- POPULATION 24 million
- SIZE 224,534 square miles
For all the high drama of the African savannah – from roaring lions to thundering wildebeest migrations – there is no African destination with weirder, more consistently wondrous wildlife than Madagascar. The island detached from the mainland some 160 million years ago and ever since has set about perfecting some of the planet’s most distinct and sublime natural spectacles, from strangely bulbous baobab trees to chameleons the size of your fingernail.
The headline attraction, however, is of course the lemurs. For an easy introduction to this extraordinary family of primates, make for Andasibe-Mantadia National Park: two swathes of rainforest 60 miles east of the capital Antananarivo. Keep your eyes peeled to spot sifakas — lemurs that skip sideways along the forest floor – while simultaneously keeping your ears tuned to catch the call of the indri, a lemur close to extinction, whose song sounds like a police siren.
- GETTING THERE – It’s best to start your journey in Singapore to fly on Singapore Airlines to Johannesberg before flying South African Airways to Antananarivo.