Andasibe-Mantadia National Park
Andasibe-Mantadia National Park with its 154 km² encompasses two distinct areas. We have the small Réserve Spéciale d'Analamazaotra . This is popularly known by the old French name of the nearby town and railway station, Périnet in the south next to Andasibe village.
The much larger Parc National de Mantadia lies to the north. Both parts belonged to the same humid forest, but because of human activities are now divided in two. The Andasibe-Mantadia National Park was created in 1989.
Due to its closeness to the capital and the good road condition all year round almost all visitors to Madagascar will choose to come here to follow the Indri call, which is the star of the Andasibe-Mantadia National Park.
Biodiversity in Andasibe-Mantadia National Park
The primary forests of Andasibe-Mantadia contains a dense humid forest covered with lians, moss, fern tress and more than hundred orchids species blooming between September and Januar.
Another common plants growing here are pandanus, ravinala palm-tree, tambourissa, bamboos and some precious wood, like palisander and ebano. The illegal tree falling together with the graphite mines inside the park are the main threats to the conservation of this area.
All the visitors on Madagascar tour within a mile of the park can hear the peculiar call of the indri very early in the morning until noon and again in the late afternoon.
Indris (called Babakoto in Malagay) are the largest living lemurs at all reaching up to 1 meter. Andasibe is the best place to observe the Indris given that there are a couple of families habituated to humans. It lives in small groups and cannot survive in captivity.
There are several legends trying to explain its origins since it is considered a sacred animal in the whole Madagascar. Nowadays it is endangered due to deforestation and agricultural activities next to the reserves.
Apart from the Indri, another 13 lemur species inhabit these forests, such as woody lemur, grey bamboo lemur, diademed sifaka, brown lemur, red mouse-lemur, red-bellied lemur, black and white ruffed lemur and even aye-aye.
The extraordinary animal diversity is completed with another 15 mammal species, more than 100 of birds. Many of them endemic, like the Madagascar yellowbrow, Madagascar baza, Madagascar wagtail or the Madagascar serpent-eagle.
Andasibe-Mantadia National Park has 50 of reptiles, among them the biggest chameleon of the island, the boa manditra and many leaf-tailed geckos and more than 80 amphibians.
There are also a few local endemic fishes swimming in the small rivers and hundreds of insects, among them some extraordinary colourful and big butterflies.
Where is Andasibe-Mantadia National Park
Andasibe National Park is about 2 km from the village, so just follow the main road until the Park Office where the entrance is. If you are willing to trek a little harder on your Madagascar safari and enjoy a wilder and thicker forest with older and taller trees and not so many people as in Andasibe, go to Mantadia.
You will not be disappointed. As Mantadia is about 15 km northern from Andasibe it is necessary to rent a car to get there (just arrange a vehicle and a guide at the main office).
Tourism Circuits in Andasibe-Mantadia National Park
There are different circuits both in Andasibe and in Mantadia, suiting every physical condition and interest. Andasibe is almost flat and the circuits are quite similar. The only difference is the time you want to look for animals.
In Mantadia (which gets as already mentioned a thinner flow of tourists) trails are harder (the forest stretches from 900 to 1.200 m.) and more varied.
Sacred Waterfall Circuit
This is a cultural path passing through several holy places of the ancient inhabitants, it takes 2 hours),
you will spot indris and see orchids as well as visit the sacred waterfall and a nature pool where you can take a bath, this circuit usually takes one or two hours.
longer trail of 4 hours in which you will try to find more lemurs and other animals and a night tour (1-2 hours).
This is a harder trail going up and down while looking for indris and other species and passing by the waterfalls, around 3 hours. It is also possible to arrange a one-day-trek visiting the entire previous trail together. Prices go from 20,000 to 50,000 Ar depending on the duration.
The local NGO Mitsinjo has their office opposite to the Park entrance. This fabulous organization manages the Analamazaotra Forest Station located just behind the office.
This forest is very well conserved and gives shelter to some habituated indri families and other lemurs, as well as quite a lot of chameleons and geckos. The fee is much cheaper than the National Park and you have the same chances to find all this animals.
Apart from that, your money will help to support several community projects. They offer rewarding night walks too where you can spot night lemurs, frogs and nocturnal reptiles.
The gift shop has cute handcrafts from the villages nearby. You find more informatiopn on our section about Community Tourism. Highly recommended!!
The park is accessible during all the year. The main entrance is just a couple of km from the main road RN2 connecting Tana and Tamatave. The whole trip takes 3 – 4 hours from Tana (150 km) and 5 – 6 from Tamatave (250 km) by car.
If you are travelling by taxi-brousse you should change in Moramanga coming from Tana, or take a direct service to Tamatave and ask the driver to drop you out at Andasibe village. The entrance fee is Ar 25,000 for one day and Ar 37,000 for two days.
For accommodation visit Andasibe village.
The Park Office is very well equipped and has a small museum and a gift shop. The guides are really good and some of them speak fluent English.