UNIQUE MADAGASCAR

Madagascar is so different from the rest of the world that it is sometimes called ‘The Eighth Continent’. Not only does it have the high level of endemism (species not found elsewhere) that is typical of an island, but it also boasts remarkable diversity, which for some groups approaches that more typical of a whole continent. Madagascar is the land of lemurs, a radiation of our own primate order that evolved into exhilarating diversity on this island. These endearing creatures are the ambassadors for Malagasy nature; many people who have no idea where this island is located immediately recognize the Ring-tailed Lemur. Madagascar is also a land of fabulous birds, ancient reptile lineages, and six of the world’s nine species of baobabs. All naturalists find Madagascar fascinating as a treasure-trove of biodiversity and a ‘laboratory of evolution’, much like the Galápagos but on a grander scale. And for travelling naturalists, Madagascar is a ‘must-visit’ place. Although Madagascar has long been known for birds and mammals, its reptiles, amphibians, insects and plants are just as unique. Madagascar is a land of distinctive and odd creatures, a whole different track of evolution from the rest of the world. A good example of this is the Mossy Leaf-tailed Gecko, a master of disguise whose mossy fringes and colour changing abilities allow it to blend into the tree trunks where it sleeps during the day.

The most-visited natural sites:
This map shows the distribution of Madagascar’s remaining natural habitats. The major division is between the wet east, where rainforest is the natural habitat, and the dry west, with deciduous forest.

Rank

GENERAL TOURISTS

SERIOUS NATURALISTS BIRDERS
1 Andasibe area

(Andasibe-Mantadia NP, etc.)

Andasibe area

(Andasibe-Mantadia NP, etc.)

Andasibe area

(Andasibe-Mantadia NP, etc.)

2 RN7 south: Toliara / Isalo NP Ranomafana NP RN7 south: Toliara / Ifaty

/ Isalo area / Zombitse- Vohibasia NP

3 Nosy Be Isalo NP Ranomafana NP
4 Far north: Ankarana and Amber Mountain NPs, etc. Berenty / Fort Dauphin Ankarafantsika NP / Betsiboka Delta (Mahajanga)
5 Tsingy de Bemaraha NP Kirindy Forest Masoala NP
6 St. Marie Island Tsingy de Bemaraha NP Berenty
7 Berenty / Fort Dauphin Nosy Be Anjozorobe area (Anjozorobe-Angavo forest)
8 Masoala NP Far north: Ankarana and Amber Mountain NPs, etc. Far north: Ankarana and Amber Mountain NPs, etc.
9 Kirindy Forest Masoala NP Marojejy NP
10 Ankarafantsika NP Ankarafantsika NP Kirindy Forest
11 Ranomafana NP Marojejy NP Tsingy de Bemaraha NP
12 Marojejy NP Toliara / Anakao / Ifaty Nosy Be
13 Anjozorobe area (Anjozorobe-Angavo forest) Anjozorobe area (Anjozorobe-Angavo forest) St. Marie Island

 

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