MadagascarPosted on September 9th, 2009 No comments
Madagascar an island of gold-sand beaches lined with swaying palm trees, diverse topographical wonders that house incredible arrays of endemic flora and fauna and friendly, traditional peoples with tribal cultures, Madagascar has all the right ingredients for an unforgettable tour destination. As we travel through sceneries of mist-enshrouded virgin rainforest, rice paddies fringing low hills, deep canyons carved into peculiar shapes by erosion and Eden-like waterfall oases, we see Mother Nature at her best and come to appreciate the uniqueness of this special place. We see brightly coloured houses stacked on hillsides, bustling markets and innumerable intriguing sites that detail the area’s pre- and post- colonial history–and of course, we’ll be sure to see plenty of lemurs, which can be found naturally only in Madagascar and on one or two surrounding islands.
Calling Madagascar an island almost seems unfair. This Eden-like garden of riches is filled with so much diversity in life and geography it is like no other island anywhere on Earth. Indeed, every expedition into its mountains, rain forests, river valleys, coastal plains, grasslands, caverns, and deserts leads to the discovery of some new plant or animal species. And with its many quiet coves and its proximity to the Indian Ocean trade routes, Madagascar was a haven for many of the fiercest pirates that ever sailed the seven seas. Tales of buried treasure and stories of the swashbuckling buccaneers’ deeds and misdeeds have become a colourful part of the national folklore. It is no exaggeration to claim that this micro-continent (as some have called it) offers limitless opportunities for exploration.
This morning we will depart for the lower slopes of Mt Kenya, rising to 5199m (16,728 feet), Africa’s second highest peak. Our drive will take us into the Central Highlands, the heartland of the Kikuyu people. This is a very fertile region, well-watered, intensively cultivated, and thickly forested. The land was coveted by the Europeans who began arriving in ever-increasing numbers once the railway through the area was completed. The settlers established coffee and tea plantations on the eastern slopes of Mt Kenya and cultivated wheat on the western slopes. The higher regions of the slopes are left to the leopard, buffalo, lion and elephant. Tonight we overnight at a “Tree-Style” lodge, uniquely designed and situated to provide one with an often extremely close-up view of a wide variety of wild animals as they come to drink and cavort. We highly recommend an optional guided nature walk (approx USD 15, payable locally) offered by the lodge. All rooms have a waterhole view and en suite facilities.
Tanzania & Madagascar
Day 5 of Tanzania & Madagascar Tour (Madagascar Tours) Ngorongoro – Serengeti National Park
Departing the Ngorongoro Conservation area this morning we descend onto the Serengeti Plain, stretching out endlessly before us. Indeed the name “Serengeti” derives from a Masai word meaning “Land-without-end.” This is a land of superlatives, both in the vast landscape that surrounds you and the incredible biodiversity it supports. It is here that you have a chance to witness one of the most compelling natural dramas on earth–the annual migration, a sight unparalleled anywhere in the natural world. Our afternoon game drive provides an excellent introduction to this fantastic landscape and the biodiversity it supports.
With the lapping waters of the Indian Ocean caressing the white-sand beaches on and iridescent reefs off its coastlines, the island of Madagascar is a haven for sun-worshippers and watersport enthusiasts alike. The myriad activities offshore complement its paradisiacal sceneries onshore and to venture farther inland is to discover why Madagascar is sometimes likened to a continent within itself. The fourth largest island in the world, Madagascar is also home to a staggering five per cent of the world’s animal and plant species, the vast majority of which are unique to this “micro-continent.” Easily rivalling the Galapagos Islands in terms of abundance and diversity of flora and fauna, Madagascar seldom receives the acclaim it deserves for its natural attractions that must be seen to be believed.
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