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Off the Beaten Path in Analamazaotra Special Reserve, Madagascar

March 8, 2022  By: Gretchen

The Analamazaotra Special Reserve is part of the larger Andasibe area in Madagascar and is best known for its exceptional wildlife. Eleven lemur species including the indri, as well as diademed sifaka, rare reptiles and amphibians, and more than 100 bird species call the Andasibe region home. For anyone interested in Madagascar’s incredible endemics, especially its primates, a visit to Analamazaotra is a must. Our guides in the reserve are exceptional and take the experience over the top.


There are several parks and reserves in the vicinity. The very popular Andasibe-Mantadia National Park can be busy, so we recommend visiting Mitsinjo Reserve, a community-run segment of the rainforest that is the best option for travelers to try and see the indri, the largest of the lemurs. Because it is not part of the national park, night activities are allowed. The experience of exploring the rainforest at night with a cacophony of frog song is nothing short of magical! It is also possible to learn about conservation and reforestation efforts in the reserve – you can even plant your own seedling.

Walks to explore the rainforest and to observe the area’s flora and fauna are on well maintained, relatively easy paths and range from one to six hours. Hikers willing to start early might be lucky to hear the eerie wail of the indri echoing through the forest, before possibly spotting one resting in or acrobatically exploring the tree canopy.

“Madagascar was really cool! My favorite experience there was trekking for lemurs & having the chance to see them up close & hearing the really loud calls of the indri indri.” - Grady Redding
boy with chameleon

While this is one of the best places in the world to observe primates, there is also a real thrill in seeing the diversity of birds, amphibians and plants in this amazing pocket of Madagascar’s biodiversity.

Vakona Forest Lodge

Situated on the edge of the Analamazaotra Forest, Vakona Forest Lodge is a rainforest retreat ensconced by stunning and exuberant nature and is our top pick for AAC travelers visiting the reserve.

Twenty-eight comfortable bungalows; each with en suite bathrooms, covered verandahs and four poster beds; are dotted throughout the lush forest. Each enjoys fresh breezes and forest views from large windows. The lodge’s restaurant boasts more gorgeous views, a cozy fireplace and delicious meals that are on offer all day.

Amenities include bungalows designed just for families, a swimming pool, children’s playground, a lounge offering ping-pong or billiards and more. Vakona Forest Lodge also offers its own hiking trails, horseback riding, a crocodile farm and is home to ‘Lemur Island,’ a lemur sanctuary with access that is exclusive to lodge guests. Visits to the reserve, a leisurely canoe ride down the river and night walks in the forest are among the unforgettable adventures that guests can enjoy.

brown lemur

The Analamazaotra Special Reserve is an incredibly rewarding destination that is easily accessible, especially by Madagascar standards. In a country with an abundance of things to see and experience, a visit is a must for any wildlife enthusiast. Contact one of our Journey Specialists to plan your customized Madagascar safari.

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