Madagascar // Northeastern Madagascar //

Parc National de Mananara Nord and around

The author and naturalist Gerald Durrell put the town of MANANARA on the map in 1992 in The Aye-Aye and I, his account of capturing two male and four female aye-ayes for a breeding programme at Jersey zoo.

The Parc National de Mananara Nord is aye-aye country, but you need to stop at Antanambe (where one of the park offices is located) and hike far into the hills, or take a taxi brousse from Mananara to Sandrakatsy, and then hike for several hours, to find good aye-aye habitat in more or less undisturbed rainforest. Offshore lies the marine parcel of the park, with superb coral around the islet of Nosy Hely.

Aye-Aye Island

For the best chance – though as ever no absolute guarantee – of seeing wild aye-ayes, stop in Mananara town for a day or two, stay at Chez Roger, and spend an evening visiting Île Mon Désir, or Aye-Aye Island, a 30-hectare island in the Mananara River, just 5km upstream from the town centre, that was formerly a plantation but is now covered in secondary forest. It belongs to Roger, the owner of the hotel, who introduced aye-ayes here in the 1990s. They continue to thrive and breed.

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