Madagascar is often called the “eighth continent,” and for good reason: the island nation, though technically belonging to Africa, defies categorization. Located in the Indian Ocean, off the eastern coast of the African continent, Madagascar is home to dancing lemurs, landscapes studded with mighty baobab trees, and unusual reptiles and insects. 

For the past 88 million years, Madagascar has been left in almost complete evolutionary isolation, resulting in unparalleled biodiversity. Scientists estimate that 80 to 90 percent of the country’s flora and fauna are unique to the island. Birders, photographers, and nature enthusiasts can seek out its many endemic species. More than a third of its recorded bird species are also endemic.

 

This amazing biological diversity is supported by landscapes and ecosystems that include rainforests, cloud forests, spiny forests, deserts, savannas, wetlands, karst limestone formations, beaches, and coral reefs. The rust-colored soils of the central highlands lend the country its other nickname, the “Great Red Island.” Though many areas are protected, the country’s habitats are under extreme pressure from deforestation and mining activities. Opportunities to study biodiversity, geology, sustainability and conservation are abundant.

 

Madagascar’s human history is relatively recent; it’s believed humans first arrived to the island only 2,000 or so years ago. The country’s population has become a mix of the early Indonesian cultures that first settled here, as well as African, Arab, and French. From the capital city of Antananarivo to the lush cloud forests of Ranomafana and the spiny forests of Berenty, visitors can explore the country’s rich natural and cultural heritage and learn more about this mystical and welcoming island.

Trips to Join

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Photography

Madagascar | An Odd Corner of the World

Photography with Todd Gustafson
May 14, 2018 - May 29, 2018

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Natural History

Madagascar - Exploring the Riches of the Red Island

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Adventure

Exotic Madagascar | Wildlife and Culture of the Red Island

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