Madagascar Unmasked


Experience the wilderness of Madagascar in this travel post by guest blogger, Nellie Huang of Nellie was Dabble’s featured blogger in Issue 5‘s I Dabble In… profile.

There are few places as remote and wild as Madagascar, and even fewer that offer such fulfilling and authentic travel experiences.


La Grand Isle (as it is known in French, meaning the big island) is like nowhere else on Earth: it is home to a unique group of endemic animals and plants which had evolved after the island’s separation from the African continent 165 million years ago. Only in this part of the world can you find cheeky lemurs, chameleons and ferocious fosas, as well as bizarre-looking baobab trees and spiny forests.


We experienced the wilderness of Madagascar–sleeping in the forest, watching lemurs and chameleons in their natural habitat and flowing down rivers on dugout canoes.


In the Kirindy forest, we saw the adorable grey mouse lemur upclose and personal and watched sifakas leap from one tree to another. At the Tsingy de Bemahara, we climbed sharp karst rock faces to get a awestriking view of the jungle from above. Back in the town of Belo-sur-Tsiribihina, we wandered through the colorful and bustling central market, taking in Malagasy culture. By the time we got to Morondava, we were thrilled to be feasting on cheap and delicious seafood at Chez Maggie.


Kicking back at the laidback, empty beach town of Ifaty, where the ocean and spiny forests surround us, I’m writing this from our thatched-roof beachfront bungalow at the gorgeous Hotel Le Paradisier–the sun is setting before me and the ocean is turning from a shade of deep blue to golden. I’m blessed to be here, and can’t wait to see what more surprises Madagascar has to offer.

Madagascar is an excellent place to get in touch with raw, unspoiled nature. Read more about the wildlife, nature and beautiful people of Madagascar on Nellie’s blog, Wild Junket.

Best Places for Cruising: Africa


More and more African ports open up each year to tourists. But the best one remains Cape Town. Visit a winery, a shanty town, a penguin colony or take the cable car up Table Mountain.


Make sure to purchase a hand-painted ostrich egg, which makes a great souvenir of your trip. If you have a chance during your cruise, go on safari but make sure you bring a camera with a good zoom and adjusts well to dusk and dawn shots.


The ultimate trip of all is Victoria Falls which can be done in 3-5 days as an overland tour. Victoria Falls borders Zambia and Zimbabwe, plus Botswana is close by if you want to check several countries off your bucket list.

Heather’s Cruise Line Pick: Silversea offers several shorter African voyages.

For more great places to cruise, check out Best Places for Cruising, Issue 4 Sept/Oct 2011.

Guest Post by Heather Visser