This very beautiful rainforest reserve is an alternative to Marojejy National Park, and is part of the same great rainforest area in the SAVA region of north-eastern Madagascar. For adventurous travellers with a reasonable level of fitness who want to experience something new and well off the beaten trail, this is a tantalizing option. Key species include Indri (these are much darker than those at Andasibe); the critically endangered Silky sifaka and Fosa.
The nearest airport is Sambava, on the 'vanilla coast'. Depart from Sambava early in the morning (04h00) for the drive along a good, tarmac road to Andapa, where you have breakfast. From Andapa,drive about 90 minutes along a bumpy road to Andasibe Mahaverika, and then walk 2 hours to Befingotra village. From Befingotra, another 3 hours walk will take you to Camp Indri. (To reduce the hiking, motorcycle taxi rides can be arranged). As is the case with Marojejy, porters are very helpful and they may be hired at Befingotra village.
Camp Indri lies at 900 meters above sea level, and is a rustic, new, fully- equipped camp completed in 2016 by our friends at the Lemur Conservation Foundation. Camp Indri has a loo and shower buildings, covered dining area, 4 covered tent shelters, a covered picnic table, running water and a storage building with all cooking supplies. Tents and sleeping pads are suplied but guests need to bring sleeping bags. (We can provide these on request).
Lemur-watchers would want to see one of the groups of Indri which inhabit the area near the camp. Also there, is one of the groups of Silky sifaka. Fosa have been photographed with camera traps. Hikes along Anjanaharibe Sud's trail network vary from fairly easy. to challenging. Given that it takes a day to reach Camp Indri, we recommend a 3 night stay in the park. (We will arrange for a cook and for all meals and drinks to be brought into the camp by your porters).
Currently we can recommend the following two circuits:
The Ranomafana Trail leads 4,3km from the road near Mandritsarahely Creek to some hot springs, one of which is sacred. Going through dense rainforest, you then pass a short distance outside the reserve through the village Andranomafana. Then, cross Marolakana River to get to the hot springs. Grading of this trail is fairly strenuous given the terrain and river crossing. Note that there are leeches in the rainforest. You have the chance to see Indri, Silky sifaka and White-fronted brown lemurs along the way.
The moderately difficult Takhtajania Trail follows a ridge to a site where you see a specimen of the very rare 'Tahktajania' tree grows. You may also see Indri, Silky sifaka and Red-bellied lemur. The trail passed through quite open forests, with many lovely vistas overlooking the seemingly endless series of crests of rainforest-clad mountains - a magical spectacle!
Antanetiambo Private Reserve:
Owned and managed by local environmentalist and respected guide and naturalist Mr Rabary Desire, this small (14ha) privately protected area offers a great introduction to Anjanaharibe Sud and Marojejy National Park. The reserve is at Matsobe Sud, 6km from Andapa. Visitors have the chance here, to learn about the culture of the Tsimihety tribe, while observing endemic wildlife. It is the sole reserve in north Madagascar that has been created by a single individual. The Lemur Conservation Foundation have supported Mr Rabary to start off ecotourism; develop fish farming, maintain tree nurseries and start a community library. Tours include a traditional meal by Mrs Valerie Doko, at the family home in Matsobe. Organic, high quality locally grown vanilla is sold too.
When to go: the north-eastern quarter of Madagascar is the country's rainiest, with some rains falling throughout the year. Best months are early September to late November, and April - May.
Silky sifaka image courtesy Max Bigey
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