Ephemeral Eden: How Eco-Tourism Could Save Madagascar

Culture Trip

With over 85% of the country’s forests already destroyed and 50% of the population living below the poverty line, the country which first inspired David Attenborough over five decades ago is on the verge of disappearing. The answer to this problem could perhaps be found in the curiosity that the island conjures.

Baobab Trees in Madagascar | © Bernard Gagnon / Wikimedia Commons

One of the oldest and largest of the world’s islands, most people have their first encounter with the island of Madagascar through the lens of its endemic flora and fauna, the older generation accompanied there by the mellifluous tones of David Attenborough, the younger by DreamWorks’ eponymous animated production. However, very little beyond the raw imaginings of a child could prepare you for this weird and wonderful country, separated from the rest of the world over 80 million years ago. Home to the treetop antics of the iconic Indris, and dotted with strange, almost-alien baobab trees, Madagascar is to the uninspired mind what cool water is to the parched throat.

Chameleon in Madagascar | © Hans Bernhard / Wikimedia Commons

It is perhaps no surprise then that Madagascar has several areas listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites, and is emerging as a hotspot for eco-tourism. Trekking holidays are becoming increasingly popular, with many wishing to experience the wild delights this country has to offer first-hand. Whether volunteering for conservation research, diving off the coasts of Andavadoaka, or exploring the rainforests of Atsinanana, the opportunities are endless.

Such eco-tourism is essential to the survival of this petit paradis, where illegal logging and an expanding farming industry are wreaking havoc upon the soil, turning this once fecund land to dust. At present, agriculture serves as the main source of employment for 80% of the population, but these processes are unsustainable and pose a serious threat to this precious ecosystem and indeed to the Malagasy people.

In a country where over 50% of the population live below the poverty line, eco-tourism could be the tipping-point to alleviate poverty, provide education, and divert people away away from the destructive practice of deforestation towards a more sustainable means of employment.

culture trip left arrow
 culture trip brand logo

Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

meet our Local Insider


women sitting on iceberg


2 years.


It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.


I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!

culture trip logo letter c
group posing for picture on iceberg
group posing for picture on iceberg

Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.

map of volcanic iceland trip destination points
culture trip brand logo
culture trip right arrow
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.