Lonely Planet Writer

It only takes three minutes to be wowed by the beauty of Madagascar

Anyone seeking an unforgettable outdoor adventure in stunning surrounds should definitely consider Madagascar as their next getaway destination.

Located off the south-eastern coast of Africa, it’s the world’s fourth largest island, and boasts an incredibly diverse landscape. Over the course of your visit, you’ll go from picture-perfect beaches to lush rainforest, and even miles of spiny desert in the south. It’s a cultural melting-pot too, thanks to the waves of migrants who’ve called the island home over the years.

The coast of Madagascar
Madagascar is home to picture-perfect beaches. Photo by: Morten Rustad

A gorgeous new short has been released, which really captures the essence of this magical place. Shot by Norwegian photographer Morten Rustad, the film showcases the landscape, wildlife and relaxed pace unique to Madagascar. “I really enjoy going places where there’s not a whole lot of other tourists,” Morten tells Lonely Planet News. “That’s when I feel I can really connect with the people and nature. Madagascar is such a place. It’s not easy to travel there, but the rewards when you do are amazing.”

Boy tumbling on a beach
Morten enjoyed meeting the Malagasy people. Photo by: Morten Rustad

For Morten, it was the island’s rich diversity that captured his imagination. “It’s a country more beautiful than most others, with jungles, beaches, mountains and friendly people. I spent most of my time on the north-east side of the island. My favourite part was Masoala National Park, it’s one of the most biodiverse regions in the world, with many endemic species. It’s where all the animals in my film are from; lemurs, snakes, chameleon, birds and many others.”

Fishermen on the beach
Fishermen inspect their catch. Photo by: Morten Rustad

“The region is also a perfect place to see how Malagasy people live”, he continues. “The bigger cities are hectic, dirty and chaotic, while in the smaller villages, the pace was way more relaxed. For example, there are many small villages scattered throughout the rainforest, where people live their lives like they’ve always done – their small houses are situated at the most incredible beaches you can imagine. They enjoy a basic way of life; fishing, keeping livestock and growing  vanilla, canela, coffee and fruits.”