Madagascar boasts a unique fauna and flora, 80% of which is found nowhere else in the world. With so many unexplored eco-systems, many lodges in Madagascar are focused on eco-friendly and sustainable practices to maintain the island’s drawing card – its natural beauty! Here are our 5 favourite eco-lodges that are making a difference in Madagascar.
Manafiafy Beach and Rainforest Lodge
Tucked away on the south-east tip of Madagascar, Manafiafy Beach and Rainforest Lodge is one of the most luxurious getaways on the island. A 3-hour drive away from Fort Dauphin, the property is tucked away on a rainforest-fringed bay. It’s remote and private with only four bungalows and one family unit.
Manafiafy Beach and Rainforest Lodge takes eco-tourism seriously: rooms are built from natural materials, everything runs on solar power, and contributions are made to community projects. They help local schools, re-build important roads and protect endemic forests through levies and park fees.
Located on the island Nosy Komba, each of the 8 bungalows of the 4-star Tsara Komba Eco Lodge overlooks a private beach and the mainland in the distance. Nosy Kombo, only a short boat ride from Nosy Be, is one of the most popular islands in the archipelago. Due to its setting and lemur-filled forests, the lodge is popular for tourists who visit northern Madagascar.
While remote luxury is what makes Tsara Kombro so special, their attention focuses on helping local communities. Tsara Kombra has joined up with the NGO ‘Des Villages Et Des Hommes’ to support the nearby village Antrema. This partnership has resulted in the installation of a water conveyance system for the village, new toilet blocks and a recycling centre.
Nestled in a private nature reserve, Eden Lodge has 8 private chalets that cover an area of 8 hectares and surrounded by gin-clear water and white, sandy beaches. Only local materials – like Anjanojano stone, fallen tree trunks, coconut leaves and ravinala (traveller palm) leaves – were used in the lodge construction of the buildings.
The lodge is the winner of a few prestigious sustainability awards such as the World’s Best Sustainable Hotel 2014. Run on solar power, the lodge also plants a tree for every guest that visits. Additionally, Eden Lodge has helped sponsor a local school building and teacher salaries in Anjanojano. The lodge also focuses on protecting coral reefs and rainforests around the lodge.
Masoala Forest Lodge
This little gem is surrounded by white beaches, mile-long and wild, that the locals would rather keep a secret. Nestled in a private cove, surrounded by the pristine Masoala National Park (after which the lodge is named), the property is only accessible on foot or by boat. Masoala Forest Lodge is an eco-lodge that only accommodates up to 14 guests. It’s the epitome of peace and quiet away from the crowds on the north eastern tip of Madagascar.
Committed to sustainability, Masoala Forest Lodge insists on preserving the way of life for the surrounding villages. Only local craftsmen and artisans constructed and furnished the lodge. The lodge is also focused on protecting the environment with its earth-friendly design, operation and maintenance, whilst providing an alternative source of income for locals.
Anjajavy Le Lodge
Perched on a peninsula next to the Anjajavy Reserve, Anjajavy Le Lodge is a dream destination with twinkling waters, baobabs and mangrove forest. Private decks are hidden away throughout the property for relaxation, and it’s a great place to spot the Madagascan fish eagle, Sifaka lemur and Cuvier’s oplure (a type of iguana). Since 2003, Anjajavy Le Lodge has been a member of the Relais & Châteaux association, from which it has been
awarded the Environment Trophy.
They also campaign against deforestation and forest fires. In 2010 and 2011 the lodge assisted in extinguishing two forest fires and planted 12,000 endemic saplings. The lodge is also one of the driving forces for the protection and wildlife documentation of the 7,200 ha Anjajavy Reserve, which could double in size in the next few years. Staff members, rangers and even guests have discovered entirely new species of plants and animals while exploring the reserve.
Le Lodge is also focused on uplifting the surrounding communities, and since its inception has been financing voluntary entrepreneurship for boat transport, traditional fishing, apiculture and vegetable growing. Since 2009, Le Lodge and its clients have collaborated in the construction of a market, a security post and a secondary school, while the clinic of Le Lodge provides medico-technical support to midwives as well as emergency medical services for more than 5000 people from 4 neighbouring villages.