Eastern Madagascar is travel the way it used to be. There is a wildness here of primordial allure, from the misty mountains of Masoala, down the huge coastline with its pounding sea and overhanging palms, to the lush waterways of the Pangalanes Lakes. This part of the country is largely cut off from the rest, and from itself, by a degraded transportation network, including some roads out of an engineer’s nightmare. Travelling here requires a combination of plane, car, 4WD, dirt bike, scooter, pirogue (dugout canoe), ferry, cargo boat, taxi-brousse (bush taxi) and motorboat. This inaccessibility results in isolated communities and, for the traveller, a constant sense of coming upon undiscovered locales, including entire national parks. There’s no doubt it can be frustrating at times, but Eastern Madagascar produces more travellers' tales than anywhere else. If you value that, come here first.