Madagascar Tour #5 : Masoala & Makira
Difficulty ★ ★ ☆

Masoala National Park

The Masoala National Park is the largest and most beautiful park in Madagascar. Located on the peninsula of the same name, it is home to a flora and fauna of incredible diversity and many species of palm trees.
After having reached Maroantsetra by domestic flight from Tamatave, you will cross the bay of Antongil by boat to reach the comfortable Lodge "Chez Arol" located in an idyllic setting, at the edge of a huge deserted beach surrounded by forest.
From there, you will be accompanied by guides knowledgeable about the local flora and fauna, and for 2 days, you will explore the surrounding forest in search of some of the rarest palms in the world, including the legendary and very impressive Lemurophoenix halleuxii, but also many others: Dypsis hovomantsina, Dypsis dransfieldii, Dypsis carlsmithii ... and even the very rare Satranala decussilvae!
You will also discover a multitude of other plants: orchids, begonias, ferns, ... Back from the forest, you will have the pleasure of strolling to a small fishing village not far from the hotel or enjoying breathtaking beaches.
When you return to Maroantsetra, you will stop off at Nosy Mangabe Island. You will discover a botanical trail where you can observe the white-fronted lemur, the micro-chameleons, the black and yellow treefrog. You will also visit the Betsimisaraka Tombs.

Makira protected Park

After a break in Maroantsetra, where you may do some shopping, visit the very typical local market, and maybe even have the chance to see the famous tomato frogs, you will go on an adventure towards the Makira Park.
From Maroantsetra, it will take you a day to reach the Makira science camp, after 4 to 5 hours by canoe and a steep approach walk (3 hours of walking for about 500 m of elevation).
Makira Park is an immense forest corridor (300,000 ha) of recently protected status and considered one of the most biodiverse areas of Maadagascar. It is home to 20 species of lemurs including the very rare Silky Sifaka, as well as a multitude of endemic plant species.
Protection of the reserve has recently been provided by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) as part of a community project in partnership with the local population, thus ensuring that the surrounding villages benefit directly from the benefits provided by the Park.
This visit is exceptional because the park is only rarely open to the public. You will thus benefit from the Makira camp usually reserved for scientists where you will be accommodated in bungalows (2 places) or under tents.
From here, always accompanied by guides who know perfectly the fauna and the flora, you will be able to traverse paths of this little known forest, and see about twenty species of palms: Ravenea albicans and Orania ravaka, the immense Dypsis tsaravoasira, the delicate Dypsis thiryana, and many others (see article in PALMS 53(3): 125-146).
In the evening, you may enjoy night tours in search of the mysterious nocturnal animals of the forest, lemurs and the leaf-tailed gecko (Uroplatus).
After returning by canoe to Maroantsetra, and one last night, you will go back to Tamatave by a domestic flight, and then la Reunion.
A trip you will never forget...


Day 1 / Fly from la Réunion to Tamatave (possibly in J -1) and fly to Maroansetra.
Cross by boat the Antongil Bay To Masoala
Trek to Lemurophoenix locality. Lemurophoenix, Beach, fishermen village
Overnight in Masoala (Chez Arol Lodge)

Day 2 / Visit the Masoala National Park.
Coastal forest with lot of palms: Dypsis carlsmithii, Dypsis hovomantsina, Ravenea, Orania, Satranala, understory Dypsis; Lemurs.
Overnight in Masoala (Chez Arol Lodge)

Day 3 / Cross by boat the Antongil Bay to Maroansetra.
Visit the Nosy-Mangabe island forest reserve or free time in Maroantsetra.
Rainforest, palms, lemurs, tomato frogs,
Overnight in Maroantsetra

Day 4 / Trek to Makira Forest (run up the river by boat and walk).
Overnight in Makira Forest Camp

Day 5 / Visit the Makira Forest.
Upland forest with lot of palms: Dypsis tsaravoasira, Ravenea albicans, Orania ravaka, understory Dypsis…
Night Walk in the Makira Forest Silky sifaka lemur, Uroplatus
Overnight in Makira Forest Camp

Day 6 / Back to Maroantsetra (walk and boat river).
Overnight in Maroantsetra

Day 7 / Fly to Tamatave and la Réunion (possibly in J +1)