Overview – Ifotaka Forest

Philip Briggs
Expert
By Philip Briggs

Philip is a renowned Africa expert and author of many guidebooks to African destinations, including the Insight guide to Madagascar.

Philip is a renowned Africa expert and author of the Insight Guide to Madagascar.

Philip is the author of the Insight Guide to Madagascar.

The Ifotaka Community Forest Reserve is an area made up of a gallery forest and a dry spiny forest in the Mandrare Valley. The forests are sacred places to the local Antandroy people, who take visitors on guided nature walks. Accommodation is in the all-inclusive Mandrare River Camp, a traditional tented bush camp with excellent service and food.

Best Time to Go August to November (Less rainfall)
High Season Late June to late November (High-season rates apply)
Size 220km² / 85mi²

Pros & Cons

  • Community reserve mixing culture and nature-based activities
  • Exclusive tented camp offering a bush experience
  • Great lemur viewing
  • Night walks available in the spiny forest
  • Only one pricey camp
  • Not very accessible

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Wildlife

The forest reserve is home to two lemur species active in the day: big groups of ring-tailed lemur occur in the tamarind gallery forest, as well as some Verreaux's sifaka. The latter can also be found in the spiny forest area of the reserve. Three species that are active at night are present, namely white-footed sportive lemur, grey mouse lemur and grey-brown mouse lemur.

Scenery

Mandrare River Camp is located in a tamarind forest on the bank of the river, which acts as the lifeline of the area and provides some very scenic sundowner spots. Activities include wildlife viewing in a larger stand of tamarind forest on the other side of the river and a nearby patch of spiny forest. A short drive away, clusters of baobab trees make the perfect backdrop for traditional dances.

Weather & Climate

The climate in Ifotaka Forest is hot and quite dry. There is however a Wet season from November to March. This is also the hottest time of the year with an average maximum day temperature of around 27°C/81°F. The cooler Dry season from April to October is overall more comfortable.

Best Time to Visit

The Dry season months from April to October are a good time to visit and so is November, the beginning of the Wet season. Mandrare River Camp at Ifotaka Forest stays open through December, but this month sees a lot of rain. The shoulder months, April, October and November, are particularly lovely as the weather is pleasant, and reptiles and some mammals are more active than in the cooler Dry season months. The camp is closed during the rains from January to late March.

Want to Visit Ifotaka Forest?

Ifotaka Forest Safari Reviews

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  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
Most Helpful Expert Review
Expert
Ariadne van Zandbergen  –  
South Africa ZA

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

Sacred forests protected by the Antandroy community
4/5

Ifotaka Community Forest is a community-run area covering a deciduous tamarind woodland and a taboo-protected spiny forest. The local Antandroy people have opened this area up for tourism, offering guided activities to guests staying at...

Full Review