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More Than Just Lemurs

LONDON, December 19, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --

Since David Attenborough excited the nation with his documentary on Madagascar in February 2011, demand for Madagascar holidays has increased, as clients look to follow his journey in search for lemurs. Here, Cox & Kings explains there's more to the country than just lemurs.

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Whale watching from Manafiafy Beach & Rainforest Lodge

It's possible to see the humped backs and flipping tails of the whales from the whale watching tower, situated just behind the beach, but on board a boat, you can get even closer, making for a thrilling experience.  Whales at Manafiafy can be seen from the beginning of June right up until late November, although the absolute best time is mid-August to mid-November.  Humpback whales can also be seen on Sainte Marie Island (mid-July to September) on the Madagascar's east coast.

Market day with the Antandroy Tribe

Spend a morning wandering around a local Antandroy market. It's colourful, buzzing and utterly authentic. Here tourists can freely meander around the stalls, followed by only a few well-meaning and curious eyes. Cassava, cattle, rubber shoes, medical supplies, plastic buckets and shiny football shirts are all on offer.

The carnivorous pitcher plant

The road from Fort Dauphin to Manafiafy is extremely bumpy but wonderfully scenic.  Amongst the local village life and the paddy fields are the pitcher plants, one of the most famous of the Malagasy orchids. There are at least two species of pitcher plants found in Madagascar. Pitcher plants trap their prey (insects) in the cavity of the so-called cup. Madagascar plants are probably even more unique than the animals.  Of the 12,000 plant species on the island about 80% are endemic.

Boating through the mangroves at Manafiafy

Dripping with Madagascar's unique vegetation and alive with the colourful endemic birds for which the country is well known, a peaceful boat ride through the Mangroves is another highlight of a trip to Madagascar.  The still water provided a perfect mirror to reflect the prolific 'Traveller's Palm', a tree which can be used as an emergency drinking supply because the sheaths of the stems hold rainwater.  The enormous paddle-shaped leaves are lined symmetrically in a distinctive fan shape.

The sacred forests of the Antandroy tribe

There are 18 tribes in Madagascar of which the Antandroy, located in the south, is regarded as one of the fiercest and most traditional.  Like all Malagasy, the Antandroy tribe is proud people steeped in traditions of ancestor worship and fady (taboos). When a member of the Antandroy dies the body is taken for burial in a predestined tomb deep in the heart of the sacred forest.  Some of the tombs are as big as 20m2 and each is individually decorated with something pertaining to the deceased's favourite activities or interests.  When the burial takes place the Zebu (African cattle) are slaughtered and their skulls decorate the tomb.  The more Zebu skulls on each tomb, the wealthier the person was.

Cox & Kings arranges escorted and private luxury holidays to more than 100 countries around the world.

NOTE TO EDITORS

Cox & Kings is the world's longest established travel company. Its history stretches back more than 250 years to 1758 when Richard Cox was appointed regimental agent to the Footguards (later the Grenadier Guards). The company's fortunes grew hand in hand with the British empire and by the early 20th century the company was acting as agent and banker throughout the armed forces and as a shipping agent. In 1922 Cox & Co merged with the Henry S King bank, which had strong connections with India. The bank became part of Lloyds and the shipping agency grew separately, evolving into the modern travel company.

Today, built on the high quality service and attention to detail established by Richard Cox in the 18th century, the company continues to flourish as an independent tour operator, with operations in London, the US, Japan, Australia and throughout India. Cox & Kings organises escorted small-group tours and private tailor-made travel in the Indian Subcontinent, Latin America, the Middle East, the Far East, Africa, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific, and the Caribbean.

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SOURCE Cox & Kings

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