My extraordinary quest to Madagascar
What do any of us expect from a holiday? I remember as a young girl David Attenborough’s ‘Zoo Quest to Madagascar’. Having finished the book I wanted to go. For the indri, aye-aye, baobabs, spiny forest, lemurs and fantastic scenery. My first impression was Zebu carts and rice roundabouts; The old men drying their harvest in the only available space around the town. Carts, taxis, bikes and lorries had to go carefully around the roundabouts avoiding the farmers and their precious load.
Tana was the biggest surprise for me- a fascinating place often shrouded in mist, many hills rising out of the paddy fields with a smell of spices in the air. Beautiful palaces are perched on the upper regions of the town, which are a must to visit if you have spare time here.
The scenery of the interior is as fantastic and ever changing as I expected: the only disappointment the evidence of deforestation but there are still many protected wild places to trek through canyons and forests searching for indri, sifika, and ring-tailed lemur. Aegean blue seas lapping over golden sands surrounding “castaway” islands with local fishermen pulling in their nets reminded me that modern means have not reached us all. The people are unspoilt and friendly, laughing girls pounding rice and wanting a photo taken but not demanding money. Cactus forest, rugged mountains and wonderful sunsets mixed with either simple but comfortable accommodation or lovely up to date hotels serving local produce complete the experience.
Madagascar is unique and should not be missed by any traveller wanting a real experience. cazenove+loyd certainly showed me all aspect of this diverse and wonderful island.