Madagascar combines the best of Asia and Africa

Madagascar is a truly beautiful island. Set, like a jewel, in the equally beautiful Indian Ocean, this island is a mixture of everything that is good about Africa and Asia. Indeed, the inhabitants of Madagascar say that it is the smallest continent on earth. If you visit the island you will see why. There seems to be everything here that you would find on the larger continents.

The west coast of the island is actually on the Mozambique Channel, dividing it from Africa. The eastern coast faces out into the Indian Ocean. The island itself has such a vast range of exotic plant and animal life that you would not believe you could find in such a small place. The scenery, too, is amazing. There are miles of glorious beaches and inland there are hills, forests, lakes and rivers.

The highest part of the island is the Central Highlands. Here there are valleys, rivers and extinct volcanoes. The biggest peaks are in the north of the island. In the centre are some really nice lakes, notably Lake Alautra and Lake Mantasoa. They are surrounded by rice paddies and banana plantations. There is a nature reserve on the island called Andasibe, although you would be forgiven for thinking that all of Madagascar is a nature reserve.

The island is, as yet, unspoilt by tourism and let us hope it remains that way. If you do visit Madagascar, then you must be prepared to ‘rough it’ a little bit but it is well worth it. There are roads but they are mainly unmade tracks and trails. Most of the wildlife is covered by strict conservation laws, which is, obviously, a good thing.