Madagascar Landmarks and Monuments

(Madagascar, MG, Africa)

Avenue of the Baobabs photoMadagascar boasts over 100 classified monuments and landmarks, including a number which have achieved prestigious World Heritage status. Whilst many remain relatively uncared for, often unrestored and off-the-beaten track for visitors, others, such as those on Nosy Be Island, really are 'must-see' essentials.

It is not hard to let your imagination run away with you when you first take a glimpse of Ile Sainte Marie. A haven for pirates in the 17th century, a tropical vista of white sandy beaches and palm trees, and home to some rather beautiful buildings, you are likely to think you've landed in paradise. Other landmarks in Madagascar include both the Royal Hill of Ambohimanga and the Avenue of the Baobabs, while the lakes of Anosy, Itasy and Mantasoa also deserve mentioning in this category.

Further picture showing the Avenue of the Baobabs

Avenue of the Baobabs

Address: Morondava, Madagascar, MG, Africa
Impossible to miss, this distinctive row of baobab trees lines the road that runs near the western city of Morondava. The avenue comprises 12 trees to be exact, each around 30 metres / 98 feet high. Increasingly popular with tourists, attempts have recently been made to conserve the trees making up the Avenue of the Baobabs, which can live up to 800 years and store remarkable quantities of water within their trunks. Hang around for sunset and you will be rewarded with some stunning photographic opportunities.
Open hours: daily
Admission: free

Royal Hill of Ambohimanga image

Royal Hill of Ambohimanga

Address: Antananarivo, Madagascar, MG, Africa
Ambohimanga is a place of tremendous historic and religious significance for the Malagasy people. Located a short drive from the centre of Antananarivo, the palace was occupied by the royal Merina dynasty from at least the 16th century onwards. By the 19th century, the palace was being used as a royal weekend retreat. The importance of this archaeological site was finally recognised in 2001, when it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As well as being a ruined city and royal residential area, there are also several tombs and holy shrines on the site. Considering that every year pilgrims and tourists visit in their thousands, the site manages to retain a relatively tranquil atmosphere.
Open hours: daily
Admission: free

Lac Anosy view

Lac Anosy

Address: Lac Anosy, Antananarivo, Madagascar, MG, Africa
Lac Anosy is well-known in Madagascar, since it lies in the centre of its capital city, Antananarivo. Close to the Haute-Ville area, this lake is regularly frequented by egrets and surrounded by mature jacaranda trees. Linked to the shoreline by a narrow causeway is an island, where a simple WWI monument stands - named the Monument to the Dead (Monument aux Morts). The encircling pathways provide a very pleasant place to come for an afternoon stroll on a sunny day and many locals choose to do just that, hanging out here in large numbers at the weekend.
Open hours: daily
Admission: free

Lac Itasy photograph

Lac Itasy

Address: Lac Itasy, Ampefy, Madagascar, MG, Africa
Located some 120 km / 75 miles west of Antananarivo, Lake Itasy is the third-largest lake in the country, covering an area of roughly 11,000 acres / 4,450 hectares. Created by volcanic activity, Itasy's shores are dotted with hot springs and geysers. On the edge of Lake Itasy is a monument which marks the centre of Madagascar. There are also several waterfalls, including the Lily Waterfall, as well as lots of small caves and over 20 smaller crater lakes in the vicinity, such as Lac Andranotoraha and its legendary monster. The lake is an ideal haunt for fishermen, water sports enthusiasts and keen trekkers. However, swimming is not recommended here, partly due to the presence of crocodiles in the lake.
Open hours: daily
Admission: free

Lac Mantasoa shoreline view

Lac Mantasoa

Address: Lac Mantasoa, Mantasoa, Antananarivo, Madagascar, MG, Africa
Situated approximately 60 km / 37 miles to the east of Antananarivo is the huge man-made lake that is Lac Mantasoa. Encompassing about 4,950 acres / 2,000 hectares, this lake dates back to the 1830s and has become a popular spot for Antananarivo locals to visit at the weekend, coming here in their droves for its plentiful recreational activities, such as fishing and sailing. Several years prior to the flooding of the land, a large palace was built here for Queen Ranavalona I. However, the palace sadly now lives beneath the lake's surface.
Open hours: daily
Admission: free

Nosy Be Island beachfront picture

Nosy Be Island

Address: Nosy Be, Madagascar, MG, Africa
Today, Nosy Be Island is considered to be Madagascar's very own riviera, because of its beautiful beaches, long sunny days and fantastic scenery. Situated roughly 8 km / 5 miles off the north-western coast, historically, Nosy Be has been a haven for traders and settlers since the 15th century. The capital of the island, Hell-Ville, has a distinctly French feel. Other Nosy Be landmarks include waterfalls, rivers and unspoiled villages. Also of interest, this volcanic island is called home by the smallest frog and chameleon in existence, anywhere in the world, with further indigenous wildlife being concentrated within the Lokobe Reserve.
Open hours: daily
Admission: free

Ile Sainte Marie (Nosy Boraha) jetty photo

Ile Sainte Marie (Nosy Boraha)

Address: Ile Sainte Marie, Madagascar, MG, Africa
In the 17th century, Ile Sainte Marie was the centre of pirate activity in the Indian Ocean. Indeed, the remains of innumerable pirate ships are still thought to lie buried beneath the bays of Ile Sainte Marie. This narrow tropical island, with its palm tree-lined sandy beaches, unspoiled coves and verdant forests, has become a major haunt for tourists who are keen to get away from it all. Setting imagination aside, Ile Sainte Marie is a great place if you've come to Madagascar to relax, admire the local flora and fauna, or generally enjoy the tropical sunshine on offer. Apart from sunbathing, one of the most popular activities for visitors is whale watching, which takes place in the waters between the island and the mainland of Madagascar. Whale-watching excursions are at their most entertaining from the end of June to September.
Open hours: daily
Admission: free