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Mad about Madagascar

This island may not be the first place you’d think of when planning a family holiday, but its many secrets — from weird insects and leaping lemurs to cave-dwelling crocs — will keep older children as captivated as their parents
Laugh out loud. The writer’s daughter, Flo, holds a rescued black-and-white ruffed lemur on Lemur Island, near Andasibe-Mantadia National Park

“ Don’t lean against the cave wall,” warns Simon, from the darkness. “There are spiders.” I’m not usually an arachnophobe and, besides, intriguing invertebrates have been a highlight of our trip so far; however, there’s something about our guide’s tone that suggests these particular spiders are not to be messed with.

The cave wall in question is immediately to my left and leaning against it had, until now, felt reassuring. Especially since one wrong step to my right would send me tumbling down a slippery slope towards an invisible underground river that is, apparently, home to the world’s only cave-dwelling crocodiles. But then I see one of the spiders. The span of its banded legs is wider than my palm, and its pedipalps are raised menacingly. I stop leaning.

Flo crosses a swing bridge over the tsingy at Ankarana.
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Botswana's secret zebra migration • Insider's tips on Cape Town • Madagascar for families • 10 Reasons to visit Mozambique • Wild Zambia • Conquering Mulanje • Sudan uncovered... and much more!
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