Parc National Mantadia, a 98-square-kilometre tract of mostly primary forest north of Andasibe village, has the same altitude range as the Réserve Spéciale d’Analamazaotra but is much less visited, and has only limited and much more challenging trails, making sightings more exciting as a result. Lively and inquisitive southern black-and-white ruffed lemurs, or vary in Malagasy (Varecia variegata editorum), are a key species here: they’re sometimes seen near the road around PK15, where a forested hill rises to the west.

Four park trails pitch up the east–west ridges: the Circuit Rianasoa (1.5km, 2hr) ends by a natural swimming hole beneath a waterfall; Circuit de la Chute Sacrée (2km, 2hr) takes in ritual sites of the Bezanozano people; Circuit Belakato (3.5km, 3hr) is a fairly tough hike but gives the best lemur-viewing chances; and the so-called Circuit Trekking (10km, all day) is a demanding route that combines the higher reaches of the other three trails.

If you’re birding – and lucky – the very rare Madagascar serpent eagle (Eutriorchis astur) and strikingly blue-billed helmet vanga (Euryceros prevosti) can both be seen in Mantadia, as can the various species of pretty ground rollers: you’re much less likely to see any of these in Analamazaotra.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Madagascar features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Passport to write: the runners-up!

Passport to write: the runners-up!

After weeks of deliberation, we're thrilled to announce the results of the Rough Guides and Journeys are made @gapyear.com writing competition. The winning p…

03 Jul 2015 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
Incredible forests of the world

Incredible forests of the world

Spiny Forest, Madagascar On an island filled with weird and wonderful living things, the spiny forest has to be Madagascar's most unusual ecosystem. Endemic…

03 Oct 2014 • Alison Roberts camera_alt Gallery
The world's most epic cycle routes

The world's most epic cycle routes

Life on two wheels is a beautiful thing, and travel on two wheels can be epic. Here are a few of the world's greatest cycle routes to consider for your next bi…

15 Apr 2014 • Greg Dickinson camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right

Weekly newsletter

Sign up now for travel inspiration, discounts and competitions

Sign up now and get 20% off any ebook