Must-do experiences to tick off your bucket list while in Madagascar

Swim with the world’s biggest fish

Between September and December, whale sharks, called marokintana in Malagasy, come to feed in the waters off the north-west coast of the island. Off Nosy Be, you can join the Madagascar Whale Shark Project and swim in the sea, surrounded by the world’s largest fish in their natural environment. The ones that come here are usually juveniles that can measure up to nine metres in length.

Hear the Aye-Aye call

The Aye-Aye is a rather strange lemur, with its squirrel’s tail, bat’s ears and rabbit’s teeth. Measuring 75 to 90cm, the Aye-Aye or Daubentonia madagascariensis is the world’s largest nocturnal primate. It lives in the coastal forests of Madagascar, notably in the north, in the montagne d’Ambre.

Find your own beach

White sand as far as you can sea, turquoise water and no one around? Sounds too good to be true? Not in Madagascar with its stunning secluded beaches and island escapes. The baie des Sakalava, baie des Pigeons, the baie des Dunes make up the Three Bays whch lie 20km or so from Diego-Suarez. A little piece of paradise, accessed by a coastal trail from Sakalava Bay, these are perfect spots to go astray with unspoilt shores, rich sea beds and turquoise waters.

Watch the sunset from Mont Passot

At 329m high, the mountain of Mont Passot gives a magnificent view over 10 of the 12 surrounding lakes, as well as a panoramic vista over Nosy Be, with the boats criss-crossing the sea. The mountain was named after Commander Passot.  There is track to hike up to the top with the view even more stunning at sunset. Other spots to take advantage of the magic of the sunset include  the ‘window’ of Isalo in the south, as well as Baobab Alley in Morondava.

Meet the largest lemur

The Indri Indri or Babakoto can only be observed in the tropical forests in the east of Madagascar, between Anosibe An’Ala and the nature reserve of Anjanaharibe. These short-tailed diurnal lemurs, the largest of all the lemurs, are vegetarian. They are well-known for the strident screams they give out in the mornings to mark out their territory. Their weight can reach from 7 to 10 kilos and they measure between 64 and 72cm in height. Coloured black and white, the, Indri Indri lives in groups of between two and five individuals.

Surf in Mahambo

The little village of Mahambo is a mecca for surfers. Thanks to its stunning waves, it is now considered to be Madagascar’s best surfing spot. The island’s first surfing school opened here in 2003. The perfect temperature of the sea and the regular waves create ideal conditions for unforgettable surf rides. In addition, the hot humid climate typical of the region contributes to its appeal. Snorkelling and big-game fishing are also popular here in Mahambo.

Watch the turtles hatch

Sea turtles can be seen along the coast of the Mozambique Channel. The two main species here are the hawksbill turtle - Eretmochelys imbricata - and the green turtle - Chelonia mydas. Between October and February, you can observe the eggs hatching from a distance (they are often in protected areas). At high tide, the baby turtles drag themselves along the sand as far as the water’s edge. Observe them at Nosy Sakatia, Nosy Iranja and Nosy Tanikely.