Start planning your family vacation to Madagascar
There really is nowhere in the world quite like Madagascar for a family vacation. Not only does it boast some of the most diverse wildlife in the world but all of it lies in a stunning backdrop of dense rainforest, white sandy beaches and crystal clear blue waters. Nature loving families should certainly have this destination next on their list. When traveling as a family in Madagascar, you can see so much more than the famed lemurs that swing from the trees above you as you explore. Madagascar is home to the leaf-tailed gecko, humpback whales and an array lemur species for you to spot.
Best things to see and do in Madagascar with kids
What to see as a family
Madagascar’s relatively small size is never an issue for nature loving visitors, since nearly the entire island is covered in nature reserves, national parks and protected areas. Naturally, this abundance of wildlife is the reason that most people visit and you and your kids will be spoilt for choice when choosing between national parks to visit. Isalo National Park is perhaps the most well known and family friendly option. Here you can find natural pools to swim and splash in, canyons to explore, a huge range of wildlife to see as you wander the trails and paths as well as cool rock formations that will leave you speechless and provide the perfect spot for a few vacation snaps to remember your trip by. Andasibe-Mantadia National Park is a clear choice for those who are keen to see an enormous range of flora and plantlife (as well as lots of animals too). During your time in this stunning national park, you won’t be surprised to find out that 5% of the globe’s species live in Madagascar and Madagascar alone. Your next stop should be Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park where you can admire the bizarre rock formations that bring visitors here throughout the year. For more impressive landscapes, the rocky mountain range of The Andringitra Massif is the perfect place. See the jagged rocks ahead of you and admire this unbeatable location, perfect for more experienced climbers and hikers. Lastly, drive or walk through the famous Baobabs Avenue to see a picture perfect postcard view of Madagascar’s most famous trees. Try to visit at sunset for a view you and your family will never forget.
What to do as a family
Madagascar’s abundance of wildlife means that it’s the perfect place for a safari tour. It can be a better option for younger children than its Kenyan or South African counterparts, since the island is relatively small and wildlife is everywhere, meaning that you often will only need to cover a smaller distance to see just as many animals. Berenty Reserve is a great place to go on a safari tour and you’ll be able to hire a guide who can tell you all about the animals that you encounter along the way. The best place to see the Lemurs that Madagascar is so famous for is in the Analamazaotra Special Nature Reserve, where the species thrives and ring-tailed lemurs, white ruffed lemurs and black lemurs can be seen in their natural habitat. If you are unable to visit Analamazaotra, however, a visit to Lemur Island is another great family option. Madagascar is also surrounded by many smaller islands and an island hopping tour is an incredible way to spend a day or two with your family. Visit Tsarabanjina Island, just off the Northwest coast, Ile Sainte-Marie off the east coast or Ile aux Nattes to experience paradise on earth as you wander around the beaches. To get a sense of the history here, why not take a guided tour of Ambohimanga? This place is a centuries old complex with the remains of pre-colonial buildings and houses as well as the tombs of noblemen and women. Head off the coast to take your family whale watching in the water surrounding Madagascar and if you’re lucky you will get a glimpse of the humpback whales that live here.
Best time to visit Madagascar as a family
People often refer to Madagascar as a year-round destination and whilst this is true, the wet season in Madagascar, running from December to March, can often involve more extreme weather, such as cyclones and so is best avoided for family travelers looking to steer clear of any added stress. The best time for families to visit Madagascar is during the dry and spring seasons, running from April to November, when weather is good. Avoid the crowds by visiting during the shoulder seasons either side of July and August. During peak season prices may be raised and availability of family-friendly accommodations may be reduced. Whenever you decide to plan your family trip, you’re sure to make incredible memories together.
Family vacation tips for traveling to Madagascar
With a little research and knowledge you can ensure that you are as prepared as possible for your time in Madagascar, here a few tips and tricks to ensure that everything runs smoothly on your family vacation:
- As with any popular tourist destination, you and your family may encounter pickpockets when visiting some of the more crowded sites, particularly in cities. These are easy to tackle by simply making sure that any valuables are kept safe and sound back at your hotel and that you don’t carry large amounts of cash.
- Make sure that you speak to your GP before traveling here to ensure that you have had any vaccinations that you may need.
- Book ahead, especially if you plan on traveling during peak season, to ensure that you get the best family-friendly accommodations with amenities such as a swimming pool or air conditioning. It may be worth working out a vague route and flexible plan beforehand by looking at a travel guide or something similar.
- Learn to negotiate prices where possible. For smaller buys, such as souvenirs, it is often possible to negotiate prices and if you practice this a little you might be able to save yourself a little bit of cash to spend on another fun activity.
- Be flexible. Don’t be too rigid in your plans since these may change last minute. Go with the flow and be willing to change your plans to make the most out of your time as a family in Madagascar.