Mananara Nord National Park

Map Mananara Mananara Nord National Park lies 250 km north of Tamatave and comprises a terrestrial area of 240 km² and a marine park of about 1000 km². It was established in 1989 and it is also included on the list of the UNESCO Biosphere Reserves. The number of visitors in the terrestrial part is still quite low, so you will find a pretty untouched and virgin area which includes deep valleys, rocky formations and waterfalls. The vegetation is formed by tropical humid forest, mangroves, marshlands and littoral and river plants. The marine section is formed by several small islands and coral reefs. The Betsimisaraka and the Tsimihety are the main ethnic groups of this region. They are farmers growing rice, coffee, vanilla and clove.
Mananara Nord gives shelter to a remarkable variety of fauna. Small mammals are especially well represented: 17 rodents and 13 lemur species live in these humid forests, such as aye-aye, eastern woolly lemur, brown mouse lemur and the biggest of all lemurs, the indri. Indeed the indri population of the park is much darker than other groups living further south. Besides 77 birds like Red-tailed Vanga, helmet Vanga and Madagascar kestrel, 21 reptiles and 8 amphibian species share the different ecosystems of the terrestrial part. black indri The Indris of the northern part of Madagascar are almost completely black.   © Koffiemetkoek

The flora is even richer, since naturalists have already recorded more than 1200 different plants here. Palm trees (47 species) and tropical flowers including some local endemic orchids are representative of this magnificent forest.

The marine reserve comprises coral reefs (some in a pretty bad condition) with 132 different coral species. Divers can find over 180 fish species and more than 100 molluscs and echinoderms. Humpback whales are also easy to see between July and September and if you are really lucky you might see a dugong.

The circuits established are longer than in other National Parks and take almost the whole day, so bring enough water, a raincoat and suitable trekking clothes.
The Verezanantsoro and the Ivontaka circuits are 15 to 20 km trails going up through the tropical forest and some vanilla and clove plantations looking for lemurs, birds and reptiles. Fee 10,000 Ar
The Varary circuit is the hardest of all. It takes two days and goes up through the forest while you can enjoy several splendid views over the National Park. Fee 10,000 per day plus porters.

You can also make a boat trip to a small island called Nosy Antafana to visit a huge colony of bats and sea birds, mangrove forest, enjoy the spectacular beaches and of course dive into the coral reefs. There is a simple accommodation in the island and camping is allowed.

Dugongs  can reach up to 3 m and weigh 280 k. © Matthijs
The climate is humid with frequent rains and warm temperatures all over the year. You should avoid the cyclone season from November to March to visit the north-east part of the country.

The Park is accessible all the year round by road or by boat. It lies next to the terrible coastal road between Mananara in the north and Soanierana Ivongo in the south. Take the bifurcation at a village called Antanambe and drive 8 km through a bad ground road until the Park Entrance.
There is a taxi-brousse connection from Tamatave which can drop you at Antanambe too.
Another way to reach Mananara Nord is by ship from Mananara (2 to 4 hours depending on the boat) or Antanambe (1 hour). Transfers are every day. 
Some eco-lodges run by the local communities are being built at present at some villages like Antanambao Mandrisy and Sahasoa. They work together with the Park management trying to implement a sustainable tourism in the region as well as developing communal projects.
Camping is permitted inside the Par, in fact there are several campsites with very basic facilities.
Some better accommodations are found in Mananara.

There are two local Park offices, one in Mananara and a smaller one in Antanambe.
If you want to plan your visit in advance, visit the office in Tana:

Parc National Mananara-Nord
Bureau de Liaison à Antananarivo :
c/o Siège Madagascar National Parks à Ambatobe
Phone : + (261 20)22 415 38 / + (261 20) 22 418 83
 Email : pnmnra@angap.mg  mnr@madagascar.national.parks.mg