Masoala National Park is one of the largest in Madagascar but one of the least visited as it is very remote. Primary rainforest covers a range of mountains and drops down to the deserted beaches of Antongil Bay where hump-backed whales come to breed and calve. The Masoala rainforest is beautiful with tall pallisander trees, vines, wild ginger plants, ferns and orchids. Walking in the forest you see hundreds of frogs, including the large tomato frog. Chameleons are easily found: the most commonly-seen species include the panther chameleon, hooded chameleon and several species of stump-tailed chameleon. Masoala is the last refuge of the red-ruffed lemur which sun themselves on the tops of trees in the morning.
Arrival in Antananarivo and transfer to your hotel. Accommodation on half board basis at RELAIS DES PALTEAUX
Your Masoala Adventure fly-in package starts in Antananarivo. You will be welcomed by the pilot of the charter airplane at their private hanger at Ivato airport. With no check-in and wasted time, this is a tranquil and hassle free start to your adventure. After an approximately two hour flight, with magnificent views of the rugged hills and rainforests of eastern Madagascar, you will descend over Antongil Bay and land on the airport of Maroantsetra. Here you will be met on arrival and transfer directly to the boat for the voyage across Antongil Bay to the Masoala Forest Lodge. The journey takes around two hours, with the possibility of dolphin and whale sightings in season and the forested mountains of the Masoala Peninsula as a dramatic backdrop to the destination.
On arrival at the lodge beach, you are welcomed ashore and settle into camp. After freshening up in the accommodation, lunch is served in the beach house. The afternoon activities include exploring the beaches and coastal forest in the lodge area and maybe enjoying a swim in the sea, before taking a guided walk along the coast past Tampolo Point, with the possibility of spotting white-fronted brown lemurs in the coastal forest. Return to camp for sundowners around the fire on the beach and dinner in the lodge.
Awaken early for coffee and breakfast on the sea deck before setting off on the day’s adventure.
Today this is a walk down the coast and up into the primary rainforest in search of the Red-ruffed lemurs, Dwarf chameleons and other wildlife endemic to this forest. After some hours in the dense forest with the giant hardwoods and majestic tree ferns return to camp by boat for a well-earned lunch and rest.
The afternoon activity could be a snorkel on the nearby coral reefs, rich in diversity, or a guided sea kayak to the look-out rock at the “Secret Cove” for the sun set, with the chance of a close encounter with Bottlenose Dolphin or Green Turtle.
Dinner in the lodge.
A relaxed start to the day and breakfast on the sea deck. Afterwards depart on a guided walk through the coastal forest, in search of more birds and mammals. After a couple of hours walk, take a welcome swim in the crystal clear water of the cascades of the Tampolo River at the foot of the forested mountains.
Return to camp on a traditional dugout canoe paddled down the shady river. After lunch, enjoy a relaxed afternoon swimming on the private beaches or snorkelling on the coral reefs. In the evening enjoy a guided nocturnal walk with the intriguing possibility of seeing some of the secretive nocturnal wildlife such as the Leaf-tailed Gecko, Dwarf and Mouse lemurs and maybe even the elusive Aye-Aye.
Dinner in the lodge.
Breakfast on the sea deck. An exploration by sea kayak or boat of the calm water and fantastic rock formations of Tampolo point. Stop for a swim on the beach at the “Sacred Island” and then kayak into a pristine mangrove and forested river, with the chance of spotting Blue-spotted stingrays in the shallow water or perhaps the Lesser bamboo lemurs crossing the river. After a picnic lunch on the beach, return to camp by kayak or boat, for an evening of entertainment and high spirits with the visit of the traditional Malagasy music and dance group from the local village. Sundowners around the fire on the beach and dinner in the lodge.
Breakfast on the sea deck. Board the boat for the voyage through the Tampolo Marine Reserve to the mouth of the Antalavia River. The forested coastline viewed from the boat is stunningly beautiful, with countless deserted beaches and calm blue sea. On arrival on the beach at Antalavia, board the dingy for the short paddle in the estuary to the cascades of the Antalavia River. Here refreshingly cool, clear water forms perfect swimming pools, over-hung by the lush forest with a chance of seeing White-fronted brown lemurs leaping through the canopy. After a picnic lunch on the beach and a short rest under the trees, you have the choice of returning to camp by boat or on foot. Sundowners around the fire on the beach and dinner in the lodge.
Breakfast on the sea deck.A short guided walk through the coastal forest trails to the rice fields and farm land of the nearby village of Ambodiforaha. This is an opportunity to experience the local Betsimisaraka culture and sustainable way of life in the rainforest. You can visit their traditional houses and kitchens and perhaps see baskets, mats or hats being woven, vanilla, cloves, coffee or rice being prepared and pop in for a quick visit to the village school, co-funded by the lodge. After lunch at the lodge, you have the option of a stroll down the beach to the Tampolo River and a peaceful pirogue trip on the cool shady river to observe the birdlife. Sun downers around the fire on the beach and dinner in the lodge.
A day to spend as you choose – perhaps sun bathing on one of the private beaches, or birding and mammal spotting on the private forest trails at the lodge, or relaxing with a good book and a cold drink in a hammock on your private veranda or the view deck overhanging the sea.
Alternatively, take the opportunity to return to the primary forest in search of more endemic wildlife. Sundowners around the fire on the beach and dinner in the lodge.
An early breakfast on the sea deck. Board the boat for the voyage to the island of Nosy Mangabe.
Once ashore on the densely forested island, explore the network of trails with your guide with a chance of spotting Black and white-ruffed and White-fronted brown lemurs, leaf-tailed geckos and perhaps a Madagascar tree boa. After the visit, you board the boat once more for the voyage to Maroantsetra and transfer to the airport in time for the flight out to Antananarivo with the private charter flight.