Top 10 highlights of Madagascar

The varied landscape and unique wildlife are undoubtedly the highlights of the vast and remote island of Madagascar.

Local Mitsio fishermen in Madagascar

Local Mitsio fishermen in Madagascar

Here you’ll find 32 different types of lemurs, all endemic to Madagascar and 250 bird species - 106 of which are only found on the island.

We’ve put together our must-see list of the island for a truly epic experience, with links to more useful information.

And, we want to know what you think – do you have an all-time favourite place in Madagascar that should have made it onto our list? Or photos you want to share? You can get in contact with us via Twitter, Facebook or the comments section below.

North Madagascar

1. Ankarana National Park

This national park is formed of a limestone massif with caves and canyons that have become home to many lemur and bird species.

2. Montagne d’Ambre National Park

This stunning landscape combines rainforest, volcanic massif and waterfalls. The park gets its name from the amber-coloured resin that drips from the trees here. You’ll find the crowned lemur, aye-aye, dwarf and rufous mouse lemurs. The reserve is also home to at least 11 species of chameleon including the tiny Brookesia minima.

3. Antsiranana

Gateway to both Montagne d’Ambre and Ankarana National Parks, Antsiranana is a brightly coloured port that retains a sense of its colonial past, with crumbling architecture and a deep water harbour.

Beachside villas at Constance Tsarabanjina, Madagascar

Beachside villa at Constance Tsarabanjina

4. Constance Tsarabanjina

Constance Tsarabanjina is situated in the Nosy Bé archipelago off the North-West coast. With unspoilt beaches and superb diving, Tsarabanjina offers a total get-away experience where barefoot luxury is the order of the day.  Hunker down or use it as a base for your Madagascan adventure.

East Madagascar

5. Ile Sainte Marie

This small tropical island sits off the east coast of Madagascar. The channel between the island and Madagascar is a great spot for whale watching as large groups of humpback whales come here to breed between July and October. Diving is also superb. Protected from sharks, the waters off Ile Sainte Marie are brimming with colourful corals and fish. Orchid lovers should head here in September, when the flowers are at their peak.

South West Madagascar

6. The Spiny Desert

Thorny trees make navigating this area very difficult for animals, and the wildlife here has had to adapt to survive in this hostile landscape. Visit the spiny desert and you’ll find the ring-tailed lemur, sifaka, Madagascar radiated tortoise and Grandidier’s mongoose.

7. Avenue of the Baobabs

Baobab trees in Madagascar

Baobab trees in Madagascar

Some of the tallest baobab trees are found along the avenue of trees near Morondava, a small beach town in the south west of Madagascar. Six of the world’s 8 baobab species are endemic to the island, and they can grow up to 30-40 metres.

8. Kirindy Reserve

This reserve is just north of Morondava. Madagascar’s dry tropical deciduous forest is under threat and this 10,000 hectare reserve offers a rare opportunity to immerse yourself in the landscape. Here you’ll find several species of lemur including the pygmy mouse and nocturnal lemurs, as well as reptiles and amphibians.

9. Ifaty

This popular, laid back beach resort is renowned for its long beaches, surfing and whale spotting sites. If you’re up for an adrenalin shot, there’s also the opportunity to dive with sharks.

Central Highlands

10. Antananarivo

The lively Malagasy capital is surrounded by hills and rice paddy fields. You can enjoy some buzzing local city life, and visit museums, botanical gardens, markets, churches and restaurants.

Water villas at Constance Le Prince Maurice, Mauritius

Constance Le Prince Maurice overwater villas

Constance Le Prince Maurice overwater villas

Constance Le Prince Maurice is our 5* hideaway on the north east coast of Mauritius. Reassuringly luxurious, it offers a heady mix of striking, big-scale architecture with an intimate and restful atmosphere.

Take a look at some photos of the overwater villas at Constance Le Prince Maurice on our Facebook page.

The eight water villas are perched along the edge of a natural fish reserve, offering tranquility and beautiful views across the lagoon. They each have private balconies, and are situated to the western edge of the resort offering fabulous views of the sunset.

All the villas and suites at Le Prince Maurice are exquisitely decorated with dark wood polished floors, seductive lighting, and beautiful green and purple fabrics. The bedrooms have been feng shui’d, and come with some of the comfiest beds you’ll ever sleep in.

Find out more from our Spotlight: Constance Le Prince Maurice, or take a look at the photos of the overwater villas on our Facebook page.

Scuba diving, dancing and jungle adventures – family fun Indian Ocean-style

Finding the perfect holiday destination once you have children can feel a bit daunting. You want a place where you can unwind but that still has enough going on to keep the minnows happy.

Family holidays at Constance Hotels Experience

Family holidays at Constance Hotels Experience

At Constance Hotels, we offer the space for families to enjoy some privacy together while having the reassuring luxury of our 5* service at your fingertips.

Private villas
Many of our family guests stay in our 2 or 3 bedroom villas that come with a kitchen, living room, outside dining area and private pool. Several of our villas have direct access to the beach. Each villa comes with a personal villa master who’ll make sure you have everything you need at all times.

Watersports and kids’ clubs
Children go crazy for the watersports on offer – Constance Belle Mare Plage in Mauritius offers a scuba diving experience in the heated swimming pool. You can take children out on a boat trip, have a go on a pedalo, or go crab hunting by torchlight.

Children's cookery classes at Constance Hotels Experience

Children's cookery classes at Constance Hotels Experience

If your children are hankering after slides and swings, our kids’ clubs for children aged 4-12 years offer play areas, as well as activities like cookery, dancing, painting, craft and games.

If you want to spend more time on the beach, our sand butlers will bring you drinks and snacks when you want them. Palm fringed parasols over comfy sun loungers provide plenty of shade, while the sea that gently laps the shore is paddle-friendly.

Jungle adventures
It’s also worth heading out to discover some of your Indian Ocean island – children love to play explorer and these islands are teeming with wildlife. Head to organised wilderness parks or if you’re up for an adventure, go for a hike to find rare plants and animals.

Turtle at Constance Lemuria, Seychelles

Turtle at Constance Lemuria, Seychelles

Time for lunch
After all that activity, food is in order and our menus of delicious freshly prepared meals include child-friendly dishes. Tropical fruit drinks and the all important ice-cream also feature.

Here’s some more family holiday inspiration:

Mauritius – top 10 ideas for a day on the water

The beautiful turquoise seas of the Indian Ocean are a big draw for most people who visit Mauritius.

Here are 10 great ways to spend the day on these sublime waters.

Diving in Mauritius

Diving in Mauritius

1. Diving and snorkelling
Undoubtedly, diving and snorkelling are on most people’s must-do list when they visit Mauritius, and it delivers in spades. There are some 23 dive centres on the island, including at Constance Belle Mare Plage and Constance Le Prince Maurice. Visibility is good – the best time of year for diving is October-April, although you can still dive in calm waters for the rest of the year.

2. Blue Bay Marine Park
On the South East tip of Mauritius sits Blue Bay Marine Park – one of the best spots on the island for snorkelling. This national park is home to 38 coral species and 72 fish species including wrasse, parrotfish, goatfish, damsel fish and eeltail catfish.

Waterskiing in Mauritius

Water skiing in Mauritius

3. Head out to Ile aux Cerfs
Rent a speedboat with an experienced skipper and head out to Ile aux Cerfs off the east coast of the island. This tiny island is renowned for its sandy beaches, beautiful lagoon and many watersport activities. Snorkel, swim or try your hand at water skiing before feasting at one of the island’s restaurants. Some speed boat tours can arrange a lobster BBQ on the beach.

4. Deep sea fishing
Mauritius is the ideal destination to try your hand at deep-sea fishing. Just 1km off the coast, the water measures 70m deep. Here you can expect to catch tuna, shark, barracuda, marlin and sailfish. Half day and full day trips are offered by operators – ask at your hotel for details.

 

5. Kitesurfing and kiteboarding
If you’re looking for a rush of adrenalin, this should hit the spot. There are various kitesurfing schools on Mauritius where you can pick up the basics before heading out to the surf. The warm water of the Indian Ocean is a great place to try your hand at this fast and exhilirating sport.

6. Surfing
The West coast of Mauritius, at Le Morne and Tamarin Bay, attracts surfers from around the world. If you’re a novice, there are several surf schools located here where you can give it a try. Waves can reach approximately 8 feet.

7. Sea kayaking
Glide across the water in your kayak, and visit Ile d’Ambre just off the North East coast. Tamarin on the West is also a good starting point for a kayak trip.

8. Catamaran cruises
What could be more luxurious than hiring your own catamaran and sailing out for lunch or a sunset cruise? If there aren’t enough of you to justify a private hire, jump on board a tour and you could visit Grand River North East Waterfalls, Ile aux Cerfs and Trou d’Eau Douce fishermen’s village among others.

Dolphins off the coast of Mauritius

Dolphins off the coast of Mauritius

9. Swimming with dolphins
Dolphins continue to inspire awe in anyone who swims with them. A pod of spinner dolphins regularly swim off the West coast, at Flic en Flac. Organised tours will take you out to where they play and some give you the option to swim with the dolphins, accompanied by experienced guides.

10. Undersea walk
Don the weird headgear, and you can walk freely underwater while fish swim around you. It’s a bit like snorkelling except you’re upright and no breathing exercises or techniques are required. Check at your hotel for details.

If you’re heading to Mauritius, get inspired with some of our other articles about the island:

The essence of the Constance Hotels Experience

Constance Hotels Experience resorts are elegant and beautifully proportioned, enveloping you in a luxury that’s relaxed and refined.

Lobby at Constance Le Prince Maurice, Mauritius

Lobby at Constance Le Prince Maurice, Mauritius

As you wander through one our resorts, you feel you’re experiencing luxury on every level. Everything is designed to offer the ultimate sensory experience as you take in the landscape, people, décor and food.

Luxury on a big scale

There’s nothing small scale about a Constance hotel. Bedrooms are beautifully proportioned – huge beds, pillows placed enticingly, enormous windows that take in the view. Bathrooms come with double sinks, massive baths, walk-in showers and perfect lighting.

Poolside view at Constance Ephelia, Seychelles

Poolside view at Constance Ephelia

At each resort you’ll find a choice of swimming pools, bars and restaurants – all offering a different atmosphere. Music gently rolls out – loud enough to create a vibe but not intrusive.

Culinary spirit

In the restaurants, Constance offers its guests a taste of the Constance culinary spirit. Dishes are beautifully prepared, often around one spice or key ingredient, and our sommeliers serve wines from around the world.

Snorkelling in the Maldives

Snorkelling in the Maldives

Spa, sport and island tours

You can spend your days relaxing by the pool, on the beach, trying out watersports and diving, golf or spa, tennis, fitness studio or take an island tour. Many activities are offered free of charge.

Constance staff

There’s something intuitive about the level of service that guests receive at a Constance hotel. There’s a warmth and generosity of spirit in the staff as they greet you. And as the days pass you awaken to a sense of belonging.

These are joy-filled places, designed to meet your every need. In that sense they are totally indulgent. But there’s a sincerity to them that takes the service and the experience to another level.

Find out more about some of our Constance hotels:

Top 10 beaches in Mauritius

Situated in the Indian Ocean, the island of Mauritius is surrounded by turquoise sea, flanked by hundreds of white sand beaches.

Here’s our list of the top 10 must-see beaches in Mauritius.

Grand Baie beach, Mauritius

Grand Baie beach, Mauritius

1. Grand Baie

On the sheltered north coast, Grand Baie is teeming with hotels, restaurants and shops. It may not be the quiet spot it once was but it’s definitely worth a visit and has a magnificent beach. You can enjoy watersports and deep sea fishing from here too.

2. Péreybère

One of the most popular places for swimming on the island is the northern beach of Péreybère. Popular at weekends with local Mauritians, the water is beautifully clear.

3. La Cuvette

Close to Péreybère is this gem of a beach. It’s a small, horse-shoe shaped beach with glass-like water. There are shady spots under the trees dotted along the top edge of the sand. Get here early at the weekend as it’s popular with local people.

Constance Belle Mare Plage, Mauritius

Constance Belle Mare Plage, Mauritius

4. Belle Mare Plage

On the peaceful East coast is the beach belonging to Constance Belle Mare Plage. This long stretch of beach gently curves around the bay, and faces directly out to the reef beyond. The water is calm for swimming. Catch amazing sunrises from here if you’re up early enough, and at night you can enjoy some fabulous star gazing.

5. Roche Noires

North of Belle Mare Plage along the East coast is the beach of Roche Noires. Black volcanic rocks line part of the water’s edge, wedged deep into a long stretch of white sand. Calm water makes it safe for swimming. The east coast gets the offshore winds in the winter, making it a good spot for sailing.

6. Blue Bay

In the south-east of the island, near the airport, is the well-known Blue Bay beach. Soft sand, clear calm water and shady spots make this beach very popular at the weekend. Further along the beach are some rocks, from where you can head into the water for some great snorkelling. 

Gris Gris beach, Mauritius

Gris Gris beach, Mauritius

7. Gris Gris

The south of the island is home to the most dramatic beaches on the island. Top of these is the breathtakingly beautiful Gris Gris. From the cliffs above you can look down to the wide stretch of sand below, and the large waves as they come pounding into the shore. It’s not safe to swim here but walk along the shell-filled beach and shoreline, and feel your spirit soar.

8. Pomponnette

Children playing on Pomponnette beach

Children playing on Pomponnette beach

Drive west along a winding road through small fishing villages with colourful houses, verdant vegetation and Hindu temples until you reach the long beach of Pomponnette. Untouristy and quiet, the water’s calmer here than at Gris Gris but still be careful when swimming.

9. Flic en Flac

This small village on the West coast is popular with tourists. You’ll find a growing hotel and restaurant trade, as well as dolphin watching tours. The white sand beach is popular at the weekend.

Surfers at Tamarin Bay

Surfers at Tamarin Bay

10. Tamarin

North  along the West coast is Tamarin bay. Tamarin isn’t protected by the reef, so the sea is rougher here than at Flic en Flac. But that makes it ideal for surfing, and long walks along the sand. The Tamarin river forms an estuary here, backed by mountains to the East.