For the past two weeks, Holbrook Specialty Travel Consultant Sandy Doss has been exploring Madagascar, "the Eighth Continent." Renowned for its spectacular biodiversity and endemism, Madagascar is home to dancing lemurs, colorful chameleons, towering baobabs, and sprawling scenery. It's also emerging as a desirable "off-the-beaten-path" destination for travel planners. The country is still in early stages of tourism development, and poised for further growth in infrastructure as it delights travelers with its remarkable natural beauty.
To get a taste of Sandy's Madagascar experience, check out her photo essay below!
Sandy making friends in Madagascar
June 12 · 8:40 PM · PORTLAND, OR
Welcome to our journey to Madagascar - the Eighth Continent! This expedition is a survey of the wildlife, botany, and cultural heritage of this most diverse country and true gem for bio-geographers. I hope to share the many experiences we shall encounter as we make our way! I will seek to post as often as possible, and share in this journey!
June 13 · 11:32 PM · PORTLAND, OR
In the spirit of sharing the full expedition - thought I would share in the packing! Yeah, the exciting stuff! (Sooo... what am I forgetting?) Some new notes for my routine: Only carry-on. No cotton. Less is more. Wash in sink. Bar shampoo (no liquids). Roll everything into tight bundles.
June 15 · 1:03 PM · Portland, OR
Wheels up and 25.10 hours of transit! Got Dramamine (and wine)... inflatable pillow... blanket and eye mask... heavy duty wool socks and iPad crash course on Madagascar... movies/books. Whatever I forgot...? Well, is forgotten. See ya on another continent!
June 17 · 10:40 AM · ANTANANARIVO, MADAGASCAR
Salama! “Hello” from Madagascar!!!
As citizens of the US, we are fascinated with monarchies - and who knew Madagascar had a flourishing monarchy for 100+ years! Today we explored the history of Madagascar’s monarchy of long ago with a visit to the Royal Hill of Ambohimanga, a UNESCO World heritage site. We were ushered into a time where the kings and queens of Madagascar shaped a nation - for good and bad. Overlooking the valley below, we were treated to a special folkloric dance showcasing the many traditions of the Malagasy people representing regional song, dance, and dress! We ate our first traditional dish, mashed cassava over pork. Combined with the sounds and scenery of Antananarivo, it made for a beautiful introduction. Can’t wait for tomorrow!
June 19 · 12:10 PM · ANTANANARIVO, MADAGASCAR
Oh, so much to share! We enjoyed a beautiful welcome in Tana by the Secretary General of Ministry of Finance for Madagascar!
June 19 · 3:20 PM · andasibe, MADAGASCAR
Endemic Madagascar! Almost 80% of the species of Madagascar have evolved in isolation. To witness the sheer biodiversity in less than 25 hours of hiking has been a real treasure! LEMURS - LEMURS - LEMURS - and a few other iconic Malagasy species!
June 19 · 3:20 PM · Toamasina, Madagascar
Do you see the gecko?
Mossy Leaf-Tailed Gecko
June 20 · 11:19 AM · AMISALO NATIONAL PARK, MADAGASCAR
Sorry - you are just going to have to join me to appreciate this beyond adorableness. I mean, I would just like to bring a few of these sweet little lemurs home - but alas - they are wild and MUST be protected!
The Eastern Grey Bamboo Lemur is found in east-central Madagascar, and the species is listed in threatened status. They feed mainly on bamboo shoots and grasses, and according to a population census in 2009, the population was only at 818 individuals.
June 20 · 11:41 AM · AMISALO NATIONAL PARK, MADAGASCAR
Madagascar rainforest represents many different altitudinal ecological systems, from dry forest, to cloud forest! Here are some of the images of Andasibe rainforest:
June 22 · 1:33 PM · Ranomafana, Madagascar
We have just arrived in Ranomafana National Park, a critical rainforest preserve that is home to 8 species of lemurs - with 3 endemic to just this reserve.
While the drives are long in Madagascar, they are full of scenic imagery as we follow the mountainous “spine” of the country - flanked by bustling cities and sprawling terraced rice patties and beautiful countryside.
Ahhhhh, the rainforest, the beautiful rainforest!
June 25 · 12:13 PM · ISALO NATIONAL PARK, MADAGASCAR
This is SO MUCH FUN! I want to join the dance!
June 25 · 9:32 AM · Ranohira, Madagascar
Thought I would share our accommodations in Isalo National Park - beautiful lodge! And amazing day of hikes and swimming under a canyon waterfall
June 27 · 7:59 AM · toliara, madagascar
Tomorrow we begin the trek back to Tana (the capital) before our red eye flights to Paris - but I had to share a moment of “end of the trip decadence” on the Indian Ocean!
Tonight we dine in the spiny forest and under the baobob trees! (And this morning’s bird walk at 6am greeted me with a surprise visitor!
June 27 · 12:52 AM · ifaty, madagascar
Farewell dinner under the stars and baobob trees of the spiny forest! Madagascar offered so much and I can’t wait to share my full collection of photos!
I hope you enjoyed my posts on Madagascar and views of this amazing country! I can't wait to come back!