Madagascar is probably one of the most preserved and beautiful places on Earth, but it is not the only reason why it’s my favourite place! The kindness of its people and the dimension of its unique nature make it a trip of a lifetime!

How I know Madagascar

My mother is born in Madagascar, and that’s definitely an advantage! Especially when it comes to visiting places off the beaten track. Although the number of travellers is still very low at the moment and there are still many unspoiled places.

I visited Madagascar for the first time when I was a baby, and I grew up seeing the pictures of this trip. I was attracted to it immediately! Every time I saw a plane, I thought about my grandparents, thousands of miles away!

And after begging my parents so much for going there, I finally went with my grandparents when I was 6 years old. And let me clarify: it has nothing to do with the movie! You won’t find lions nor giraffes there!

My first impressions about Madagascar

Imagine what goes through the head of a 6-year-old coming from Western Europe when she discovers Madagascar for the first time!

First, I was in shock. I had never seen so much poverty. My mother had described it in a way that implied it to be a rich country.

“Flowered and large avenues,” she would say to describe her hometown, while all I could see was dirt instead of roads and no flowers at all.

She had not returned since the beginning of the seventies, and many things had changed since the independence from France.

Then, and funnily enough, it was exactly how I imagined Africa: red earth, wild, hot, messy, kind.

So it was like a mixed feeling: a place I felt I belonged while local people called me “vazaha” (meaning, the foreigner).

Things you need to know about Madagascar

Although I love the country, you need to be prepared for the adventure.
Madagascar is bigger than you think, especially if you consider that roads are mostly bad, and sometimes impracticable during the commonly known “cyclone season”.

Since it is a large country, you need to concentrate on one region at a time. Slow tourism is obvious there! Which is a great thing, because it allows you to be in touch with nature and the locals.

It has all sorts of landscapes and therefore all sorts of weather. If you go during the Malgache winter, it doesn’t mean it’s cold everywhere. It can get hot on the coast!

Obviously, a poor country has a few drawbacks.
Electricity and water cutoffs, occasional unsafe food and drinks, and low medical standards didn’t stop me from going. My maternal family is still there so I went and guess what? I kept going back, including last year.

Why I love Madagascar

Now let me tell you why I keep coming back, even if it is not the most comfortable country to travel to, especially when you have a small physical disability like me…

Madagascar is simply magic!

Everything is just different and surprising!

Trees, the seaside, wildlife, rice fields, food…

The tree native to Madagascar – the baobab – is my favourite on Earth! Did you know it can take ages to grow? But once it’s big, it can last centuries!

The people are also one of the kindest I have met! And it is not because I am half from there that I say that! The Malagasy are always smiling and friendly.

Places I like the most in Madagascar

Toliara is one of my favourites. Why? Because I enjoy warm weather, love baobabs as mentioned earlier, and the seaside.

It has lots of endemic trees that you can discover at Antsokay arboretum. It’s also close by the beautiful Isalo Park where both nature and wildlife are breathtaking! Lemurs are so special! I can’t find the words to describe this authentic Madagascan creature!

The great thing about going to Toliara (or Tuléar) is that it is right in the south-east, so when you land in the capital, Antananarivo (or Tana, it’s easier!), which is located in the heart of the country, you have the opportunity to make one of the most scenic drives! Just look for a private driver and visit everything on the way like Antsirabe or Fianarantsoa areas.

When I compare my last visit with my first time about 30 years ago, I can see the harm greed does… So I hope people will learn to conserve this beautiful place.

On the brighter side, I have found so many responsible travel practices develop, it gives me hope for the future of my grandparents’ land!

And believe it or not, you will never be the same after discovering the fourth largest island on Earth!

  • Edith alias Ella Travels
  • : I am a French blogger living in Barcelona with Dutch and Malagasy roots, and I have started my blog a couple of years ago, unsure of the direction I would take. I have now started a project around it, that will focus on responsible travel accessible to all. I am born with an invisible physical disability that makes my passion - travelling - a bit of a challenge. I decided to help people like me to travel in a comfortable, authentic and eco-friendly way!
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  • : I want to promote healthy travel. Healthy for travellers and the planet at the same time. I care about people and try to recommend the best places I know around the globe, always keeping in mind travellers with different needs. My goal is to inspire visiting new places mindfully and help you go beyond your limits.
  • : adult_(19_and_over_as_of_31st_december_2019)
  • : This is the first time this story has been published.