Madagascar // Northeastern Madagascar //

Parc National Mantadia

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.

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