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Island Dreams: Canary Islands & Madagascar

Africa has a wildness in its beauty that captures your senses instantly. A continent destination filled with diversity, from endless and relentless deserts to small savannah oases, from stunning shores to its riveting, indigenous wildlife that we’ve seen featured in numerous documentaries. Africa also has some islands gracing its coast, that combine all the above as if miniature versions of the mainland, each with their own peculiarities that make them unique. To the west, Canary Islands, although belonging to Spain they are found on the northern coast of Africa. And to the east, the southern island of Madagascar, that is perhaps the richest of them all, found in the Indian Ocean.

These two must-see destinations, and the top three experiences plus tips in each that will give you a well-rounded…introduction to these majestic places.

A tropic reef and its marine life
A tropic reef and its marine life

 

Canary Islands

The fabulous sea shores, the rich marine life, the stunning reef formations, and the newest marine sculpting project making it Europe’s first Underwater Museum sound like a playground for adults who are thirsty for new experiences.

Diving and Snorkeling: Dive into the deep and feel the excitement of what it is like to swim in the Atlantic ocean. You can also arrange a diving school session that I would fully recommend especially for first timers: it is an unprecedented sense of balancing underwater, while gazing all around at the underwater harmony that surrounds you. For the less adventurous, snorkeling is highly recommended as the reefs are incredibly rich, and draw numerous aquatic creatures for you to observe.

The Corralejo beach
The Corralejo beach

Parque Natural de Corralejo: A town located in Fuerteventura island featuring the Corralejo beach one of the most amazing beach stretches in the island cluster with views of Lanzarote island opposite. Desert sand, volcanic rock and turquoise waters. The sand Dunes are the attraction of the Parque, and although it gets windy, the locals have found an ingenious solution to protect sunbathers from the wind. Tip: Shade is scarce so bring a large hat or shawl.

The Corralejo Dunes
The Corralejo Dunes

Masca Walk in Tenerife:  A small mountainous village 650m from sea level. It features the amazing Masca Gorge amidst the Macizo de Teno mountains. The walk is approx. 3 hours on a trail with Cypresses and Palm trees all around, and it is advised that you take a taxi to the top and make your walk downwards, to get to an alluring beach that will fully compensate you!
Tip: Bring appropriate shoes, wear sunscreen, and pack some water.

A view of the gorge of Masca during descent
A view of the gorge of Masca during descent

 

 

Madagascar

Madagascar is abundant in scenic views, of rainforests with rare species of flora and fauna, and gorgeous locations with pristine beauty. Generally, there is something magical about it. It could be a strong contender for an alternative honeymoon, if you are a bit of an explorer, too! Dubbed a biodiversity ‘hotspot’ by Conservation International, it was once a kingdom, then a French colony and now an independent state.

The amazing, photogenic Boabab trees
The amazing, photogenic Boabab trees

Baobab forest: A majestic forest of special Baobab trees that are in some cases 1000’s of years old. Considered a ‘sacred’ tree among Malagasy people, this ‘tree of life’ is used by humans for a multitude of purposes.
Tip: Visit during the sunset to get the most amazing shots!

A stunning lilac periwinkle
A stunning lilac periwinkle

Lokobe Nature Special Reserve: Discover the endemic plants and animals that are 90% specific to Madagascar and can be found nowhere else. There are not 2 or 3, but 103 species of Lemurs, while the beautiful periwinkle plant is used in drugs to treat leukemia. There is so much wildlife to see here, so be prepared to be looking around 360 degrees to see as much as possible: indigenous tortoises, chameleons, lizards and snakes!

A lemur mother and cub during siesta time at the Lokobe park
A lemur mother and cub during siesta time at the Lokobe park

Nosy Be Beach: Not far from the above mentioned park, you’ll find one of Madagascar’s alluring beaches, white ivory sand that forms peninsulas and shores that meet the sea left and right.

The breath-taking Nosy Be beach
The breath-taking Nosy Be beach

 

General tips
  • Don’t forget your mosquito repellent, as exploring the jungles and parks can lead to unwelcomed flying visitors spoiling your fun.
  • Bring some candy with you and offer it to the children who will come and try to get your attention. They also love posing with tourists!
  • Locals will often sell handmade necklaces made of shells of nuts, sea shells and flowers.

 

One convenient and comfortable way to visit these locations, is to sail around them and get the best experience possible with Variety Cruises. Get up-close and personal with all the hidden coves and shores that can only be accessed by sea anyway. They are also great destinations for winter holidays, so don’t make excuses: discover them on your next holiday!

 

A young Malagasy posing for tourists
A young Malagasy posing for tourists

 

 

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