#01 Fianarantsoa

Fianar’s hilltop old town is one of the Madagascar’s most picturesque, with narrow lanes and views across the modern city and its rice fields.

#02 Parc National d’Andasibe-Mantadia

Wonderful lemur-watching, including troops of habituated indris, plus night walks and decent hotels, just a three-hour drive from Antananarivo.

#03 Île Sainte Marie

This beautifully unspoiled island is quieter than Nosy Be, with the jewel of Île aux Nattes at its southern tip. Leave time to get back to the big island: it’s easy to get stranded by the weather.

#04 Réserve Spéciale de Nosy Mangabe

Heaven on a plate for beach-bum natural history buffs, with leaf-tailed geckos camouflaged obligingly on every other branch and a beach to make grown men cry.

#05 Parc National de Masoala

The real-life version of your local rainforest experience, complete with tumbling streams, buttress-rooted forest giants and thousands of life forms. Take a waterproof.

#06 Nosy Be

Madagascar’s most developed concentration of tourist resorts is low-key by global standards. Get away from the beach hotels and out to the offshore reefs or up to the hilly interior.

#07 Allée des Baobabs and Kirindy Private Reserve

Worth the special journey for the towering “tree-elephants” and the exhilarating nocturnal animal life of Kirindy, including fossas.

#08 Tsingy de Bemaraha

Hard to get to, but worth every ounce of effort for the extraordinary expanses of weirdly eroded limestone pinnacles, cut through by winding rivers.

#09 Parc National d’Isalo

A park of big landscapes, lush canyons and wide horizons in the dry savannah, with easy access, good hotels and camping.

#10 Sainte Luce Reserve

Moist coastal forest and creeks, home to lemurs and chameleons, with glorious beaches and onshore whale-watching, as well as some excellent guides.

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