Madagascar

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

Hilary Bradt & Daniel Austin , authors of Madagascar: The Bradt Guide

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.

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We chat to Ash Dykes, the explorer and expeditioner who has recently become the first man to walk the length of Madagascar. He tells us about how he prepares for his trips, why he chose Madagascar and how not knowing Malagasy saved the life of his guide.