A few hundred km off Africa's eastern shores is a patchwork island of bizarre forests, tinkling rivers and quirky creatures.
After Greenland, New Guinea and Borneo, Madagascar is the world's fourth largest island and home to five percent of the world's plant and animal species, 80 percent of which are unique to the island.
With an incredible biodiversity, Madagascar is best known for its lemurs - primitive relatives of monkeys, apes, and humans; colourful chameleons; stunning orchids; and towering baobab trees.
Separated from mainland Africa over 165 million years ago, Madagascar has been conducting its own wildlife experiment in evolution. The results are unique, fascinating and impressive:
As with all islands, the fragile ecosystem is threatened by alien predators and deforestation. Responsible eco-tourism holds the key to conserving the island's rich natural and cultural heritage.
- At least 12,000 plant species - 90% endemic - with 7 endemic families and 310 endemic genera
- 6 of the worlds 8 baobab tree species
- 340 reptile species - 92% endemic
- 199 amphibian species - 99% endemic
- 169 mammal species - 83% endemic
- 283 bird species - 39% endemic and 8% near-endemic
- Primates: 5 families and 15 genera occur nowhere else in the world
- 74 lemur species - 100% endemic
- 3 new mouse lemur species discovered in June 2006
With Bespoke Safaris and Events you can experience and contribute to the cultural and natural beauty of Madagascar - whether it is the lemurs or the beautiful orchids you want to see. With Bespoke Safaris and Events makes use of the best local Malagasy guides and they will add an interesting flavour of local knowledge to your fascinating adventure.
Some of the world's most unusual birds are found only on Madagascar: gorgeous Ground-Rollers, the diverse Vanga family, Oxylabes, Newtonias and the Couas. If you wish to tick off most of the endemics, of which there are about 150, we recommend you go for between two and three weeks on a specialist With Bespoke Safaris and Events birding tour.