In a country like Madagascar, which is filled with national parks it pays to stand out, and the Andasibe and Mantadia National Park does just that. Located 150 km to the east of the capital city, Antananarivo, this national park covers an area of 155 square kilometers. The park mainly comprises of two large areas – the Analamazoatra Reserve and the Mantadia National Park.
A glance into the past of Andasibe and Mantadia National Park
It was only as recent as the 1990s that both the Analamazoatra Forest and Mantadia combined to form the Andasibe and Mantadia National Park. Mantadia is roughly 20km to the north of Analamazoatra Forest. During the colonial times, the Analamazoatra Reserve was better known as Perinet.
What you’ll find here?
The main attraction that this national park proudly exhibits to its visitors is undoubtedly their lemur species. Tourists from all over the world come to this park to see the Indri, the largest species of lemur. It is a peculiar species of lemur that sings like a whale, but in appearance closely resembles a cross between a panda and a human. It is quite tall for a lemur and has black-and-white markings all over its body. On total, the Andasibe Reserve has 11 species of lemurs.
The park maintains a number of trails through it, and you are bound to come across many species of lemurs while taking a walk through the trails.
The national park is also home to a large number of endemic and indigenous species of flora and fauna. Some common plant species you will find here are pandanus, tambourissa, ravinala, palm-tree, ebano and bamboo. The park is famous for its diverse species of frogs and many reptiles as well. Boa manditra, the biggest species of chameleon found on the island, is found here. Another interesting reptile species you will find here is the leaf-tailed gecko. You will be impressed by the different bird species as well. You are likely to spot the Madagascar yellowbrow, Madagascar serpent-eagle among others.
Adding even more color to the park, you will find many butterflies all around, looking ever so magnificent in their colors. The sight of these beautiful creatures will fill you with a sense of joy beyond words!
No doubt, Mother Nature has blessed Madagascar abundantly and a good share of the country’s natural attractions can be experienced in Andasibe and Mantadia National Park.
Since the national park is in close proximity to the city of Tana, you can always leave for the park early in the morning and leave for the city by dusk. Try to reach the park by dawn so that you have a better chance at spotting the Indri.
You will find that the park offers many short treks through their well-maintained trails. However, it is highly recommended that you choose to stay for a day or two, to have a complete experience at the Andasibe and Mantadia National Park.
The park offers many tours around the park such as the Lemur Day Tour, Full Day Tour, and so on. You can always book ahead as well.
Compared to Andasibe, Mantadia is much quieter and has a thicker forest with lesser number of tourists. Most of the circuits in Andasibe are quite similar since it is a flat land, whereas the circuits in Mantadia are longer and harder. Some of the best circuits here are Rianasoa, Tsakoka and Belakato. The time you choose to go for the circuit makes all the difference in the spotting of the different animal species!
The prices of these treks range from about 20000 Ar to 50000 Ar. Currently (July 2017), 1 USD is approximately 2965 Malagasy Ariary (Ar).
Take a night walk through a community forest
While you are here, visit the community forest run by the local non-governmental organization, Mitsinjo. Their office is right opposite to the park entrance. Visit their office to know more about their work and to have a chance to meet the natives that manage the forest. The fee that you pay here is used by the NGO to fund future community projects. You should definitely go for one of their night walks through the forest.
Before you leave Andasibe – Mantadia National Park, go ahead and get yourself some really nice handcrafts made by the locals from the nice little gift shops there. Spending some time with local community and tasting their local cuisines can also give you a better understanding about Madagascar and Malagasy people.
Author: E Jey
Just a passionate traveler who loves scribbling his expeditions @ www.jauntmonkey.com, www.outonroads.com, and www.blogthatall.com