A jaw-dropping, wildlife-drenched hotspot, Madagascar is one of the most interesting places on earth and home to some of the weirdest and rarest animal species in existence.

The film Madagascar may have brought the island to the big screen, but seeing is believing, and with over 70 varieties of lemurs Madagascar is more colourful than even Hollywood captured.

As well as the famed furry creatures, the island is resting place of the elephant bird – the largest to ever hop about the planet, as well as a whole host of extraordinary creatures making it one of the world's most protected conservation areas. Golden sand beaches and towering palm trees hem the shoreline while the island’s rich botanical interior is resplendent in its variety, from grassy plateaux to volcanoes and opaque forests to stunning waterfalls.

Neatly divided by the Hauts Plateaux, the island is characterised by forested mountains along its eastern coastal strip while the west is mainly rolling plains.

A mix of influences provides telltale evidence of the Polynesian settlers, Arabic presence, Bantu tribes-folk and European arrivals of the past, all of which have culminated into a fascinating cultural blend to make one of the most unique holiday destinations in the world.

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