If you are up to spending even one night in a tent in the Andasibe rainforest with the lemurs, the “music” of the indri, is all the reason you will need to visit Madagascar. But I can give you 10 more anyway. Y’ know, just to seal the deal.
10. The food. It’s delicious and nutritious. The fruit is fresh and if you are adverse to the meat products from factory farming, eat at ease knowing that the meat you eat was likely happily grazing in a rice paddy a day before.
9. The whole island runs on “Malagasy time” which basically means no one is in a hurry, but I promise you’ll get where you need to go. Eventually. It’s a nice way to learn to de-stress, relax, and enjoy the ride.
8. Lemurs and chameleons. ‘Nuff said.
7. The rainforests are so ridiculously unique, it’s like visiting another universe. Tourism actually really helps the parks, so just by visiting, you are helping to ensure their protection.
6. The country is one of the poorest in the world, and tourism is one of their best industries. But don’t get the wrong idea; they totally deserve it. They began introducing English in schools for the sake of foreigners’ interests, and though it hasn’t widely spread yet, the parks have English-speaking staff (and guides), and when I was struggling to find my way via the “transit system”, they always managed to find someone who spoke a little English to help me out when I needed it.
5. The island boasts just about every kind of environment/ tropic zone you could hope for, minus arctic. But most people don’t hope for that. Depending on which area of the island you are going to, you can find yourself in mountains, a desert, a rainforest, sparkling beaches, and each locale has all the activities you could hope for in that climate.
4. The Malagasy are the most easy-going, laidback, inherently content people on the planet. Everyone could benefit from the experience of a week’s submersion. (But we warned, taxi drivers are still taxi drivers, and you will have to barter down the inflated “foreigner” rate, cuz let’s be real, we stick out like sore thumbs and they’ll just assume you’re rich.)
3. You will not have experienced the full glory of public transit until you have experienced riding in the back of a taxi-brousse.
2. The island is largely unaffected by “Westernization” and the rushy rat-race that goes with it. There is a palpable difference in culture, and one that truly makes you appreciate the generosity and friendliness of the people.
1. The richness of wildlife is one of a kind, but even on the island, you still have to go out and find it. Deforestation is happening at a rapid rate, like everywhere else, so the pressure is on for conservation efforts to protect what’s left. That being the case, you realize that it does take a little more effort to get out to the places where the wildlife thrives, but when you do, you realize just how “worth it” it was. The diversity and rarity of the animals is mind-boggling. It truly is it’s own little universe, boasting 93% of its animal life as endemic to the island. But like everywhere else, the species are at risk. Foreign interest might prove to the locals just how special it is, and by investing in the opportunity, we can thus promote the cause to protect it.
So go see Madagascar for your own benefit, and for theirs. It’s a win-win.