Madagascar. Island of beauty
There exists a corner of the planet where evolution, over millions of years, has created a spectacle: Madagascar. This continental island, the fourth largest in the world, is a valuable treasure trove with such a variety of plants and animals that it is considered to be a Noah’s Ark in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Twice the size of Italy, it has a unique ecosystem and immense wealth of biodiversity: 90% of its flora and fauna is endemic, and whoever wants to see 300 species of butterflies, 54 species of chameleons, or even 255 species of birds and 12,000 species of plants, must come here. To admire the natural and landscape beauty of the north-western part of the island, our adventure begins in Antananarivo, the capital. The city, located on a high plateau at almost 1,300 metres altitude, enjoys a fresh climate. The first protagonist of this trip is the sea, with all its wealth of wonderful stories and fascinating sights. Nosy Be is reached after a short flight from Tana. Best known for its white sandy beaches and coralline sea, this island offers resorts and ecolodges in the shade of towering palm trees, just a few steps from the water’s edge. From Mont Passot, little more than a hill overlooking the volcanic lakes that pierce the landscape of the island of Nosy Be, we visit farms with colonial houses that lie at the centre of acres of land cultivated with vanilla, pepper and ylang-ylang. Among the array of beautiful small islands that crown the archipelago of Nosy Be, we continue towards Nosy Saba, travelling 140 kilometres to reach the town of Antsohihy and board a speed boat. Along the sides of the road we pass villages and zebu, the local cattle with enormous horns. Nosy Saba is just 10 kilometres off the mainland and, in a small boat, we pass through mangrove trees and murky waters to where the bay opens up and large waves throw spray out from either side of the bow.