Often referred to as the Eighth Continent, Madagascar is the world’s fourth largest and oldest island and, after millions of years of isolation, is truly unlike anywhere else on Earth.
Reef and Rainforest is the United Kingdom’s longest established and most experienced specialist tour operator for Madagascar, having first offered tours there nearly thirty years ago. It takes a long time truly to know the island, which is bigger than France and hides many attractions. Our unsurpassed knowledge of Madagascar results in superlative itineraries for you to enjoy.
Our director, Alan Godwin, first went to Madagascar in 1992 when it was still a rigid communist dictatorship with few visitors, awful roads and hotels, abject poverty and clapped-out Citroen 2CVs literally held together with rubber bands. He clearly saw the potential, however, and persevered: now Madagascar has improved infrastructure and a good range of high-quality accommodation. And of course, its unique wildlife is as wonderful as ever.
Wildlife tourism has emerged over the past 20 years as a vital source of income for Madagascar. By visiting Madagascar, you contribute directly to the conservation of its precious remaining forests with their unique wildlife, and the welfare of its people who are among the poorest (yet friendliest) in the world. Your presence facilitates the hiring of park rangers who guard the precious reserves from illegal logging, slash-and-burn farmers and bush-meat hunters. Fees paid to local guides and hotel staff salaries percolate down through the poor communities near the parks. Isolated lodges such as Anjajavy and Eden Lodge fund local schools and clinics. It all adds up.
Wildlife-wise, Madagascar must be one of the most extraordinary destinations in the world for those interested in natural history. There are many distinctive ecosystems to explore, the main ones being wet rainforest, dry tropical deciduous forest and the unique spiny forest found only in Madagascar’s far southwest. In addition, there are healthy coral reefs and stunning white sand beaches to enjoy along the coast, plus unique karst limestone outcrops known as tsingy and fascinating cultures to discover.
Nearly all Madagascar’ staggering biodiversity is found nowhere else on the planet and much of it is sadly threatened with extinction. Wildlife highlights undoubtedly include the mysterious nocturnal aye aye, iconic ring-tailed lemur, the beautiful sifaka lemurs, large tailless indri, tiny mouse lemurs, charismatic fossa, giant and miniature chameleons, cunningly camouflaged leaf-tailed geckos, colourful frogs and fantastically varied endemic birds, many families of which are found nowhere else.
Our expert English-speaking guides are all tried and trusted to deliver a marvellously memorable journey through a country that really could be the Eighth Continent.
Come with us to Madagascar and you will see in the best possible way what makes the The Big Red Island so special.