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Small villages dot rice field landscapes as you drive south from Antananarivo through the rolling hills of Madagascar's Highlands. Photo by Lynne Venart.

Traveling South to the City of Antsirabe

Like most visitors to Madagascar, I began my travels in the capital of Antananarivo. My time for this trip was limited, so I headed out of Tana the following morning en route to Madagascar’s third largest city: Antsirabe. The Road to Antsirabe Antsirabe is about a 3 1/2 hour drive down the RN 7 from Antananarivo, passing by barren hills, rice fields, picturesque small villages, and roadside towns with local Malagasy out and about — shopping on market day, playing baby foot […]

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The author Lynne Venart on her first trip to Madagascar in 2012. Photo taken by Christine Venart in Ankarafantsika National Park.

Planning Your First Trip to Madagascar

As a tourist, it can be intimidating to plan your first trip to Madagascar. It seems so remote and exotic! Plus, it’s large, with a less-than-stellar road system, and the plane tickets are expensive, so you want to do it right the first time. In this blog post, I’ll share a variety of options for traveling to Madagascar for the first time visitor, with some helpful tips and quotes from the experts. Don’t be intimidated, and don’t fret about “doing it right.” There […]

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The crowd at the concert among beautiful forested hills

Centre ValBio Interns Venture to Kianjavato to See Singer Khelen in Concert

  A Weekend Adventure to See One of Mada’s Top Singers A few of the volunteers and researchers at Centre ValBio took a weekend trip to Kianjavato to see Khelen in concert. Khelen is one of the most popular singers in Madagascar at the moment and… she happened to be hosted by Aina, a friend of one of the researchers. As luck would have it, we could also stay at the same house as Khelen and entourage were going to leave the […]

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Avenue of the Baobobs. One of the most unique and picturesque landscapes in all of Madagascar.

Ecotourism and Education: How it Can Save Lemurs

Many conservationists agree that ecotourism is the number one thing that can ensure the survival of lemurs in Madagascar. “Lemurs are the goose laying the golden eggs for Madagascar,” says Jonah Ratsimbazafy, Secretary General of GERP Madagascar. “Thousands of families depend on lemurs, because tourists will not come to see empty forests.” The local Malagasy people need to see that lemurs are more valuable alive than dead. Tourists will come to see lemurs in the wild. But much more work needs to be done […]

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The ringleader

Traveling to the South of Madagascar

  Continuing on from Andasibe and Ranomafana, I was sad to be leaving behind Madagascar’s rainforests. I don’t know when or where I’ll next be able to stand in awe of jungle, its sights, its sounds, its wildlife. I wasn’t quite done with lemurs though, oh no. Madagascar’s south is drier, warmer and has more of a mainland African feeling to it. This is the area where the world famous baobab trees grow, evolving perfectly to suck up and store […]

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Lac Ravelobe in Ankarafantsika National Park. Photo by Lynne Venart.

Ankarafantsika National Park and the Legend of Lac Ravelobe

In the last post, we examined what makes coquerel’s sifakas so special and what threats they face in the wild. But since Madagascar is such an incredibly diverse and remarkable place, I’d like to focus this post on Madagascar itself. I could bore you with an essay-like description of the fourth largest island in the world (after Greenland, New Guinea, and Borneo) and its collection of flora and fauna (nearly all endemic to the island). But I’ll try to keep […]

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View of the valley in the mist at Ranomafana. Photo by Sabrina Szeto.

My First Impressions of Madagascar: Interning at Centre ValBio

“Salama!” One of the first words I learned from a friend who learned that I was about to visit her home country, Madagascar. It is a greeting that I’ve used over and over again. My name is Sabrina Szeto. This is my first time in Madagascar, and I am here for a summer internship at Centre ValBio, a conservation organization and research station located in Ranomafana, Fianarantsoa. Over the next few weeks, I will be writing several blogs about my […]

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Our blogger Phil Reeks visits Ranomafana National Park on a tour.

In Search of Ruffed Lemurs at Ranomafana National Park

  For myself the name ‘Ranomafana’ has always conjured mystical images of abrupt hills, drifting mist, dense forest and hidden lemurs. It us a must-see for any nature lover heading to Madagascar. Although my group tour didn’t allow for long within its lush confines, it at least gave me a chance to glimpse some of the island’s most rare wildlife. The omens were positive. Within a few hours of arriving in Antananarivo, I had an incredibly lucky encounter with Doctor […]

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