It has been described as the eighth continent, a world apart, evolution’s playground, and the real Alice’s Wonderland.

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Madagascar has been described as the eighth continent, a world apart, evolution's playground, and the real Alice's Wonderland. This otherworldly island in the Indian Ocean is the Holy Grail for many wildlife fanatics.

Leaf-tailed geckos so well camouflaged that they can be sleeping on a tree trunk right in front of your face without being spotted. More than a hundred types of lemur – not a single one found anywhere outside Madagascar – so diverse that some bound across the ground like kangaroos and some howl their eerie 'whalesong' from the treetops, while others winkle grubs from beneath tree bark with their bony, knitting-needle fingers. Majestic baobab trees with their elephantine trunks looking for all the world as if they've been planted upside-down with their stubby little roots reaching skyward. Madagascar is truly a place like no other.

But that's only half the story; ecotourism isn't all this destination has to offer. There are incredible deserted beaches, world-class dive sites, opportunities for all manner of other watersports from windsurfing to kite-surfing, delicious cuisine, yacht charters, and treks through startling landscapes, not to mention the warm welcome you will receive from the ever-smiling Malagasy people.

Hilary Bradt & Daniel Austin

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