09/11/2012 07:27 am ET Updated Nov 11, 2012

Madagascar's Real Animal Stars (PHOTOS)

Thanks to the animated movie Madagascar, this once obscure island nation off of Mozambique is climbing its way to the top of every globetrotter's bucket list. While the film's cast -- a lion, zebra, hippo and giraffe -- won the hearts of cinema-goers, these animals actually won't be seen on this island. With otherworldly creatures found nowhere else on the planet, the real stars of the show are the 70 different lemur species, color-changing chameleons and devilish looking geckos which make their homes in towering baobab trees, unearthly lunar deserts, tropical rainforests and on white sand beaches.

So unique that ecologists refer to it as the 8th continent, this isolated wonderland has yet to become the destination it should be and is only now truly opening up to tourism after years of unrest and inaccessibility. This means it is time to go and time to meet the island's exotic residents.

Wild Stars of the Real Madagascar