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Madagascar Wildlife Safaris

From breaching whales and egg cup sized lemurs, to curious chameleons and the strange cat-like carnivore known as the fossa, the breadth of the diversity of Madagascar animals cannot be overstated.

What to spot on a Madagascar adventure

Madagascar broke away from the supercontinent of Gondwanaland over 65 million years ago, drifting 400 kilometres into the Mozambique Channel to create an evolutionary bubble where flora and fauna could adapt and thrive; over 80% of Madagascar’s wildlife is endemic. Madagascar is home to over 13,000 plant species and 849 animal species, with 39 endemic genera of birds of its 115.


Unique to Madagascar, there are over 100 species of enchanting lemurs on the island. These prosimians, or pre-monkeys, have soft fur with bright eyes and vary in shape, colour, size, and character. The largest and most famous lemur species, the indri, has an eerie call that echoes throughout the misty forests of the Andasibe National Park, awakening travellers with a rush of excitement. The aye-aye on the other hand, is the world’s largest (and weirdest!) nocturnal primate and uses echolocation to locate food and much supernatural suspicion among the Malagasy people. The ring-tailed lemur is better known and easy to spot in the southern territories whilst the sprightly sifaka has a unique upright dancing technique. Found throughout Madagascar, the nimble nocturnal Mouse Lemur are the smallest of the primates, weighing just 30 grams and growing up to 100mm long.

Reptiles and Amphibians

The fourth largest island in the world is home to a variety of endemic and bizarre wildlife including a range of reptiles, such as chameleons. These vary in size from the enormous Parson’s chameleon to the world's tiniest, small enough to sit on your fingernail. Madagascar also plays host to some astonishing geckos such as the leaf-tailed gecko, which remains camouflaged until it opens its mouth to reveal a bright orange interior. The only amphibians found here are frogs, 99% of these are endemic, including the green-backed mantilla, similar to those found in South and Central America, a perfect example of wildlife filling the same niches as others elsewhere, whilst being totally unrelated. Amphibians and reptiles are more commonly seen during the rainier months of January to March.


Endemic to Madagascar, this intelligent, agile cat-like mammal has an extra-long tail that helps them balance and jump between branches. The rare fossa lives in remote, forested areas and is the island’s largest carnivore and an excellent hunter. With a short, dense, golden-tinged rich brown coat they are related to the Malagasy civet or mongoose and travel up to 16 miles a day.

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Madagascar is chameleon paradise, with over half of the world's chameleon species found here. Species like the Panther Chameleon and Parson's Chameleon are known for their vibrant colors and unique features.


Insects and spiders are here in abundance, from massive millipedes to beetles and the remarkable yet bizarre Giraffe Weevil. Male giraffe weevils’ necks are 2-3 times the size of females’, and they live in forests, spending almost their entire lives on the “giraffe beetle tree” and feeding on the leaves of that tree. Madagascar’s list of about 100,000 creepy crawlies is growing daily, including over 300 beautiful butterfly species.

Birds of Madagascar

Giant land birds such as the elephant bird may have been driven to extinction, but there is so much more in the way of incredible flora, fauna and birdlife to this magical island that has escaped interference from the outside world. Madagascar is a biodiversity hotspot and home to a remarkable array of unique and endemic bird species. Due to its isolation as an island for millions of years, Madagascar's avian fauna has evolved in splendid isolation, resulting in a high level of endemism.

  • The distinctive-looking Helmet Vanga, with its enormous arched blue bill, can be found in the lowland and lower montane rainforests of northeastern Madagascar.
  • The critically endangered Madagascar Fish Eagle is one of the most iconic birds of Madagascar. It is known for its striking appearance and is found near rivers and lakes.
  • The ground-dwelling Helmeted Guineafowl is a common sight in Madagascar and is often seen foraging in grasslands and savannas.
  • The striking Red-capped Coua with a red crown and vibrant plumage is part of the cuckoo family and is found in Madagascar's forests.
  • Known for its large size and impressive voice, the Greater Vasa Parrot is a common sight in Madagascar's forests.
  • The unusual Madagascar Cuckoo-Roller bird has a unique and distinctive appearance with its long tail and striking colors. It is found in forests and woodlands.
  • The secretive Madagascar Wood Rail is found in dense vegetation and wetlands and is known for its reddish-brown plumage.
  • This striking Madagascar Paradise Flycatcher has long tail feathers and is known for its elaborate courtship displays. It is found in forests and gardens.
  • This small Malagasy Kingfisher is known for its bright blue plumage and is often seen near freshwater habitats.
  • A subspecies of the common hoopoe, the Madagascar Hoopoe is known for its distinctive crest and can be found in various habitats.