Madagascar uncovered

Madagascar offers visitors a world of adventure and discovery with its unique wildlife and stunning, diverse scenery.

The unique lemurs of Madagascar

The unique lemurs of Madagascar

Here are 5 things you may not know about this beautiful, mysterious island.

1. Lemurs are protected as they are considered reincarnations of ancestors

The Malagasy people are guided by fady or taboos passed down from generation to generation. One such fady protects the country’s lemurs as it is believed they are reincarnations of ancestors.

Read more about Wildlife of Madagascar.

2. The Malagasy word for eating is literally translated as ‘to eat rice’

Rice is the core staple at the heart of Malagasy cuisine so the Malagasy word mihinam-bary which means ‘to eat’ is literally translated as ‘to eat rice’. The culinary influences of settlers from Africa, Middle East, Asia and Europe have combined to form a national cuisine of rich flavours and warm spices with curries and dishes based around fish or ‘zebu’, a kind of African cattle.

Discover 5 unusual foods of Madagascar.

3. The first settlers of Madagascar were from Indonesia

Settlers from the Sunda Islands of Indonesia arrived on Madagascar by canoe around 350BC. They were joined 500 years later by settlers from Africa and then more from Asia and Europe, each bringing their own culture and cuisine which over time have combined to form the completely unique Malagasy culture and people.

Read more about the rich culture of Madagascar

Baobab Trees: a stunning and diverse landscape

Baobab Trees: a stunning and diverse landscape

4. Washing black pots in the rivers of Andringitra National Park is forbidden

Often described as one of Madagascar’s most scenic national parks with areas of deep valley rainforest, mountains and highland forest, Andringitra is also a sacred region where the washing of black pots or mourning clothes is forbidden.

Read about Top 5 walks in Madagascar

5. Prior to colonisation Madagascar was ruled by a queen

Queen Ranavalona III (1883-1897) followed in the footsteps of Queen Ranavalona I (1828-1861) in attempting to ward off foreign influence but in 1897 she was deposed by French colonialists. Visitors can explore the royal palace at Ambohimanga, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and see the queen’s quarters.

See more: Madagascar in photos

Read more

 

 

Madagascar in photos

Take a glimpse into a castaway world of secluded beaches, laidback Malagasy charm, rare wildlife and oceans teeming with colourful marine life.

Follow the diverse island coast

Follow the diverse island coast of Madascar

Soak up the Madagascan sun

Soak up the Madagascan sun

Traditional Malagasy transport

Traditional Malagasy transport

Experiences words can't describe

Experiences words can’t describe

Embrace the laid back charm of Madagascar

Embrace the laid back  Malagasy charm

Teeming with wildlife: the green chameleon

Teeming with wildlife: the green chameleon

The ring tailed lemur

The ring tailed lemur

The "Organ pipes' rock formation

The magnificent ‘organ pipes’ rock formation

The beautiful coastline of Constance Tsarabanjina

The beautiful coastline of Constance Tsarabanjina

The extraordinary avenue of baobabs

The extraordinary avenue of baobabs

Read more

 

Sunday Telegraph recommends escaping World Cup fever in Tsarabanjina

Escape the World Cup at Constance Tsarabanjina

Escape the World Cup at Constance Tsarabanjina

James Ellis advises The Sunday Telegraph readers looking to avoid the World Cup this summer to visit Constance Tsarabanjina.

In his article, ‘Escaping Wayne Rooney,’ Ellis recommends 10 holiday locations where guests can truly get away from it all including the private island of Tsarabanjina off the coast of Madagascar.

Ellis describes, ‘It is a WiFi, television-free zone; instead you have private verandas with hammocks, sugar-white beaches lapped by gin-blue waters and activities such as snorkelling, diving, sailing and waterskiing.’

Read more

 

Spotlight on Constance Tsarabanjina: Madagascar

It may only be a small, remote island off the northwest shore of Madagascar but Constance Tsarabanjina has become a by-word for barefoot chic among those seeking authentic Crusoe seclusion with a dash of luxury.

The castaway island of Constance Tsarabanjina, Madagascar

The castaway island of Constance Tsarabanjina, Madagascar

With perfect white sand beaches encircled by vibrant coral reefs, an interior of richly bio-diverse hills and forests, and just 25 palm-thatched villas spread over two beaches, Constance Tsarabanjina has all the ingredients for an idyllic holiday hideaway.

What the papers say

This perfect mixture of authentic castaway charm blended with discreet modern luxury has proved a popular combination.

Accolades in recent months have included awards from Tatler for Best Barefoot Adventure 2014, Harper’s Bazaar – who declared it best for a secluded honeymoon – and Condé Nast Traveller whose reviewer Jenny Zarins, described it:

‘This is a no-shoes, no-news, hang-loose place. 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.’

From desert island to exclusive resort

Before 1990 Tsarabanjina was completely uninhabited. The island was then only known to neighbouring islanders as the location of the tombs of their Sakalava kings (the tombs still exist today, a protected spot on the east of the island where Mitsio islanders come to bring offerings).

But in 1990 things began to change for Tsarabanjina when South African adventurer Richard Walker came to the island and fell in love with the place.

In a bid to protect the stunning unspoilt beauty of the island, Walker bought it and built a small resort of 8 bungalows so others could share the unique experience of Tsarabanjina.

A multi-million pound renovation

In 2006 he passed the mantel of protector of his beloved island on to us at Constance and in 2013 we undertook the delicate process of renovating the resort while carefully retaining its authentic castaway appeal and environmental considerations.

Beach Villas draped in Malagasy charm

Beach Villas draped in Malagasy charm

The first decision we made as part of the multi-million pound makeover was to ensure that in rebuilding the 25 beach villas to include modern luxuries such as air conditioning and spacious bathrooms, they still retained their rustic Malagasy charm.

We worked with architects who understood local Malagasy design and the importance of using sustainable local materials from the mainland.

We then employed local tradespeople with a tradition of Malagasy construction techniques and local craftsmen specialising in traditional weaving, art and sculpture to create items to decorate the villas.

In supporting the local Malagasy trades we are upholding traditions in building and crafts that have been handed down from generation to generation.

A boutique hotel with laidback Malagasy charm

The result – simple, stylish rosewood villas with traditional palm-thatching, large comfortable terraces, decorated with Madagascan art and sculptures inspired by the island itself.

In keeping with the laidback vibe of the island, each villa has its own private hammock slung by the trees surrounding the villa and its own sandy path leading down to the beach.

While the idyllic setting of crystal waters and lush, verdant interior have always been an important part of Tsarabanjina’s appeal, we believe that the special charm of the place comes from its people too.

At Tsarabanjina there is no dress code, shoes can be kicked off on arrival and put away for the duration of your holiday and the service is friendly and relaxed.

Time for a digital detox

Guests tired of the hustle and bustle of modern life can seize the opportunity on Tsarabanjina to undergo a digital detox.

With WiFi only available in the main building you can leave your phones and modern technology in your suitcase and begin to move at the slower pace of island life.

Creating unique, fresh dishes for all our guests

Creating unique, fresh dishes for all our guests

Traditional Malagasy cuisine

Even dining is a laidback island affair with seafood caught by local fishermen and delivered by fishing boat to the shore in front of Tsarabanjina’s only restaurant.

The fishermen of Mitsio, the only other inhabited island in the Mitsio Archipelago, still fish the same way their ancestors have for many generations.

Using hollowed out wooden boats called pirogues, they cast their nets over the water and only when they’re satisfied with their catch do they travel the 3 or 4 hours to Tsarabanjina to hand over their catch to our chefs.

Our local chefs create a unique menu based around what the fishermen have caught together with the fresh fruit and vegetables they were able to find that day in the market at Nosy Be.

Using local herbs and spices to create dishes of warm curries, grilled fish and other delicious treats, our chefs understand the delicate blend of Southeast Asian, African, European and Chinese flavours which go into creating sumptuous Madagascan cuisine.

Explore the underwater ocean life

Guests are even encouraged to try their hand at fishing the local waters themselves from a traditional pirogue. In true island style, whatever you catch can then be handed over to the chefs to prepare Malagasy-style for your dinner that night.

Those searching for a little more high-octane excitement can pit their wits against the giant sports fish that call the waters around Tsarabanjina home.

Marlins, giant trevally, yellowfin and dogtooth tuna, wahoos and sailfish can all be caught in our waters making the area a Mecca for sports fishermen.

The other ocean pastime which continues to bring visitors to our shores is the opportunity to dive in waters still largely unexplored by scuba divers. One of the last accessible places where you can discover virgin reefs rarely dived before, sponge gardens few but you have ever seen.

The waters around Tsarabanjina offer a rich variety of dive sites for scuba divers of all levels from beginners exploring the house reef to more experienced divers swimming through the tunnels at the Tétons.

The unique bird life of Madagascar

The unique bird life of Madagascar

The rich biodiversity of Madagascar

Of course nature lovers have always been drawn to the appeal of Madagascar with its famously unique biodiversity, a trait Tsarabanjina shares with the mainland.

Walk around the island and you’ll discover Madagascar’s famous Traveller’s Palm, the Pachypodium and a wide variety of birds including the dazzling fody bird, the beautiful long-tailed Madagscan flycatcher (the emblem of the island) and fish eagles. Biologists even claim to have found the world’s smallest chameleon species on Tsarabanjina.

Our staff share our passion for the island and are happy to give guided nature walks with an explanation of the local flora and fauna to interested guests.

Bird enthusiasts can take a boat ride to the neighbouring Quatre Frère, a series of rocks in the ocean which are home to a rich colony of seabirds including northern gannets, frigate birds and white-tailed tropic birds.

Don’t forget to take your snorkel and discover the plethora of marine life living in the reefs below the waves.

A dash of luxury Crusoe wouldn’t have had

Of course we wouldn’t be a favourite exclusive retreat without a little hint of luxury but on Tsarabanjina luxury is delivered in unique laidback style. So our massage room is a rustic beach villa with a stunning outdoor shower hewn into the rock of the island itself.

Or if you prefer you can have a massage on the beach as you watch the sun set over the Indian Ocean.

The question of how the tiny island of Tsarabanjina became one of the world’s most desirable hotels is difficult to answer. It has a lot to do with the beauty of the island itself, a little to do with the luxury we were able to add, but most of all, it’s down to the spirit of the island itself, a spirit of laidback charm, slow island living and warm welcomes.

Read more

 

3 amazing locations for weddings in the Indian Ocean

Weddings in the Indian Ocean - will Madagascar be your dream location?

Weddings in the Indian Ocean – will Madagascar be your dream location?

1. Madagascar – Best for barefoot weddings

If you dream of an Indian Ocean wedding off the well-worn tourist trail then look no further than Madagascar. A country of stunning, unique landscapes where discovery and adventure are still possible, the island of Madagascar offers beautiful beaches, laidback Malagasy people and an authentic island charm.

Where to stay

Add a touch of luxury to your Madagascan wedding and stay at Constance Tsarabanjina. A private island off the coast of Madagascar with just 25 wooden villas along its unspoilt beaches, Tsarabanjina epitomises barefoot charm. Let the friendly staff take care of all the wedding arrangements while you enjoy unwinding in a hammock or receiving a beachside massage. Spend the evening sipping cocktails with friends or dining alone on the rocks above the ocean.

Experience the Seychelles as man & wife

Experience the Seychelles as man & wife

2. Seychelles – Best for super luxe weddings

From Prince William and Kate to David and Victoria Beckham, the Seychelles has long been the destination of choice for the über-rich. Its romantic seclusion, perfect beaches, pristine oceans and long-standing tradition of high-end and discrete hospitality make it the perfect choice for a super luxe wedding.

Where to stay

Nestled on the northern tip of one of the most beautiful islands in the Seychelles is the 5* luxury hotel Constance Lémuria. A member of the Leading Hotels of the World group, Lémuria is as much about its impeccable, friendly service as its spacious luxury accommodation, stunning, lush setting and elegant fine dining. The hotel also has its own luxury Spa de Constance and Shiseido Spa for pre-wedding treatments, an 18-hole golf course and a Presidential Villa with its own private beach.

An adventure for the whole family at Constance Belle Mare Plage, Mauritius

An adventure for the whole family at Constance Belle Mare Plage, Mauritius

3. Mauritius – Best for Kids-come-too weddings

There is so much for kids of all ages to do in Mauritius from water parks and ziplines to feeding giant tortoises that your wedding trip will become an adventure for the whole family. Gentle seas make swimming and exploration below the waves suitable for all ages while older kids can take advantage of the raft of water sports available on the island.

Where to stay

The family-friendly resort of Constance Belle Mare Plage offers spacious family accommodation with interconnecting rooms or private villas with pools. The complimentary Constance Kids’ Club is open daily to keep 4-11 year olds happy. For younger children there is a babysitting service and older kids can enjoy water skiing and windsurfing to Hobie Cat sailing and quad biking. All of which leaves you and your partner time to enjoy this special holiday with walks on white sand beaches, couple’s spa treatments or the simple joy of a meal shared without interruption.

Find out more:

Read more

 

5 things you need to know about luxury all-inclusive holidays

When you book a 5* luxury all-inclusive holiday with us all-inclusive really does mean all-inclusive, so you can relax knowing everything is taken care of.

Luxury all-inclusive holidays at Constance

Luxury all-inclusive holidays at Constance

Here’s our guide to 5 things you need to know about luxury all-inclusive holidays at Constance Tsarabanjina, Madagascar and Constance Moofushi, Maldives.

1. Relax, everything really is included

At Constance Moofushi, Maldives and Constance Tsarabanjina, Madagascar our Cristal Package is designed to give you the luxury holiday experience you want within one price. No hidden extras. So you can relax and experience these stunning Indian Island destinations in your own way.

2. All-inclusive luxury doesn’t mean scrimping on food and drink

With our Cristal package you can enjoy relaxed freshly prepared breakfasts, delicious light lunches by the beach and sumptuous dinners lovingly prepared by our world-class chefs. After a long day in the sun, enjoy afternoon tea or a wide range of super premium branded spirits and international beers at our bars.

3. Make yourself at home and enjoy the in-villa extras

Chill out in the luxury of your own beach or water villa and enjoy wine, beer, soft drinks and even chocolate from your mini-bar with no extra charge. The mini-bars are refilled daily so you can make a glass of wine on your terrace part of your daily routine.

Beach villas at Constance Tsarabanjina, Madagascar

Beach villas at Constance Tsarabanjina, Madagascar

4. At Moofushi ‘all-inclusive’ extends to in-villa entertainment

While the Robinson Crusoe-style retreat of Tsarabanjina offers guests a digital detox (with the exception of the lobby) at Moofushi guests get free tech as part of the deal. Select from a wide range of movies through our Mac-mini system, surf the internet with free Wi-Fi, either on your own device or through your in-villa TV, or play music on the villa iPod docking station.

5. You can explore your exotic location at no extra cost

Borrow a catamaran, take a sunset cruise or take a guided nature walk around the beautiful island of Tsarabanjina all included in the price. At Moofushi you can take a trip on a traditional Maldivian dhoni boat and enjoy a ‘bodu meru’ Maldivian evening once a week. Both resorts offer free snorkelling equipment and group snorkelling excursions.

Read more