Madagascar

Madagascar, off Africa’s eastern coast in the Indian Ocean, is the world’s fourth largest island and sits at the top of many nature lovers’ bucket list of places to visit on the planet. The combination of unique wildlife, stunning reefs and pristine beaches, fascinating culture, over 100 endemic bird species, delicious local cuisine, amazing scenic diversity, 750 species of endemic orchids, some of the best chocolate in the world and of course, the famous Lemurs, makes Madagascar an unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime experience.

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Following the breakup of the super-continent Gondwana, Madagascar split from the Indian peninsula around 88 million years ago, allowing the fauna and flora to evolve in relative isolation. Consequently, Madagascar is a biodiversity hotspot; over 90% of its wildlife is found nowhere else on earth! The island boasts a remarkable array of endemic flora, reptiles, frogs, birds and mammals, the famous Lemurs and two thirds of the world’s chameleons. This is the reason Madagascar has often been called an “alternate world” or “a world apart”, or even the “Eighth Continent”.

Geographically, Madagascar can be divided into five geographical regions: the east coast with its lowlands, the Tsaratanana Massif in the north, the central highlands with its prominent rift valley running north to south, the west coast that contains deep bays and well-protected harbours, and the southwest that contains the Mahafaly Plateau and the desert region. The Tsaratanana Massif region at the north end has the highest mountain on the island namely Mount Maromokotro, at 2,876 metres (9,436 ft) above sea level.

The diversity of Madagascar’s peoples, its incomparable natural beauty, its unbelievable fauna and flora and other major attractions will undeniably leave an indelible mark on each and every visitor for the rest of their lives.

The Nature Travel group of companies offer several different options for your perfect Madagascar tour. Our 13 day Wildlife Tour (starting on 17 September 2019) will highlight the absolute best of what this fascinating island country has to offer, while our 14 day Birding Tour (starting on 19 October 2019) will visit the south and east of Madagascar focusing on different types of habitat, especially the rainforests, wetlands and spine forests, in order to see as many of the endemic bird species as possible.

Visit www.naturetravelafrica.com or www.naturetravelexpeditions.com or www.naturetravelbirding.com for more information on these magical Madagascar tours, or enquire directly at info@naturetravelafrica.com

Liwonde National Park, Malawi

Located at the southern tip of Lake Malombe in the the African country of Malawi, Liwonde National Park is truly a national treasure worth experiencing.
While Malawi is not as well known for the big game as other African countries, Liwonde National Park, although only 220 sq miles (580 sq km) in size, is brimming with wildlife that is literally on your doorstep. It is a must-see attraction for anyone wishing to make the most of their time in the ‘Warm Heart of Africa’.

Liwonde National Park was proclaimed in 1973 after Chief Liwonde championed for its recognition as an area of importance for Malawian wildlife heritage. After many years of disarray, African Parks took over management of Liwonde in 2015. After restoring security to the park, they began to re-establish Liwonde’s predator population. Cheetahs were reintroduced in 2017, bringing the species back to the park after 100 years. A founder population of 10 lions was also reintroduced in 2018. Wildlife populations are on the rise, and so are the number of people who are coming to the park to witness the revival. The number of tourists has increased by 25 percent and revenue has increased by 70 percent since 2016. In just the last few years, Liwonde has been given a second chance and it is being restored and transformed for the benefit of the wildlife, and for the people who live here.
Game viewing in Liwonde is enhanced because the River Shire flows along its western border, allowing boat safaris as well as the usual ones on foot or in 4x4s. A 30-minute boat ride up the river will top your list of must-dos; it gives tourists a unique opportunity to see wildlife up close. Visitors who choose to stay at Mvuu Wilderness Lodge and Camp while visiting the park will find their lodgings right on the banks of a lagoon, where they will have prime viewing of animals such as Hippopotamus, Nile Crocodiles and African Elephants. While on safari in the park, other animals that tourists are lucky enough to encounter are Sable Antelope, Impala, Waterbuck, Reedbuck, Warthog, Kudu, Yellow Baboon, Pangolin, Leopard, and Vervet Monkeys.

DSCN0524-2.jpgLiwonde is also a bird lover’s paradise and reportedly has the best year-round bird watching in Central and Southern Africa. This is not only due to the sheer number of species found at the park, but also because “specials” such as Livingstone’s Flycatcher, Pel’s Fishing Owl, Spur-winged Lapwing, Lillian’s Lovebird and the rare Brown-breasted Barbet can easily be spotted. Other species that are often seen are Bohm’s Bee-eater, African Skimmer, Palm-nut Vulture, White-backed Night Heron and Dickinson’s Kestrel. Over 380 of Malawi’s 650 bird species can be seen in Liwonde National Park!

The landscape of Liwonde is highly diverse with dry Mopani woodlands covering the eastern half of the park interspersed with Candelabra trees. Areas of Miombo woodland can be found on a few hill slopes in the south and east, while Palm Savannah and Baobabs (one of Africa’s most well known and beloved trees) are found on the extensive floodplains of the river, which have a more tropical feel due to the dense vegetation along the river banks. This all make Liwonde National Park a photographer’s dream, and it’s not hard to understand how Liwonde has acquired such diversity in animal and bird life through conservation and restoration.

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Join us on a Nature Travel Africa safari in this wonderful park and the rest of Malawi!

Enquire at info@naturetravelafrica.com or visit www.naturetravelafrica.com for more information.