Parc National Montagne d’Ambre

This wonderful national park is literally a breath of fresh air from the arid northern plains: at 1000m, it is generally 10°C cooler than Diego or Ankarana, even more in winter, and its luxuriant forests could not contrast more with the mineral beauty of the lower grounds. For visitors, the park provides lovely walks in gorgeous forests, with plenty of waterfalls and lakes to rest by.

It rains almost every day in Montagne d’Ambre, and the park (182 sq km) and adjacent massif act as Diego’s water reservoir: hydrologists have calculated that the area contributes 50 million cu metres of water annually to northern Madagascar, enough to support 700 sq km of rice paddies.

The summer season (December to April) is the best for seeing reptiles and amphibians, but birdwatching and views from the summit are better in winter. One day is enough to get a good sense of what the park and wildlife are like, and two days will give you time to trek to the summit and discover many of the lakes and waterfalls which dot the park.