*Watch the first of a BBC series on Madagascar presented by David Attenborough*
Madagascar can be found off the south east coast of Africa and is the 4th largest island in the world, covering 226,658 square miles (about the size of Texas or France) with a population of 17.5 million. It was once a French Protectorate, leaving the legacy of French as one of the two languages spoken, the other being Malagasy. The capital city is Antananaviro (often just called Tana).
**PLEASE NOTE: Since August 2017 Madagascar has been experiencing an outbreak of pneumonic plague, if this is a concern then perhaps wait for another year!**
Madagascar offers a unique trail riding adventure holiday; tropical rain forest sits comfortably next to contrasting semi-arid plains. Life has not changed much here since medieval times. Ox cart or horseback holidays are the only ways to access much of this country.
Our inaugural riding holiday will take place in May 2009 with Christina Dodwell, the well known equestrian explorer and Wendy Hofstee, MD of Unicorn Trails. Both are fellows of the Royal Geographical Society and members of the Long Riders Guild. Future rides will follow the route to the geographical centre of Madagascar being pioneered in May. Riding starts in the rain forest for two days on willing thoroughbreds before switching to native local horses for the safari across the savannah. Madagascar is celebrated for its diversity of wildlife and different ecologies. This riding holiday gives riders the chance to appreciate the abundance of rare and exotic species many of which are only to be found here.
There are approximately 250,000 recorded species of plants and animals inhabiting a variety of climatic and floral zones varying from damp tropical rain forests to semi-arid deserts and some 600,000 hectares of mountainous, deeply ravined countryside. About 70% flora and fauna on Madagascar is found nowhere else on earth, including 3,000 species of butterfly. Many people may remember the books of Gerald Durrell which featured Madagascar. The central highlands separate the drier west from the wet east, and the south is semi arid. The North-east has a classically tropical climate and is covered in rainforests, that advance into magnificent coral reefs.
Madagascar is one of the poorest countries in the world and totally isolated from any outside influences unlike it's nearest neighbour Mozambique. It's island status has served to protect the flora and fauna, but equally, there is no trickle down effect of ideas or goods from neighbouring countries. Thus stepping 50 yards from a "road" immediately brings you back to medieval times, with ox carts, wooden ploughs and mud huts.
At Unicorn we group our holidays into several categories to help you find the rides that best suit your riding level and your requirements. Below we have listed the ride categories that you find on at least one horse riding holiday in Madagascar:
horse back safaris
trail riding holidays
singles horse back holidays
riding holiday for non rider
amazing adventures on horseback
Below is a list of African countries where we have rides. Just click on a link to view the relevant web pages:
horse riding holidays, horseback safaris, Africa:
horse riding holidays, horseback safaris - Botswana
horse riding holidays Ethiopia
horse riding holidays, horseback safaris - Kenya
horse riding holidays, horseback safaris - South Africa
horse riding holidays Morocco
horse riding holidays, horseback safaris - Mozambique
horse riding holidays, horseback safaris - Namibia
equestrian holidays Egypt
horse riding holidays, horseback safaris Tanzania
horse riding holidays Tunisia
horse riding holiday Madagascar