Experience Highlights

  • Duration: Half-day (flexible)
  • Type: Group Experience
After breakfast at the lodge, your guide and driver will collect you for the 4-wheel drive journey about 37km northwards along a rutted road to Mantadia National Park. If however, the road to Mantadia is damaged and access is therefore not possible, we take clients to Maromizaha Experimental Reserve***.
 
At both sites, you can complete one of the trails which will enable you to see some primary mid-altitude  montane rainforest. Do note that the slopes are steeper than is the case in both Andasibe ('Perinet') and Parc Mitsinjo (Analamazaotra), so a reasonable level of fitness is required. Trails are also for the most part, narrower. 
 
Wildlife to be seen is much the same as is the case in Andasibe and Mitsinjo, but birders might encounter additional rainforest-dependent species such as Pitta-like and Short-legged ground-rollers and amphibians such as Baron's mantella. In Mantadia there is a population of Black and white ruffed lemur and occasionally, visitors spot Red-bellied lemur. 
 
After having completed a trail (this should take until late morning), return to the lodge for lunch.
***  December 2022 update: for most of 2022, Mantadia was inaccessible due to a broken bridge. Instead, our clients therefore visited Maromizaha, where uniformly, they enjoyed a wonderful wildlife experience. So much did Maromizaha impress Bradt Guides author Daniel Austin, that he's adding a glowing report about it in the upcoming edition of the Bradt Madagascar Guide. The very few who did make it to Mantadia during 2022, reported poor wildlife sightings, likely due to persecution during the pandemic coupled with an absence of tourists.
Daniel Austin on Maromizaha, Oct 2022: 

Maromizaha is a much ‘wilder’ place than the Andasibe National Park of course, so we knew there would be no habituated mammals. We were expecting only fleeting distant glimpses of lemurs (like at Mantadia, if you are lucky!) but actually we had some surprisingly close and long-lasting views of indri there, and heard several bouts of their calling. We even saw diademed sifakas briefly but they were moving fast. Apparently there are red-bellied lemurs that are easy to see as well, but not on the trail we walked.

There was a gorgeous and huge Parson’s chameleon, which I couldn’t drag the group away from, a Thiel's leaf chameleon, a nose-horned chameleon, and some lined day geckos. We found a huge array of invertebrates from the giraffe-neck weevil to all kinds of assassin bugs, stick insects, mantis, golden tortoise beetles, a metallic blue weevil, an ant-mimicking spider, and several other interesting spiders that were completely new to me.

We got a splendid bird list from that walk: Madagascar pygmy kingfisher, Pitta-like ground roller, Dark newtonia, Madagascar blue pigeon, Tylas vanga, Pollen's vanga, Nelicourvi weaver, Blue coua, Common newtonia, Madagascar brush warbler, Madagascar cuckoo shrike, Madagascar white-eye, Madagascar paradise flycatcher, Madagascar cuckoo, Madagascar bulbul, and Common jery.

I must say, having heard about Maromizaha over the years of visiting other reserves in the Andasibe area, that the infrastructure is less developed there, I imagined trails would be unmaintained and the guides comparatively untrained. But we were very pleasantly surprised to find quite excellent trails (not as flat or easy as Andasibe NP, but not as tricky underfoot as some parts of Mantadia) and our guides Aristide and Tojo were very knowledgeable, attentive and good at English to boot.

We took lunch at a splendid scenic viewpoint, where they have built a bench and simple shelter, looking out over a forested valley. The trail we walked can even be done as a night walk as far as this viewpoint, and I am really eager to try this next time! Near the start of the trail, less than 10 minutes from the car parking area, there is a cave where the guides said that around 6pm you can watch the mass exodus of Rousettus madagascariensis fruit bats.

Derek Schuurman

Travel Specialist

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