Kayak Masoala has set up several kayaking camp sites on the peninsula and run trips there from Maroantsetra. Sea kayaking is an...
Quad, Motor or Mountain Biking
A great way to get out and explore the area around Maroantsetra is by mountain bike. If that sounds too energetic, rent a quad or...
Rakoto, an English-speaking Angap guide and 'fixer', does excursions by pirogue to villages upriver from Maroantsetra (for groups of two...
Les Grillades is a place for a good meal. Located near Le Coco Beach restaurant.
Lonely Planet review
Every year between July and September, Baie d'Antongil, just south of Maroantsetra, is the site of the migration of hundreds of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae). The whales make their way from the Antarctic northward to the warmer waters around Baie d'Antongil, where they spend the winter months breeding and birthing before the long journey back to Antarctica. En route the whales swim past Fort Dauphin and Île Sainte Marie, where they are often sighted offshore.
Humpbacks can measure up to 15m in length and weigh as much as 35,000kg. Despite their size, they are exceptionally agile, and capable of acrobatic moves such as breaching (launching themselves completely out of the water with their flippers). Humpbacks are also renowned for their singing, which is presumed to be related to mating patterns. Humpback songs can last up to an hour, and are considered to be the most complex of all whale songs.
To maximise your chances of observing the whales and their acrobatics, try to go out on a day when the water is calm - although conditions on the bay vary widely, so the water may be calm in one area and rough in another.
The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS; in Maroantsetra) and the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH, based in New York City) have a long-term research and conservation programme for humpback whales and other marine mammals, with a field base on Nosy Mangabe. The WCS-AMNH project has drafted a set of guidelines aimed at ensuring the wellbeing and safety of both whales and whale-watchers. These have since been adopted as national law in Madagascar, and local boat operators have been trained to operate within the guidelines, ensuring that disturbance to the whales by whale-watchers will be minimal.
To ensure that you go out with experienced and trained guides and boat operators, organise your trip through the office of Parc National de Masoala in Maroantsetra.