The island of Madagascar is enormous and the rather haphazard infrastructure of the domestic airlines means that you almost certainly will not have time to cover everything in one trip. For those on a more limited timeframe, the North has it all, wildlife, tsingy, and completely glorious beaches (arguably some of the best in the world).
Starting with the wildlife, The Amber Mountain National Park has a sensationally prehistoric feel to it. Humongous Jurassic ferns create a cool green canopy that you have to pick your way through. Thick wood vines drape themselves between the trees, some of which are 130ft high, and form a tangled climbing frame for the prolific lemur, chameleon and myriad of other wildlife species to make its way through the forest.
The tsingy are a curious product of nature. They are a formation of intricate rock pinnacles formed from erosion. The most famous is the Tsingy Rouges, so-called because they are made of laterite, an iron oxide-rich soil with an intense red-brick colour, which line a canyon, like an army of soldiers. Nor far from the Tsingy Rouges is also Ankarana National Park where the tsingy are grey and a far larger scale.
Beach-life in the North: The Mitsio Archipelago is jaw-droppingly beautiful and fits every stereotype of island paradise; white sand, crystal clear blue water and hardly a soul in sight. Tsarabanjina and Tsara Komba are two of the stand out hotels here. Further North and round to the East lies Miavana which is, without question, the most luxurious hotel in Madagascar. And finally, a little further south just off the west coast, sits the secluded peninsular of Anjajavy, home to another of the country’s most luxurious hotels, and the only Relais & Chateaux property on the island.