Often referred to as the “Eighth Continent” and “The Big Red Island”, Madagascar is the world’s oldest and fourth largest island and after millions of years of isolation, a holiday there 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. It takes a long time to truly know the island, which is bigger than France with many hidden attractions, and our knowledge leads to superlative tailor-made and group tours there.
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 as a major source of foreign 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 is a vast range of ecosystems to explore: wet rainforest, dry tropical deciduous forest and the unique spiny forest found only in Madagascar’s far southwest. In addition, there are also coral reefs and stunning white sand beaches to enjoy along the coast, plus unique stone forests known as tsingy and fascinating cultures to discover.
Nearly all of Madagascar’ staggering biodiversity is found nowhere else on the planet and much of it is sadly threatened with extinction. Wildlife highlights undoubtably include the mysterious nocturnal aye aye, iconic ring-tailed lemur, the beautiful sifaka family, huge tail less indri, tiny mouse lemurs, charismatic fossa, both giant and miniature chameleons, camouflaged leaf-tailed geckos, colourful frogs and its fantastically varied endemic birds.
Our expert English-speaking guides are all tried, tested and trusted to deliver to you a marvellously memorable journey to a country that really could be the Eight Continent.
Come with us to Madagascar and you will see in the best possible way what makes the “The Big Red Island” so special.