it has the oldest church in Madagascar, built in 1857.
Nosy Sakatia is a haven of peace that is just a 10-minute canoe ride from the island of Nosy Be. Located to the west of Nosy Be, the orchid island is much less crowded than its neighbours Nosy Tanikely and Nosy Komba but is just as surprising.
You can explore the Ile de la Petite Terre if you are planning a tour around the north of Madagascar. Nosy Tanikely is a marine reservee surrounded by a coral reef, which is opposite Nosy Be, and so a beautiful spot to go diving.
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