If you love forests and wildlife, you will love a holiday in Nosy Mangabe, Madagascar. This tropical island is just 5.2 square KMs big and is situated in the Antongil Bay, just about 7 km from the city of Maroantsetra. The island reserve lies just off the Masoala Peninsular in northeast Madagascar. This forest island belongs to Madagascar and has lovely sandy coves, large boulders, and majestic trees with huge buttress roots making up the dense vegetation. Nosy Mangabe is a rainforest reserve and sanctuary for the endangered aye-aye lemur which was introduced in 1966.
Wildlife holiday in Nosy Mangabe
If you love taking wildlife holidays to relish the peace of a forest or to spot exotic animals and birds, you will love Nosy Mangabe for sure. Besides aye aye you will also be able to see the white-fronted brown lemurs, black-and-white ruffed lemurs, brown mouse lemur, Eastern woolly lemur, weird yet wonderful looking leaf-tailed geckos, stump-tailed chameleons, and green-backed Mantella frogs. If your Madagascar holiday falls between June to September, you can also spot humpback whales from the beach.
Nosy Mangabe is a unique experience because it has almost no sand. The moment you step onto the beach, you notice the dark-green trees rise almost from the sea. At Nosy Mangabe you can see and experience the amazing rainforest forest and the fascinating creatures it is home to and thus makes for a great day trip from Maroantsetra or Masoala.
There are two ways you can enjoy this wildlife holiday – either stay the night at a camp on the island or plan a day trip.
Night camping in Nosy Mangabe
The adventurous tourists bring some excitement to their wildlife vacation by spending the night in camps and enjoying wildlife under torch lights. Mind you spending the night in this wildlife destination is not easy for the calls of frogs, birds and lemurs will reverberate through the trees, all through the night. Since it rains most days in here, the air is moist and damp. So much so that the trees are always dripping.
You can plan one or two days of night camping at Nosy Mangabe. Park fees are payable at the ANGAP office in Maroantsetra, whose address and contact details are given below:
Parcs Nationaux Madagascar – Association Nationale pour la Gestion des Aires Protégées (ANGAP)
Ambatobe, B.P. 1424, Antananarivo 101
Tel: + 261 20 22 415 54/38; Fax: 20 22 415 39
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
For more information please visit the website of Madagascar’s National Parks.
One day permit will cost you Ar 10,000, and a two-day permit will set you back by Ar 15,000. We suggest you opt for the three-day permit which costs Ar 20,000 if you are a hardcore outdoors person. You have to pay extra for the tent at the camping site, which will cost you approximately Ar 4,000 per tent. The campsite offers a basic kitchen and shared facilities, which all campers can use. In fact, there are a couple of newly constructed huts for those without tents.
Taking a guide along is mandatory in this forest reserve. You have pay for your guide’s food. At the camping site, you can hire a cook or request your guide to double up as your cook – most oblige if you pay them extra.
To ensure you have a nice experience at your Nosy Mangabe camp, we strongly recommend a good raincoat, lots of dry clothes, lots of waterproof bags (to keep your clothes, food and electronics dry), insect repellant, and a torch with lots of batteries. Since the walkways in this rainforest are narrow and steep, you will also need comfortable walking shoes or boots.
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Day trip to Nosy Mangabe
If you don’t want to camp in Nosy Mangabe, you can plan a day trip. It is advisable to book a day trip to the forest reserve once you reach Madagascar, or book it through your travel agent. Usually, all tourists who have signed up for the day trip assemble at Maroantsetra, have their breakfast together and then take a boat to Nosy Mangabe. The boat trip usually lasts 40-50 minutes and once the destination is reached the travelers are asked to wade to the shore. The trails for walks range from easy to moderate to hard, so please let your guide know what kind of walking trail you may prefer. We strongly recommend wearing a good trekking/walking shoe or boot, and carrying lots of water and a full can of insect repellent.
During your trail walk you will see beautiful waterfalls and tombs. These ancient graves are those of the first inhabitants of the forest island. Request your guide to also show you the rock inscriptions left by Dutch sailors during the 16th century on a beach called Plage des Hollandais.
Lunch is usually at the campsite, where you can catch up with those who stayed the night in the island.
Weather in Nosy Mangabe
Because of the short distance from between Madagascar and the island of Nosy Mangabe both share the same weather. From November to March it is hot and wet (due to variable rainfall) in this forest reserve. The months from April to October and not so hot and mostly dry. In the months of February and March, Madagascar (more so down the east coast) gets hit by cyclones.
During the dry season, the average midday temperatures range around 25ºC (77°F) in the higher altitudes while around the cost it hovers around 30ºC (86°F). During the peak colder months – that is June – the temperature in the highlands can reach freezing point. In short, June is the coolest month on Nosy Mangabe.
Best time to visit Nosy Mangabe
While planning a visit to Nosy Mangabe (or Madagascar), it is best to avoid July and August. The last ten days of December and the first week of January is also a bad time because it gets crowded. January to March is the peak rainy season when the rivers swell and cut down access to certain parts of Madagascar. If you would prefer cheaper air fares and accommodation and lesser crowds, we suggest you plan a holiday during the off season. If wildlife sightings is important for you, we recommend you avoid the cool dry months of June to September for during this period the animals, birds and reptiles aren’t that active. In short, the best time to visit Nosy Mangabe are the months of October and November, when the weather is not too hot nor too cold.
Places of interest near Nosy Mangabe
Maroantsetra: 6 miles away
Masoala National Park: 26 miles away
Île Sainte-Marie: 100 miles away
Ankify 164: miles away
Nosy Komba: 170 miles away
Baobab Beach: 171 miles away