When to go whale watching in Madagascar

Every year between June and November more than 7,000 humpback whales migrate from the Antarctic to the waters of Madagascar to breed and calve.

Whale watching in Madagascar

Whale watching in Madagascar

During the mating season the male will put on dramatic displays of physical dominance and acrobatic stunts to vie for the attention of the females making for a truly awe-inspiring experience for spectators.

The government of Madagascar has put in place regulations to ensure that the whales are not disturbed or stressed by boats in the area. As a result most trips are hosted by experienced guides with a wealth of specialist knowledge.

One of the most amazing experiences for visiting whale watchers can be listening to the male’s unique whale song, one of the most complex vocal displays in the animal kingdom, via an on-board hydrophone.

Whale watching at Ile Ste Marie (June to September)

Situated on the Eastern shore of Madagascar this is an ideal place from which to watch the stunning mating rituals and calving of the whales.

Whale watching at Tsarabanjina/Nosy Be (August to November)

The migration through the waters off the North West coast of Madagascar is slightly later but you are still likely to see mothers with their calves and pods of whales showing off their breath-taking acrobatics.

Read more

 

 

Condé Nast Traveller describes Tsarabanjina as ‘everyone’s secret favourite’

Lisa Grainger explains the dual charm of Constance Tsarabanjina as both a luxury retreat and natural paradise in her article for the March edition of Condé Nast Traveller magazine.

Condé Nast Traveller describes Tsarabanjina as ‘everyone’s secret favourite’

Condé Nast Traveller describes Tsarabanjina as ‘everyone’s secret favourite’

She writes that the remote Madagascan island location with its hills and forests, two long beaches and only 25 wooden guest beach villas, make this the perfect place for guests to ‘live out their Robinson Crusoe fantasies’.

‘This is a no-shoes, no-news, hang-loose place,’ she says. ‘The air-conditioned thatched bandas, newly revamped by the island’s owners, Constance Hotels and Resorts, have all the basics – hot showers, capacious wardrobes, fridges with cold drinks – as well as outdoor banquettes and hammocks for afternoon snoozes, and fragrant coconut oil to drench sunburnt skin.’

While some guests spend their days relaxing in the sun on loungers or hammocks, others choose to get out to explore and experience some of the unique biodiversity of the island.

Grainger spent much of her time on Constance Tsarabanjina ‘fossil-hunting on the island’s fringe of weather-beaten, mineral-rich rocks, luminous with swirls of ochres and rusts, and cut through with black tongues of hardened lava’.

Another favourite pastime was diving the relatively unexplored waters around Tsarabanjina.

The vibrant coral reefs of Constance Tsarabanjina

The vibrant coral reefs of Constance Tsarabanjina

Grainger writes, ‘The underwater scenery is trippy in its theatricality, designed by a god inspired by Jackson Pollock and inhabited by hilariously overdressed creatures.’

Grainger also applauded the ‘simple but delicious’ food available in the restaurant at Tsarabanjina including fresh grilled seafood, handmade pastas and salads as well as drinks infused by the flavours of fresh local fruits.

Relax with the Cristal Package

Our Cristal package contributes to the laid-back vibe at Constance Tsarabanjina - from the moment you arrive you can relax knowing everything is taken care with all meals and a range of super-premium drinks included in the price.

To find out more about Constance Tsarabanjina or to make a booking visit our website: Constance Hotels and Resorts

Read more

 

 

Travel inspiration 2014: Madagascar

If you dream of a Robinson Crusoe-style island, deserted beaches, walks through landscapes unchanged for thousands of years and close encounters with rare wildlife then Madagascar should be top of your wish list this year.

Travel inspiration: Madagascar

Travel inspiration: Madagascar

Off the well-worn tourist trail, Madagascar remains a relatively untouched paradise with rich cultural traditions and landscapes teeming with unique biodiversity.

Madagascan landscapes

Spend time on the mainland and go trekking in the breathtaking national parks (including the dramatic UNESCO World Heritage Site, Bermaraha with its startling landscape of limestone needles) and visiting the country’s many vibrant bustling markets before heading to the beach for a little R&R.

Culinary traditions of Madagascar

In Madagascar even relaxation can feel like a cultural adventure with meals of fresh seafood still caught in the traditional way and prepared with the warm spices of the island in the same way it has been for hundreds of years.

At Constance Tsarabanjina guests will see local fishermen turning up on the beach to sell their catch to the hotel’s restaurant. Our chefs create delicious Madagascan dishes with an elegant twist.

Guests who want to immerse themselves in the island’s fishing heritage further can even take a trip on a pirogue (a traditional wooden fishing boat) and try Madagascan net fishing for themselves.

Bring home your catch and the chefs at the resort will prepare and cook it for you to enjoy in the evening.

Unique biodiversity of Madagascar

Of course, one of the main reasons people visit Madagascar is to encounter the unique biodiversity, more than 80 per cent of the flora and fauna here is not found anywhere else on Earth.

Landscapes range from tropical rainforest to spiny deserts, reefs, sea grass beds and mangrove forests. Species include the unique lemurs, endangered serpent eagle as well as rare chameleons and geckos.

Constance Tsarabanjina, Madagascar

Constance Tsarabanjina, Madagascar

4 Deserts race, Madagascar

This year Madagascar has been selected to host the Roving Race section of the 4 Deserts race, the world’s leading endurance footrace. In August around 250 runners from more than 40 countries will take on the island’s varied terrain racing over 250km in seven days.

Scuba diving in Madagascar

Once you’ve seen the sights on land dive in to the warm waters of the Indian Ocean and discover a submarine world still largely unexplored. The relatively recent growth of tourism in the region means that much of the ocean around the island has not been dived extensively before.

Off the coast of Tsarabanjina you can be among the first to discover vibrant coral reefs, stunning sponge gardens and a plethora of colourful marine life. The many dive sites include exciting tunnels, caves, overhangs, cliff-faces and beautiful reefs, providing something for divers of all levels.

Find out more

 

Constance Tsarabanjina named one of the 6 best hotels in the world by The Week

Weekly news magazine, The Week, has declared the private Madagascan island hotel Constance Tsarabanjina one of the six best hotels in the world.

Constance Tsarabanjina, declared one of the six best hotels in the world

Constance Tsarabanjina, declared one of the six best hotels in the world

The magazine rounded up reviews from UK newspapers and lifestyle magazines including Harpers Bazaar, Tatler and the Sunday Telegraph to select its top six.

The piece claims that Constance Tsarabanjina, Hôtel Le Bristol, Paris, a castle in Yorkshire and three others make up a ‘selection of the most exciting places to stay in 2014’.

Based on a review in Tatler magazine, The Week describes Constance Tsarabanjina as a ‘honeymoon haven’ and ‘barefoot luxury at its best’.

Read more

 

 

Barefoot adventures at Constance Tsarabanjina, Madagascar

Get a taste for the barefoot, laid back vibe that makes Constance Tsarabanjina a castaway paradise ripe for discovery, in this latest video.

Learn more

 

 

8 reasons why Madagascar should be on your bucket list

Still relatively undiscovered, Madagascar is a unique destination of warm sunshine, rich biodiversity, culture and stunning scenery.

Diving in Madagascar

Diving in Madagascar

Here are our top 8 reasons why Madagascar deserves a top spot on your bucket list.

Perfect ‘holiday’ temperatures all year round

With average temperatures of around 30ºC, warm clear waters and an average of 7.5 hours of sunshine a day, Madagascar is an ideal holiday destination. The cooler drier ‘winter’ season runs from May to October while the warmer, wetter ‘summer’ season runs from November to April.

Laid back luxury

Although still relatively unexplored by tourists, it is possible to find a splash of luxury in Madagascar. Enjoy the laidback charm of Constance Tsarabanjina with a vibe of barefoot relaxation blended with low-key luxury.

Chill out on a hammock slung outside your own secluded beach villa on the tiny private Madagascan island of Tsarabanjina. Watch the dazzling array of stars from your own furnished terrace or stroll barefoot down to the restaurant and enjoy traditional Malagasy food with a touch of Constance flair.

Combine luxury and exploration with a guided nature walk around the island by hotel staff.

Be the first to dive waters teeming with rare marine life

Diving is spectacular in Madagascar all year round, particularly around the Mitsio Archipelago, including the island of Tsarabanjina.

Much of the ocean here is previously unexplored making it a fresh new territory for divers.

Some of Madagascar’s most spectacular marine sightings include:

Relax in a hammock at Constance Tsarabanjina

Relax in a hammock at Constance Tsarabanjina

Humpback whales – the whales travel to the warm waters around Madagascar to breed from August to October creating an awe-inspiring spectacle and a rare treat for visitors

Sperm whales – experience the majesty of these magnificent creatures first-hand throughout July and August

Manta rays – see these graceful giants as they migrate through the warm waters of Madagascan waters from May to October

Whale sharks – swim with the gentle giants of the ocean from September through to December.

Explore a completely stunning landscape like nowhere else on earth

From rich rainforests to startling deserts sprinkled with rare, exotic wildlife a trip to Madagascar is like discovering a forgotten land. Pick your way through the granite needle forests of the UNESCO World Heritage site of Bermaraha or experience the other-worldliness of a forest of Baobab trees. There are 20 National Parks in Madagascar for visitors to explore on foot.

Savour the warm spice of Malagasy cuisine

With influences from many of the nations whose people settled here including Africa, South East Asia, the Middle East and France, Madagascan food is a rich, delicious mix of flavours. Local spices and herbs such as chillies, cloves, garlic, vanilla and black pepper are a feature of Malagasy cuisine as is the wide variety of freshly caught seafood and locally grown succulent fruits and vegetables.

Discover Madagascar’s unique wildlife

With around 80 per cent of Madagascar’s wildlife unique to the country, including 150 endemic mammal species, it’s a must-see destination for anyone interested in the gems of the natural world.

One of the most treasured sightings for many visitors to Madagascar are the 100+ lemur species found nowhere else on the planet. Visitors during October and November may even be lucky enough to see newly-born baby lemurs.

Join the party

The Malagasy Kingfisher

The Malagasy Kingfisher

Enjoy the hospitality of the Malagasy people at a range of year-round festivals. Highlights include:

Anniversary of the Republic – Celebrated on 30 December this is a key date in the festivities of Madagascar.

Alahamady Be, 11 – 12 March – Two days of music, dancing and feasting are all part of the program for the celebration of the Malagasy New Year.

Santabary Festival, end of April/beginning of May – A festival celebrating the first rice harvest of the year with events across the island including feasting, music and dancing.

Feria Oramena, June – a carnival-like celebration of one of the nation’s favourite seafood, Lobster.

Hiragasy, July – a traditional Malagasy cultural event involving a competition with five-themed entertainments including oratory, dance, music, drinking and eating.

Madajazzcar, 1 – 12 October – A 2 week jazz festival held in the country’s capital attracting famous jazz musicians from around the globe.

Witness the spectacular birds of Madagascar

For anyone interested in bird-watching Madagascar is a must-see destination with over 100 endemic bird species including fish eagles, jacana, ground rollers and paradise flycatchers, as well as a vast array of migratory birds.

September to mid-December is the breeding season when many species don their finest plumage to attract mates. There are a number of bird watching safaris on offer, usually including lemur sightings as part of the deal.