2. Madagascar

Madagascar is an island of incredible contrasts. Lying off the east coast of Africa, it has a stunning coastline on the Indian Ocean where beaches are the epitome of tropical paradise. Inland, however, there are areas of virgin forest, massive rivers, desert plains, incredibly craggy mountains and forbidding plateaus. Covering 227,000 square miles, Madagascar is one of the most bio-diverse countries in the world, with not only an absence of the usual animals of Africa, but with a massive array of species of animal and plant life not found elsewhere – such as the lemurs.