Overall, Africa is a magnificent place for travel, adventure, and cultural exposure, especially for families with kids who love amazing wildlife, unique culture, otherworldly nature, and of course, diverse societies. But a trip to Madagascar can be tough if not well-planned. The extreme hot temperature can be uncomfortable however with the right protection and proper travel planning, Madagascar will be a great trip for most families.
So, visiting Madagascar with kids is, without a doubt, a tough feat for families with very young children. Yet, for seasoned travelers, whose kids are already old enough to appreciate the beauty of nature and the fascinating stories of culture or history, then a trip to Madagascar is a bucket-list adventure. Even the name, Madagascar, sounds so exotic!
In this article, we’ll go through the list of things to see, places to visit, and adventure to indulge in when you travel to Madagascar with kids.
1. Meet the Malagasy People
There is no doubt that Madagascar has one of the world’s most remarkable biodiversity. It has national parks packed with so much colors and life. But what sets the country apart from some other African nations is its people – the Malagasy. With rich culture, ancestry, and traditions, the islanders have built communities where you and your kids can now visit so you can spend time with the locals. Tours that include a meet-and-greet session with the Malagasy people is a great venue for the family to learn about the ways of life of the locals.
2. Discover the amazing wildlife
Like other African countries, Madagascar is a real deal when we talk about wildlife. Kids who love animals and adventure will find the country an incredible place to enjoy an excursion. From chameleons to the fluffy lemurs, the country has it all.
3. Visit Isalo National Park
Speaking of lemurs, the best way to spot them in the wild is by visiting the Isalo National Park, which is located in the Ihorombe Region of Madagascar. Apart from its incomparable terrain and sand and rock formations, the park is home to the fluffy and ringtail, brown lemurs, and sifaka lemurs. The sight of fluffy is something the kids will surely love.
4. Visit Andasibe-Mantadia National Park
Without a doubt, Madagascar is really big on lemurs. So, it is not surprising that Andasibe-Mantadia National Park is popular among locals and tourists as a lemur-sighting area. What is cool about Andasibe-Mantadia National Park is that it is home to the indri, a type of lemur that can only be found in this park. On top of that, the park is also a great place to bring the kids to learn about wildlife conservation.
5. Journey to the Avenue of the Baobabs, Morondava
If there’s one dirt road the kids would need to visit, that has to be the Avenue of the Baobabs that links Morondava and Belo Tsiribihina in Madagascar. This place attracts tourists and travelers not for the red dirt road but for the dozens of sacred, ancient, and rare baobab trees that grow along the alley. The sight of these giant trees, many of which are more than 800 years old, is a fascinating experience for the family. At present, and because of deforestation, there are only a few trees left of what used to be a forest of baobabs.
6. Try canoeing down the rivers
Being an island, Madagascar is a country with a vast coastline and many rivers. These rivers provide an avenue for kids to enjoy watersports like canoeing and kayaking. Some river expeditions also offer options to stop at local villages where the family can interact and talk with the friendly locals. The entire canoeing experience won’t just be a fun and exciting adventure, but a real educational trip as well.
7. Camp out under the stars
On top of the incredible river expeditions, another way for the kids and the teens to have a blast in Madagascar is by camping out under the stars. It’s a great combo of river canoeing in the day, rafting on the side, some hiking and walking, and an opportunity to meet locals, too. There’s also a great chance for the kids to see the unique landscapes, lovely flora and fauna, interesting rainforests and many other diverse landscapes that make up this unique country.
8. Sleep in the trees
Sleeping in treehouses is a classic kid’s fantasy. It never grows old, and it is a hit in Madagascar. So, don’t take the chance for them to experience sleeping in one of the many treehouse accommodations offered in many places in the country.
9. Go beachin’ at Nosy Be
A family trip to Madagascar with Kids is not just about wildlife and culture. Although most of your time will be spent on the road looking for lemurs, enjoying the jaw-dropping sceneries and landscapes, and appreciating mountains, Madagascar is also another “beachy” destination. It’s an island after all. Despite being the top beach destination in the country, Nosy Be remains low-key with beautiful beaches. The kids will enjoy not just the white sandy beaches but the turquoise waters that surround the island. There are watersports activities that the family can enjoy, too. There’s kiting, kayaking, diving, and snorkeling to name a few. Though relatively expensive, the island offers affordable luxury to traveling parents compared to similar destinations in the Indian ocean.
10. Don’t miss the Capital
If you are traveling to Madagascar with kids, it is impossible for you to miss its capital city of Antananarivo. So, whenever you land in the city, spend time to visit some of the city’s main attractions. To name a few, the Madagascan capital offers visitors the chance to see the Rova of Antananarivo, a royal palace complex and the century-old Ambohimanga, which is a walled complex that houses precolonial Madagascan homes.
This article is part of our popular series, Place To Go With Kids!