There's something magical about Madagascar. After it drifted away from Africa millions of years ago, a totally unique eco-system has blossomed on the island, which is now the sole home to about 5% of all known plant and animal species. You’ve only to step off the road and walk for five minutes into the undergrowth to grasp the full extent of this diversity. From the cute and cuddly to the weird and wonderful, you may encounter multicoloured frogs, camouflaged chameleons, leaf-tailed geckos and – Madagascar’s best-known residents – fluffy lemurs. Arrange a wildlife tour to see these charming species in their natural habitat. These remarkable creatures are spread throughout the island, which is divided by a soaring limestone plateau. The eastern side is characterised by humid rainforest, while drier deciduous forests are found in the western region of Menabe. It’s here you’ll find the distinctive baobab trees, which, with their giant trunks and flat branches, appear as though they are growing upside down. But the appeal of Madagascar does not solely rest within. You can also surf, sunbathe or go scuba diving along its palm-fringed coastline, go rock climbing in the western Tsingy de Bemaraha Reserve, or go whale-watching near the smaller island of Île Sainte-Marie. There’s a good range of accommodation options in Madagascar, from apartments and hotels, to inns and guesthouses. Most of these can be found in Antananarivo, the capital, and coastal towns.