Expert Reviews – Andasibe-Mantadia NP

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Expert
Philip Briggs   –  
South Africa ZA
Visited: Multiple visits

Philip is an acclaimed travel writer and author of many guidebooks, including the Bradt guides to Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya and South Africa.

One-stop lemur shop
Overall rating
4/5

If you only visit one national park in Madagascar, make it Andasibe-Mantadia. Situated a mere 145km east of the capital Antananarivo, this is the country’s most popular wildlife destination, and it also has the best selection of tourist amenities. Our highlight on both previous visits was a close-up encounter with the indri, a large tailless panda-like lemur whose eerie high-pitched call is ear-shattering at close range and can be heard from up to 2km away. Andasibe-Mantadia supports 13 other primate species, including the striking and easily seen diademed sifaka, as well as the diminutive Goodman’s mouse lemur, the latter a local endemic only discovered in 2005. Day walks along the main road through the forest can be wonderful for birding, offering first-time visitors a crash course in some of the island’s more widespread forest endemics, including the turaco-like blue and red-breasted coua, Madagascar paradise flycatcher, nuthatch vanga and Madagascar cuckoo-shrike. We also dropped into the Parc des Orchidées to see some of the forest’s 100-plus orchid species, and after dusk took a guided night walk in search of nocturnal lemurs, chameleons and colourful tree-frogs. For dedicated birders, it is worth heading to the remote Mantadia sector, the best place to seek out the shy and localised scaly, pitta-like, rufous-headed and short-legged ground-rollers.

Expert
Ariadne van Zandbergen   –  
South Africa ZA
Visited: Multiple times

Ariadne is a renowned African wildlife photographer whose work is featured in many well-known guidebooks and magazines.

The wailing indris of Andasibe
Overall rating
4/5

After arriving in Antananarivo, the busy capital city of Madagascar, the first stop on my safari was Andasibe-Mantadia National Park. More than anything, I wanted to see lemurs. With 14 species recorded, Andasibe was unlikely to disappoint. On arrival, I marveled at the bug-eyed common brown lemurs that leaped from tree to tree around our lodge and the next morning, we set off in search of the island’s largest and most iconic lemur, the indri. After a few hours hiking along the slippery slopes of the jungle, we struck gold; a small family of these black and white, teddy-bear-like creatures was feeding high in the canopy. The future of the indri, which has never fared in captivity, is very unsure as they are restricted to Andasibe-Mantadia where habitat destruction due to mining and logging is an ongoing concern. I felt privileged to see these endangered animals, but it was their unique wailing vocalizations that have really stuck with me. When we left, their songs, which can be heard up to 4km/2.5mi away, followed us all the way back out of the forest.

Average Expert Rating

  • 4.0/5
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding

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