The north-east of Madagascar is home to Masoala National Park, the largest protected area on the “island that time forgot”. Madagascar is famous around the world for its bizarre assortment of plants and animals that evolved due to the island’s geographic seclusion.
Masoala, and offshore island Nosy Mangabe, is a primeval sort of place and combines several habitats: rainforest, flooded forest marsh, mangroves and coral reefs which is home to a dazzling display of sea life. It is were rainforest and sea collide for a spectacular landscape – and numerous trails make it a hiker’s delight.
Masoala is sanctuary to the show-stopping red ruffed lemur that is one of the nine species of primates known as prosimians. Other unusual animals include the Madagascar day gecko, the leaf-tailed gecko and a host of chameleons. The red owl, the tomato frog and the spectacular helmet vanga bird also put in an appearance.
Nosy Mangabe Special Reserve is an island that lies in Antongil Bay about 2km off the coast. As one of the best places to see the wild, nocturnal aye-aye – Madagascar’s strangest and most rare lemur. The otherworldly and well camouflaged Uroplatus lizard, and the world’s tiniest chameleon Brookesia, are also found in the humid forest. Black and white ruffed lemur and the white-fronted brown lemur are more regularly sighted on Nosy Mangabe. Plan your vacation to coincide with the annual visit of the Humpback whales between July and September. The best time to visit is between August and December in the dry season.