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.

Top 5 beach beauty-bag essentials

Beauty products

Beauty products

Here’s our beach beauty hot list for head-to-toe fabulousness this summer.

1.  Bobbi Brown Beach Sunscreen SPF 15

Bobbi Brown’s Beach range is hugely popular for its light fragrance, reminiscent of the sand and sea. Recommended by The Sunday Times Style magazine, this lightweight, non-greasy water-resistant sunscreen contains Vitamin E and a blend of Grapeseed, Olive and Castor Oils. Grab it while you can. £18. Find out more about Bobbi Brown Beach Sunscreen SPF 15.

2. Clinique After Sun Rescue Balm

According to London’s Evening Standard magazine, Clinique’s after sun has the last word on minimising redness and preventing peeling. You just need a tiny amount to soothe your skin after a day on the beach. £17.50. Find out more about Clinique After Sun Rescue Balm.

Kiehl's Lip Balm #1

Kiehl's Lip Balm #1

3. Kiehl’s Lip Balm #1

One of the best lip balms on the market. A beach must-pack for Emma Smith, ELLE and ELLEuk.com Beauty Director, Kiehl’s lip balm soothes sunburnt lips. £9.50. Find out more about Kiehl’s Lip Balm #1.

4. This Works Perfect Legs Skin Miracle

Great name, great product. Red magazine hails this as a wonder product that lives up to its name. It should give your skin an instant glow, and help improve your skintone long after you’ve come home from the beach. £36. Find out more about This Works Perfect Legs Skin Miracle.

5. Indigo eyeshadows

When it comes to eyeshadow, blue is the hit colour of S/S 11. Blue eyeshadow has shed its 80s image, and the fashion pack are working it with their tan this summer. Stylist magazine dedicated its ‘Trends on trial’ to blue eyeshadow recently. Try Bourjois Smoky Eyes in Bleu Jeans (£7.99).

Long Stay Special Offer at Le Prince Maurice

Planning your dream honeymoon or perfect holiday with Constance? If you stay at

Constance Le Prince Maurice overwater villas

Constance Le Prince Maurice overwater villas

Constance Le Prince Maurice for 7 nights or more you will get a 15% discount on your stay.

Book the holiday of a lifetime with us today.

Package includes:

- Daily breakfast and dinner for adult and children

This special offer isn’t compatible with any of our other offers. Valid until October 10th 2011.

Find out more about this long stay discount offer, along with terms and conditions.

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:

Weekly round-up, 15-21 August 2011

Legends golf course at Constance Belle Mare Plage

Legends golf course at Constance Belle Mare Plage

This weekly feature offers a roundup of the content on our blog from the past week, in case you missed anything.

Split into categories, it’s another way for you to easily find the posts of value to you.

This week we’ve got championship golf, recipes, beauty tips, expert advice on travel apps and more.

Events

PGA Championship 2011

Keegan Bradley won this week’s 2011 PGA Championship. Catch up on the golf action with our roundup.

Culinary

Recipe: Chilled tomato and green papaya soup with cucumber-coriander salsa

Want to create some of our chefs’ amazing dishes yourself at home? Every Friday, we post some of the most amazing, delicious and popular recipes online.

Blue breakfast at Constance Moofushi

Constance Moofushi offers the ultimate in laid-back beach chic. Their blue breakfast is inspired by the turquoise waters surrounding this Maldivian Jewel Island.

Insider tips

Top 5 travel apps

No matter whether you’re heading to the open road or 5 star luxury, these are the top 5 travel apps you can’t leave home without.

Spa and sport

Enjoy a natural facelift with our nutmeg facial massage

If you’re feeling jet-lagged and less than radiant upon arrival at Constance Le Prince Maurice, head to Spa de Constance for this amazing facial treatment.

Inspiration

Mauritius – Top 10 ideas for a day on the water

Here are 10 great ways to discover the sublime waters of the Indian Ocean.