Located some 145 km east of Tana and world famous for its habituated Indri, Andasibe-Mantadia National Park is Madagascar’s most visited and most accessible park. It was formed in 1990 when Analamazaotra, better known by its French name Perinet, was combined with Mantadia 20 km to the north.
Andasibe-Mantadia National Park
In Andasibe the Indri is the largest of the lemurs, standing about a metre high. The long legs are extremely powerful and allow it to jump 10 m from tree to tree. It is not just its size but also its voice that makes this lemur stand out – it makes eerie, wailing sounds which can be heard up to 3 km away. There are 11 species of lemur in total in the park, plenty of insects and spiders and tenrecs can be found too; reptiles are a little rarer though if you are lucky you can spot the Parson’s chameleon – one of the largest in the world. It is also a great reserve for bird watching.
Mantadia is a little harder to explore. The trails are not as carefully constructed as they are in Andasibe; instead they are rugged and much harder work. Mantadia varies more in altitude still comprises virtually untouched primary forest and therefore has more species than its neighbour.
Masoala National Park
This is Madagascar’s largest National Park, yet also the least visited as reaching it is not easy and involves a 2 hours’ boat ride from Maroantsetra. Once there the rewards are great – large expanses of virgin rainforest, in some places stretching all the way down to the Bay of Antogil with its stunning golden beaches, where Humpback whales can be seen between June and September when they come to give birth or mate.
The rest of the wildlife is equally amazing – there are 10 species of lemurs, including the Red-ruffed lemur which can only be found here. Of the large number of reptiles the most commonly seen are the Panther chameleon, the Hooded chameleon and various species of Stumptailed chameleons. Frogs are abundant too, including the Tomato frog and the Greenbacked mantilla. For birders the park is a paradise and rare endemic species like the Madagascar serpent eagle and the Madagascar red owl can be found here.