For almost 88 million years, the island of Madagascar has stood off the coast of Southeast Africa. From the tropical humid and dry forests of the interior, home to ring-tailed lemurs, to the mangrove ecosystems along the coast, the island is home to some of the most unusual and delicate ecosystems on Earth. Now for the first time, through our Trekker Loan partnership with conservation organization Blue Ventures and the Department of Water and Forests: University of Antananarivo, the Madagascar Ministry of Culture, and Madagascar National Parks, you can take a virtual journey to Madagascar with Street View in Google Maps.
Walking along the avenues of Western Madagascar, you’ll notice a stand of Baobab trees. Against the clear skies, these unusual trees look almost unfinished, with thick trunks and sparse canopies.
Avenue of Baobabs in Madagascar
For a bird’s-eye view of the island, stand along the edge of the Karambony cliffs. Looking out at the vast, wild landscape, you can see how many different worlds exist on this one island—from the vast mountain peaks to the streaming rivers flowing out into the Indian Ocean.
The cliffs of Karambony
Though beautiful scenery abounds in Madagascar, the country is also facing real challenges due to the increased demand placed on natural resources. While much of the plant and animal life has remained abundant over the centuries, this incredibly rare biodiversity is increasingly being fragmented by human activities. To shine a spotlight on ongoing conservation efforts, Blue Ventures collected imagery of some of the island’s most compelling scenery, including areas where effective conservation is increasingly critical to community livelihoods, climate change preparedness and for safeguarding biodiversity.
Now you can visit the Mangrove ecosystems along the North coast as well as go sailing on a pirogue 40km into the Mozambique Channel to see the remote Barren Isles archipelago, the largest community-managed marine conservation area in the Indian Ocean.
Mangrove ecosystems along the North Coast
Whether you want to explore the wild terrain of the island’s landscape or drift down the Sambirano river in a dug-out canoe, we invite you to virtually explore Madagascar’s spectacular biodiversity on Google Maps in clear resolution and detail.
And if this Street View tour has inspired you to set foot on the the world’s oldest island in person, take a peek at Camp Catta adventure resort, where it seems paradise awaits you beneath the rainbow; or take a look at Velondriake, where you can help make meaningful contributions towards conservation in Madagascar through a Blue Ventures expedition. earthtopomaps.com
Posted by Alex Starns, Street View Technical Program Manager earthtopomaps.com