Travel to Madagascar – Episode 599

categories: africa travel

Travel to Madagascar on a Wildlife Tour (Podcast)

Hear about travel to Madagascar as the Amateur Traveler talks to Corinne Vail from about her travel to this island nation off southern Africa.

Corinne says of Madagascar, “We love to do anything outdoors, safari wildlife related. What better wildlife safari place to go to than Madagascar? We went for the lemurs and the chameleons and then after we got there we found out they had this fantastic cattle called zebu. Now they’re my favorite.”

“There is no place like it on Earth. It truly is this island out in the middle of the ocean where things evolved differently.  And it is stunning.”

Corinne lays out an itinerary that mostly centered on the national parks with a lot of “adventure and hiking and rainforests and communing with lemurs and holding snakes galore.”

They visited:

  • Kirindy Mitea National Park with its Baobab trees and beaches and lemurs
  • Ranomafana National Park with its tropical rainforest, chameleons, and lemurs (part of the Rainforests of the Atsinanana UNESCO World Heritage Site)
  • Isalo National Park with its waterfalls and pools and lemurs
  • Lemur Island preserve, which also had lemurs (as well as a reptile park)

They toured the island with a private car and driver which can have its challenges. It is slow and at times will rattle your bones but they also enjoyed seeing this lush country with its jungles and rice patties. They visited in the rainy season when it was wet and steamy but also very green.

Come hear about this stunning special island nation.

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Show Notes
trip map
Madagascar Itineraries, Things To Do, and More!
Travel to Madagascar – Episode 141
Kirindy Mitea National Park
Boa constrictor
Ranomafana National Park
Isalo National Park
Kirindy Lodge
Malagasy people
Parson’s Chameleon
Mouse lemur
Vakona Forest Lodge near Lemur Island
Air Madagascar


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Chris Christensen

by Chris Christensen

Chris Christensen is the creator of the Amateur Traveler blog and podcast. He has been a travel creator since 2005 and has won awards including being named the "Best Independent Travel Journalist" by Travel+Leisure Magazine.

4 Responses to “Travel to Madagascar – Episode 599”

Jeff Ohlfs


Been traveling myself. Another great episode but wanted to add a few things on Madagascar. I was there in 2012 and it appears the flights haven’t gotten any better. Arrived from Tanzania with a midnight flight and delayed 12 hours leaving Tana. Madagascar is the fourth largest island in the world behind Greenland, New Guinea, and Borneo. It was the favorite haunt of pirates like Captain Kidd. It’s been called “Noah’s Ark”. 80% of its fauna and flora is only found here. They’ve evolved in isolation since the island separated from Africa 60 million years ago. There are 102 species of lemurs. Wanted to mention the huge pill bugs the size of a baseball! And, one unique bird was the colored nightjar which is in the owl family and nests on the ground camouflaged in the dead leaves.

Don’t miss Tana which is built around 18 hills. Check out some of the old French influenced buildings like the Rova or Palace of the Queen, Andafiavaratra or Prime Minister’s Palace, the old court of Ambatondrafandrana. There’s a World War I Memorial to the Malagasy soldiers who fought on the side of the French. Tana’s Market is one the world’s most unique with its red tile roofs and open-air stalls selling all sorts of foods, spices, and anything else you would find at a Wal-Mart. The Museum of Ethnology and Paleontology is one of three in the world that has a preserved Coelacanth, a prehistoric fish thought extinct until one was discovered in 1938. Also in the museum is a rare skeleton of the largest ostrich in the world, Aepyornis or Elephant Ostrich, now extinct with its football sized egg which only lived on Madagascar. Next to the museum was Tsimbazaza, a zoological and botanical park. It had an endangered Radiated Tortoise found only in Northern Madagascar.

Visit the Royal Hill of Ambohimanga World Heritage Site. This was the palace and burial grounds for the royal family of Malagasy 1740-1897. It still serves as a public assembly grounds and for an annual zebu (cow) sacrifice. The Malagasy have a profound veneration for the dead. This is exhibited in the different regional styles of family tombs we saw.

92% of the country’s forests have been cut down for agricultural land. You see fields and terraced hillsides everywhere. There were only two paved national roads but despite being paved they are deteriorating. The average speed is 30 MPH. Every major city had police check points going into and out of the city looking for various permits and smuggled goods. We passed through a town south of Tana called Ambatolampy where they recycle aluminum into pots and pans. Further south is Ambositra known for its wood carvings including a totem pole like carving called an Aloalo. And further south in Ambohimahasoa, we had lunch here with a performance of Malagasy dance and music called “Mphira Gasy”.



Thanks Jeff for more great info!

al c


I enjoy listening to the shows. It takes me to many exotic places I would like to visit someday but probably won’t get there. I especially liked this show because it was from the perspective of a first time traveler instead of a local guide or someone familiar with the region. Her experiences were real and descriptive (I could picture myself) such as the time she rested on the park floor and lemurs came and sat with her. Keep up the good work!



Glad you liked it. 🙂

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