Madagascar! - Michael Burke

Madagascar!

November 8, 2019

I suspect that many Americans’ impression of Madagascar is based on the Dreamworks animated movie of the same name. Beyond the desire to photograph lemurs, chameleons and some unique landscapes, I admit to planning our trip with a certain level of ignorance myself.

What we discovered during eleven days in Madagascar went far beyond animals and landscapes. An island nation of twenty-five million people, it is one of the poorest countries in the world, with a literacy rate of only 65%. One simply cannot escape the pervasive scenes of poverty. We passed village after village with no electricity, clean water, or sanitation. And the roads were the worst we’ve ever encountered in our years of travel.

Still, there is beauty there. The lemurs are every bit as cute as they seem. Then there are the chameleons, baobab trees, and the Great Tsingy, a vast formation of needle-like limestone rock unlike any I’ve ever seen.

And finding that beauty is the premise for my website—when traveling to some new (for me) part of the world, I try to capture the beautiful and awe-inspiring images unique to that place. Sometimes, it’s not as simple as I would hope, because doing so can appear to willfully ignore the hardships of living there. With our trip to Madagascar, the realization of how well off we are by comparison was humbling.

One of the things I love about travel in general is the opportunity for increased understanding, especially when visiting more remote places. It takes a healthy sense of adventure to travel to Madagascar, but the effort is worth it. They need to fix the roads before it becomes a popular travel destination, but I have hope for them. And I don’t want to discourage you from traveling there. Tourism is a great way to provide jobs in any country, especially one as poor as Madagascar.

To see more images from our visit to Madagascar, click here and then hit the Slideshow arrow for the best viewing experience. My short YouTube video about our trip will give you a quick overview of the magic that is Madagascar.

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