Manahoana o! (if you read my last blog, Madagascar Part 1, you’ll know what that means. If you didn’t get to read Part 1, click here to read that first, then come on back to Part 2)I’m jumping right into today’s blog. I hope you gain TONS of value from this blog in case you find yourself in this beautiful part of the world.Getting around in Mada is a little tricky and because of the differing road conditions, renting a car is not a good idea unless you are completely familiar with the area. I promise you, it will not end well. Not only will you contend with cars driving in the roads,
there’s also zebu (cow’s)…
buses, bikes, mopeds…
and lots of people.
Many of the roads are undeveloped, unpaved, off-road type of conditions. AND gas is extremely expensive. You think $4.00/gallon is outrageous? Try $8.50 per gallon! All that factored in with very few street lights, traffic signals, and street signs; a recipe for disaster. If you get into a fender bender, there’s no exchanging insurance information, they just duke it out right there on the streets! So believe me when I say, you’d be better off either walking, taking the bus, taxi, or hiring a chauffeur.
It is not my intention to scare you from ever visiting Mada, on the contrary. I want you to visit and have a great time and most importantly, STAY SAFE. Part of being safe is knowing where to go and where NOT to go. So I have highlighted four places I HIGHLY suggest you visit in Mada.
1. Maitsoanala Park in Mandraka: This park is 64-acres of beautiful forest, which also has a waterfall…
and a lake with lilly pads…
and a very rare blue water lotus.
The hike is quite challenging, especially on the day we visited, as it rained the night before and the ground was wet, muddy, and very slippery. The terrain included steep hills and declines.
Apparently our group missed the memo because we thought we were going on a leisurely nature walk, not a "take-one-wrong-step-and-you're-dead" kind of hike! So I highly recommend wearing comfortable hiking shoes and finding a large stick to help finagle your way through the jungle (I mean nature walk).
We were rewarded midway through the hike by seeing these beautiful creatures, called lemur, endemic to Madagascar, in their natural habitat. They kind of remind you of monkeys in a way because they hang out in trees and eat bananas. (You’ll want to take plenty of bananas, because these cute little primates will eat them right out of your hand!)
2. A Walk in Lemur Park: We took a guided tour on this private reserve, which took about an hour-and-a-half to walk through. That gave us plenty of time to spend with the different species of lemur. We also saw chameleons…
and over 70 plant species.
Since this was a private reserve, we were not allowed to feed the lemur here, but they still came very close to us. We began to wonder, who’s studying whom?
3. Zoo: You can’t go to a new land without visiting the local zoo! The highlight of this zoo was seeing a fossa, which is something Americans don’t get to see everyday. I’m not exactly sure what it is, but it kind of resembled a cat and a dog.
Crocodiles are really the only predator on the whole island of Madagascar, but they are endangered here. So although we didn’t see any in the wild, we did catch them at this zoo.
4. Lily Falls: This place is a little tricky to get to and we had to hire a chauffeur and a tour guide (for $120 American dollars ~ not to shabby for a whole days’ excursion!) to take us about 4 hours away to this beautiful waterfall. Check out the view!
I hope you can tell we had the time of our lives on this trip to Mada. But there's still more, so please come back next time for the third and final part to our Madagascar series where I talk more about the people, the culture, and why a trip like this would drastically change YOUR life FOREVER!
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Kimberly is the owner of Travel Kimestry. Her areas of expertise include The Bahamas, The Caribbean, Hawaii, Mexico, Europe and ALL THINGS DISNEY. She’s passionate about working with families who enjoy traveling the world. She looks forward to working with YOU soon!