Wildlife of Madagascar

Mention Madagascar to travel-hungry adventurers and it conjures up images of an exotic and remote landscape, home to some of the rarest creatures on the planet.

Lemur in Madagascar

Lemur in Madagascar

More than 80% of Madagascar’s plants and animals can’t be found anywhere else in the world.

Here’s a look at some of the rare animals you might see on the island.

1. Lemurs

Probably the most famous inhabitants are its 33 species of lemurs. All are endemic to the island, with scientists continuing to discover new species.

Some of the most well-known include:

 
  • Ring-tailed lemur – living in the southern and western dry forests of the island, these highly sociable creatures live in groups of up to 30 largely female dominated communities.
  • Sifakas – the ‘dancing’ lemurs found mainly in the dry forests of the West and South. They get their nickname from their dance-like movement, as they walk on hind legs while moving their arms about.
  • Dwarf lemur – small nocturnal lemurs found throughout Madagascar.
  • Aye-Aye – another nocturnal lemur that lives in the rainforests but is threatened by extinction due to deforestation and hunting.
  • Indri – living in the rainforests of the East coast, the Indri is the largest living lemur in the world. It has a distinct black and white coat, and an eerie sounding call.

2. Fossa

Fossa

Fossa

A large cat-like predator, there are very few of these creatures still in existence in Madagascar. The Fossa’s stealth and secretive habits make it difficult to track. But natural scientists believe its facing extinction due to the destruction of its habitat, and hunting by humans as it ventures into populated areas looking for food.

3. Birds

Of the 258 bird species found on Madagascar, some 115 are endemic. They can be found in parks and forests around the island, and include:

  • Madagascar Lovebird
  • Red tailed Vanga
  • Collared Night Jar
  • Marsh Owl
  • Sparrowhawk of Madagascar
  • Madagascar Wood Rail
  • Rufous headed Ground Roller

4. Chameleons

 

Over half of the world’s species of chameleons are found on Madagascar, including the recently discovered Furcifer Timoni.

Some of the smallest chameleons on the island are the Brookesia, measuring just over an inch. These tiny creatures live in the forest undergrowth across the island.

5. Amphibians

With more than 300 species of frogs on Madagascar, an amazing 99% are endemic to the island. Frogs are the only amphibians found here, there are many beautiful species including:

  • Mantella – who use their bright colours to scare off predators
  • Tomato Frog – brightly coloured frog that releases a sticky secretion to protect against larger predators
  • Mantidactylus – hides from predators using its heavily camouflaged skin.

6. Fish

Scorpion fish

Scorpion fish

The seas around Madagascar are brimming with fish. The area offers superb diving sites for all levels. Check out our article on the top 5 diving sites off Constance Lodge Tsarabanjina.

Where to stay?

If you’re looking for a place to escape from it all, Tsarabanjina is a by-word for laid-back luxury. Get the low-down on this beautiful island lodge – Spotlight on Lodge Tsarabanjina,Madagascar.

Send us your wildlife photos  

And if you’ve already travelled to Madagascar, we’d love to see your wildlife photos. You can post them to the Constance Facebook page.

Top dive sites in Mauritius

The warm waters surrounding the island of Mauritius make it an ideal year-round diving destination.

Fish in Indian Ocean

Underwater world of the Indian Ocean

Here’s a look at some of the top dive sites on the East and North West coasts of the island.

Belle Mare Plage

The dive school at Constance Belle Mare Plage caters for beginners right through to qualified divers.

Small numbers go out on the boat to the reef that’s a short distance off Belle Mare Plage, or the lagoon off Constance Le Prince Maurice.

Here, you can expect to see beautiful corals and large shoals of colourful fish. You may get a chance to see the rare stone fish, dolphins, guitar shark and turtles, as well as whales further out to sea during the winter months.

In addition to the incredible underwater creatures you’ll see, the service you get both diving and on board the boat is everything you’d expect from a 5* luxury hotel.

Ile Aux Cerfs

Scuba diver and shoal of fish

Incredible underwater world of diving

The tiny island of Ile Aux Cerfs is renowned for its sandy beaches and calm waters. The coral reef is beautiful and brimming with marine life.

You can arrange diving trips to the island either from your hotel, or once you arrive at Ile Aux Cerfs.

Grand Baie and Trou aux Biches

If you’ve already explored the East coast, and want to see more of the underwater world of Mauritius, head to the North West coast, where you’ll find some great dive sites including Whale Roc, Lost City, The Tube and Waterlilly.

Expect to see huge numbers of fish, corals, rays and sharks. There’s a wreck of a Japanese fishing boat at Stella Maru, just in front of the reef. Here, an abundance of sea life have made this their home over the last 15 years.

Share your dive experience

And if you’ve got photos from a diving experience in Mauritius, you can post them to our Constance Facebook page. We’d love to see them!

Top 5 diving sites at Tsarabanjina, Madagascar

If you’re looking for a tropical island escape, served up with some of the best diving in the world, up-the-ante and head to Constance Tsarabanjina off the North West coast of Madagascar.

Swimming with turtles, off Madagascar

Swimming with turtles at Tsarabanjina

Tsarabanjina is a by-word for laid-back luxury – it’s a place to hunker down and immerse yourself in the surrounding natural beauty.

The area offers superb diving sites for all levels. Currents can be strong at times but dive masters will always assess conditions.

Here’s a taste of what you can expect.

1. The 4 Frères

Four small volcanic islets are situated a 15 minute boat ride away from Tsarabanjina.

  • First Frère - offers a succession of slabs paving a gradual slope stretching between 5-18 metres deep. For divers of all levels, but the current could make things difficult for inexperienced divers at times. Here you’ll find great varieties of soft corals and sponges with dotted-blue rays, crayfish, groupers of all sizes, turtles and moray eels.
  • Second Frère - offers an impressive dip, descending some 27 metres and lined with big oysters and soft corals. Sea creatures include turtles, jack fish, king mackerel, yellow snappers and grunt fishes around slabs lying deep down at the bottom. Reserved for level 2 divers.
  • Fourth Frère – more slabs of all sizes lying on a 45° slope, going as deep as 25 metres. A refuge for huge shoals of yellow snappers, groupers, crocodile fishes, scorpion fishes and colourful corals. A great experience for divers of all levels.

2. The Tétons

Beautiful coral

Beautiful coral

Two small rocky peaks which peer out of the surface, close to the 4 Frères. Below the surface, you move through a labyrinth of slabs, corridors, and grottoes between 5-22 metres deep.

You’re likely to see huge groupers, crocodile and scorpion fish, and friendly platax fish. There’s also a very beautiful sponge garden. Accessible for divers of all levels.

3. Vatobe

A few minutes off Tsarabanjina, 2 underwater reefs on a sandy plateau at about 14 metres deep. It’s a descent in deep blue waters on a very colourful reef.

You’ll see an impressive shoal of yellow snappers, fusiliers, angel fishes, groupers, balloon fish, jack fish and crocodile fish. Accessible for divers of all levels.

4. Kassimo

Some 15 minutes north of Tsarabanjina, this is a long underwater barrier lying between 5-15 metres deep, covered with corals of extraordinary colours.

Diving in Madagascar

Diving in Madagascar

There’s rich and abundant fauna of snappers, diagramme voiliers, grunt fish, groupers, fusiliers, and enormous sting rays. Occasionally you’ll see a grey or white-dotted shark and a giant loach. Accessible for divers of all levels.

5. The 2 Soeurs

Two tiny islets facing Tsarabanjina, on a sandy plateau lying 10 metres deep. Here there are some beautiful potato-shaped corals inhabited by variegated fauna made up of grunt fish, snappers, fusiliers, groupers and angel fishes. An easy dive for all levels.