There are six hiking trails in Montagne d’Ambre ranging from easy one-hour walks to more strenuous eight-hour treks. Many can be combined to tailor your own circuit: ask your guide to recommend the best itinerary.
Highlights include the Voie des Mille Arbres (Path of a Thousand Trees), a majestic alley planted with tall exotic species (Montagne d’Ambre was an important research centre for forestry and tree plantations during the 20th century); the Petit Lac, a small crater lake also known as Lac de la Coupe Verte; and Cascade Antankarana, a beautiful waterfall flowing into a tranquil pool surrounded by fern-covered cliffs. Nearby is the path known as Jardin Botanique, a forest track lined by orchids, palms, lianas and bromeliads. Not far away, another trail leads to the small Cascade Sacrée, a sacred waterfall where locals often make offerings.
A longer track leads to the viewpoint over Cascade Antomboka (or Grande Cascade), a narrow waterfall that plunges 80m into a forest grotto.
The summit of Montagne d’Ambre (Amber Mountain; 1475m) is reached via an 11km trail heading south from the park entrance. From the campsite at Grand Lac, it’s a relatively easy three- to four-hour hike, and it's less than an hour from the base to the summit. On clear days (sadly, a rare event), there are wonderful views of the lush forests. Just below the summit is Lac Maudit, where local fady (taboo) prohibits swimming, and to the southeast is the larger Grand Lac, where you are allowed to camp.
Of the seven species of lemur found in the park, the most notable are the crowned lemur and Sanford’s lemur. Others include the rufous mouse lemur, the dwarf and northern sportive lemurs, the aye-aye (rarely seen) and the local Montagne d’Ambre fork-marked lemur. Among other mammals, the ring-tailed mongoose is probably the most frequently observed.
Reptile and amphibian life thrives in the park’s humid conditions, and Montagne d’Ambre is where you’ll find the diminutive Brookesia chameleon, the world’s smallest. It lives in leaf litter and you’ll need your guide’s well-trained eyes to find it.