Maso means “eye” and ala means “forest”, and Masoala can be translated as “eye of the forest”. Masoala National Park of Madagascar is home to the bizarre Aye-Aye. The glowing eyes of Aye-Aye can be a bit spooky, but those golden shiny eyes scored the name Masoala for one of the major attractions of Madagascar.
Where is Masoala National Park?
Located on the Masoala Peninsula, to the northeast of Madagascar, the Masoala National Park is the largest island in Madagascar. The majority of the national park is situated in the Sava region, and the remaining in Analanjirofo. It covers a widespread area of 2300 square kilometers. The national park also has within it, a marine park that covers an area of 100 square kilometers.
From dense tropical forests, to golden beaches, mountainous regions to bays, this is one the most bio-diverse places on the Earth.
The average climate here is usually 24 degrees Celsius.
How to Reach Masoala National Park of Madagascar?
You can reach Masoala National Park through either the city of Antalaha or the city of Maroantsetra. Daily bush taxis better known as share taxis are easily available from both the cities.
If you want to enjoy the sun on your face and the wind through your hair, and enjoy the greenery around, you can take a mountain bike on rent, and cycle your way to the Masoala National Park, from Antalaha.
You can even take a boat ride up to the Masoala National Park, from Maroantsetra.
Where to Stay?
There are plenty of accommodation options near the Masoala National Park. The villages nearby provide comfortable home-stays, guest houses and bungalows.
Some of the famous hotels are Masoala Forest Lodge – a up-market lodge with a beach nearby, Petit Relais Lodge, Hotel Relais du Masoala, which is a hotel set in a pre-colonial style.
What to do?
The main attractions here are Cao Est, Nosy Mangabe and the three parks – Tampolo in the West, Ifaho in the East and Ambodilaitry in the South.
The national park provides a variety of circuits for trekking and hiking. Masoala National Park offers one of the best trekking experiences in the world. There are many flexible trekking packages, which range from a few hours to even 2-3 days, depending on your pick.
Tourists are always accompanied by an approved guide and his wildlife “spotter” to spot the different species of flora and fauna.
Nosy Mangabe is an island reserve that is a part of the Masoala National Park. It is situated in the Antongil Bay. It is famous for the spotting of the nocturnal Aye aye.
If you are an adventure enthusiast longing to dive right into the wildlife experience, then you should definitely go snorkeling and kayaking in these parks. It will surely be an unforgettable experience.
You can even go whale watching if it is the season. During the breeding season, the Humpback Whales are found in large numbers at the Antongil Bay. It well-known for its sharks as well!
You can head over to their beaches ever so welcoming, to simply lay on the golden sands and relax.
Flora and Fauna
The highlight of the Masoala National Park is undoubtedly its diverse flora and fauna. It has about ten species of lemurs! You will come across many other fascinating creatures such as the Madagascar day gecko, red frog, hedgehog tenrec, aye aye and many indigenous birds such as Madagascar serpent eagle and tomato owl.
Another interesting creature you will come across in Madagascar is the fossa, a large jumping rat, almost the size of a rabbit.
The Masoala Peninsula gives top priority to the conservation of their abundant biodiversity and that resulted in the establishing of the national park in 1997.
The marine parks within the national park, contains a large variety of fish species as well. You will be amused to find fishes of all sorts of colors, shapes and sizes!
All through the national park you will find many different and rare species of palm trees.
So while you are at Madagascar, you should definitely pay a visit to the Masoala National Park. It will surely be an exceptional trip. The bio-diversity here will make you spell-bound, no doubt!
Author: E Jey
Just a passionate traveler who loves scribbling his expeditions @ www.jauntmonkey.com, www.outonroads.com, and www.blogthatall.com