Located in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Mozambique in south-east Africa, Madagascar is the world's 4th largest island and slightly bigger than France. Separated from the African mainland for 165 million years, Madagascar has developed a wildlife all of its own. For example, the island has 70 species of lemur, found nowhere else on earth. The people too are different: believed to have arrived via Indian Ocean trade routes some 2000 years ago, they have a language like something from SE Asia and a set of beliefs that includes magic, taboo and supernatural powers. Variety is the island's great strength. From the central capital city of Antananarivo (Tana) to the town of Tulear in the south-west, there is a great deal to explore. Trek in the rainforest at Ranomafana, watch the sun rise at the summit of Peak Boby (2658m / 8720ft) and meet the local people as they work in the rice fields, with a backdrop of stately baobab trees.