Réserve de Nosy Mangabe

Nature Reserve in Baie d’Antongil & Masoala Peninsula

The island of Nosy Mangabe is a must-visit for anyone with a smidgen of romance in their blood. This is a thickly forested and mountainous tropical island, with huge soaring canarium trees arising from flying buttress roots, a rusty shipwreck piercing one side, waterfalls, a spyglass hill, a yellow sickle beach, elusive animals, foreign inscriptions, and the omnipresent sound of the jungle. If that doesn’t bring out the Robinson Crusoe in you, check your pulse. It rains a lot, though, so be prepared.

You have the option of taking a day trip here, or staying overnight. MNP runs a very well-equipped beachside campground (camping per tent Ar5000) with shelters, picnic tables, a kitchen and flush toilets, and some rental camping equipment. There are also a few basic bungalows if you don't have a tent. It’s an idyllic spot, with a waterfall for a shower, and beckoning trailheads. A popular option takes you to the summit of the island, affording great views. Another leads to Plage des Hollandais, a beach with rocks bearing the scratched names of some 17th-century Dutch sailors. From July to September, you can see whales offshore.

The forest here is full of reptiles and amphibians, including the leaf-tailed gecko, one of nature’s most accomplished camouflage artists; several species of chameleons; many frogs; and several harmless species of snake, including the Madagascar tree boa. It is also home to various lemurs, including the elusive aye-aye, which was introduced here in 1967 to protect the species from extinction. A sighting is by no means guaranteed.