Forest Bathing In Magical Madagascar

Life over the last couple of years has been anything but conventional, and many of us have begun to feel weary and troubled, overwhelmed by the swiftness of our days and the worries that seem to continue to mount.  

The good news is that there is one particularly powerful (and enjoyable!) way of cleansing yourself of the stressors of daily life.

“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity.” - John Muir 


Nature is a magical and enchanting aspect of life, and by implementing the practice known as ‘shinrin-yoku’ - or ‘forest bathing’ - by soaking yourself in nature, you can harness this alchemy to renew, refresh, and centre yourself as you step out into the forest green.  


Forest bathing has even more benefits than just feeling renewed, and has in fact shown to be beneficial to overall well-being. It can see you experiencing a decrease in stress, lowered blood pressure, improved immunity, reduced depression and anxiety, lower cortisol levels, and improved concentration and memory.  


In fact, certain elements of forest bathing can have wonderful preventative health benefits. The chemical phytoncides released by trees and plants may help support immunity, and the dappled light filtering through the trees can have a powerful impact on the parasympathetic nervous system.

“I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees.” – Henry David Thoreau

Forest Bathing 101  

Ready to feel the life force of the forest and rejuvenate your sense of self? Here are a few of our top tips for getting started… 

  • Location, location 

You can forest bathe anywhere and at any time, but try to find a green space that has good quality air, minimal man-made noise, and diverse flora for you to marvel at.  

  • Detox & disconnect 

Leave your devices and any distractions at home.  

  • A boer without a plan 

Try to walk slowly and aimlessly, following your senses and savouring the sounds, smells, and sights of nature. 

  • Real recognises real 

Take note of all that the area holds - the birds singing; the wind rustling through the trees; how the light touches the ground; the feel of the bark against your skin; and the taste of the air. 

  • Extend your time  

Should you feel that you would like to spend more time in nature but have circled around the forest one too many times, consider doing some yoga, Tai chi, meditation, and breathing exercises while in the space. 

Want to take your forest bathing to the next level?  

Madagascar is a world-class destination for soaking up the power of nature while discovering the phenomenally diverse and unique landscapes of the island - from limestone pinnacles and lush green rainforest to spiny deserts and impressive canyons. Talk about plenty of opportunities for natural immersion! 

Ancient Giants of the Forest 

Six out of the eight types of baobab trees are native to Madagascar, and have grown there for more than 2 800 years.  

Each of the tree species seems to have a myth attached to it. The baobab amoureux, for example, has a legend that states that there was once a special, deep, and true love between partners who could not marry as they were from two different villages. The couple prayed to be together, and the baobab amoureux grew, intertwined like two lovers, to represent the eternity of their love - which was never fruitful. Moreover, locals think that the baobabs look upside-down as the devil ripped them out of the ground and planted them back again.  

The most famous place to view these majestic giants is along the Avenue of the Baobabs outside Morondova which, in the past, held a dense forest of these ‘upside down’, red-toned trees, growing up into the sky - some about 150 feet tall. However, as a result of human encroachment, only a few trees remain standing - 25 huge Grandidier’s baobabs. Thus, this area acts as a significant space to reflect on our impact, and has been declared a natural monument under conservation. 

There are many other magical spaces to adventure to during your stay, each as diverse and alluring as the next.  

Here are a few of our favourites… 

Andasibe National Park 

Situated in the foothills of the eastern escarpment of Madagascar, Andasibe-Mantadia National Park oozes natural beauty, boasting untouched forest and almost all of the endemic species of the eastern rainforests. 

The park is most famous for its population of Indri lemurs, which are the largest living lemurs. It is also a sanctuary for bird life, serving as a home to 112 species. These, along with the 39 reptile species, 36 frog species, and other fascinating endemic mammals, make a visit to the park an absolute must for wildlife enthusiasts and forest bathers.  

Ankarana National Park 

This beautifully eroded limestone fortress comprises patches of dense tropical jungle, deciduous forest, deep caves and canyons, and rushing rivers. 

The park is especially popular amongst hikers, offering fantastic trails, unique and awe-inspiring landscapes, and an amazing array of animals. 

Ankarana explorers are usually most delighted by the fact that its dense forests are home to one of the largest and least disturbed lemur populations. Add almost 100 bird and 50 reptile species (including the world’s only known cave-dwelling crocodiles!) to the mix, and you’ve found yourself yet another natural paradise in Madagascar. 

Kirindy Forest 

Also known as the Swiss Forest, Kirindy lies on the west coast of Madagascar - about 60 km north of Morondava. It’s particularly wonderful for forest bathing thanks to the fact that it’s accessed via the Avenue of the Baobabs.  

Kirindy is also one of the best places to see some of Madagascar’s nocturnal fauna, like the fossa - Madagascar’s largest carnivore - and the endangered giant jumping rat.  

In 1994, the pygmy mouse lemur was also rediscovered here. At just 35 grams, it is the smallest of all primates, and attracts as much attention as the larger lemurs.

Want to experience the best of Madagascar but not sure where to start?  

Atelier Africa Safaris specialises in creating bespoke, luxury safaris in Madagascar (and throughout Africa). Their (truly) personal touch means that you can chat to them about your needs, preferences and bucket list, and they’ll see to it that you enjoy a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience - bringing you close to nature, wildlife and adventure, while guaranteeing that you stay in unparalleled comfort. Contact [email protected] to help you combine the best wildlife areas in Madagascar at the best times with the most amazing activities you can experience. Just say the word, and your entire trip will be planned to the very last (magical) details! For more information, visit

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