ABOUT Madagascar has evolved into one of the world's most phenomenal destinations for natural history travel. The world's fourth-largest island contains an immense diversity flora and fauna Of 12,000 plant species identified here, 10,000 are endemic to the island including seven of the world's nine species of the iconic Baobab tree, some Renowned national parks and World Heritage Site. Madagascar travel takes you through diverse habitats from 5.000 km of coastal line, 220 small islands to Bio-diversity hot spot. We seek out some of the 40 different species of lemurs, a primate group found only on Madagascar, and identify many species of chameleons in their wild habitat as well as some of the world's most bizarre creatures on Earth like the nightmarish hissing cockroach, so-called Dracula ants, and the Giraffe-necked weevil. Rich and fascinating culture, heritage today is composed of 18 different ethnic groups that derive from a long history of trade and migration from throughout Indonesia, Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, all united today in a common Malagasy culture and language. Legendary hospitality of the Malagasy population. Madagascar have a lot of precious stones as well. These tropical islands off the northwest coast have some of the region's finest beaches. Most accessible on Nosy Be is Andilana, the northernmost beach. Don't miss the day trip to beautiful, reef-ringed Nosy Tanikely, a marine reserve with a lovely, sunny beach. Nosy Komba has a good, small beach near Ampangorinana village. There are real gems further afield on Nosy Iranja (the 'turtles' island) and in the Mitsio Isles. Along the west coast, there are a number of secluded, palm-lined coves, off which to swim and snorkel and there is a stunning beach on the offshore islet of Ile Aux Nattes. The orchids are at their peak in September and the whales' migration takes place between July and October. . Its dense vegetation and the difficulty of navigating the lagoons which surround it made it an ideal base for pirates and, later, a colony for convicts. There are several historic sites, including Madagascar's oldest Catholic church (1837). The island is also known for its beautiful white-sand beaches and coral reefs. The months of July and August are the peak of the "high season" because it is the time when most tourists go to Madagascar so you should book in advance both plane tickets and accommodation in busy beach areas. The months from September to December are also a very popular period to visit Madagascar. It is hotter than during the last months and it does not rain a lot (the rainy season starts at the end of December). It is the best time to enjoy beach holidays and to observe the rich wildlife, since chameleons, lizards, snakes and rodents are active again. The only time you should avoid is January to March, when heavy rain can make many roads muddy and impassable, and when there's a high risk of cyclones in the east and northeast. Certain hotels are closed and even some big tour operators are not operative.

CLIMATE Because of its geography, Madagascar's climate is highly variable. Generally, Madagascar has two seasons, a hot, rainy season from November to April and a cooler, dry season from May to October. In general, the period between May to October (winter in the southern hemisphere) is the most pleasant time to travel to Madagascar, with cooler temperatures and little rain.

BEWARE There have also been increasing numbers of robberies from bush taxi passengers. Criminal gangs continue to attack taxis travelling in convoy on the National Highway close to the capital. A party of foreign motorcyclists was attacked by armed bandits some 15 km south of Toliara in the south west of the country on 6 November 2012 in an incident which left two injured. Vehicle theft and theft from cars has become more frequent during recent months. You should be particularly cautious on beaches where there have been reports of attacks and robberies. You should avoid visiting them alone. We advise against all but essential travel to Andohahela National Park and against all travel on road RN13 between Ambovombe and Ihosy.