A Natural Heritage

The Ankatsabe forest is home to highly-valued fauna and flora species. Managed by the local community since 2001, it became a treasure for researchers and nature lovers. Ninety percent of the animals and plants in this forest are endemic and 66 percent of the plants have medicinal properties.
Ankatsabe is a community of about 10,000 residents, northeast of Majunga. Despite the influences of modern practices and the pressures by migrants, the Sakalava have been able to preserve their traditions and their natural heritage of various ecosystems
containing endemic and rare biodiversity.
After four years of monitoring and observing, the Ankatsabe forest has been classified by researchers at Oxford University as one of the dry forests with the highest degree of preservation when compared with other Malagasy forests. During the day, you can cross paths not only with five species of lemur, most often with the propithecus coquereli, eullemur mangoz, lemur or lepilemur, but also with many types of birds, endemic snakes, countless kinds of reptiles and amphibians and the discovery of plants like the baudouinia fluggeifiormis or mpanjakabenitany. The plants with the fragrances still used by the Malagasy to break bad spells (motrobe antintanana or cinnamosma frangrans), also grow in this forest.
At night, the smallest lemurs (microcebes), which are a nocturnal species, are active, as are various reptiles such as geckos uroplatus, chameleons, lizards, and snakes like the sanzinia madagascariensis, and the fandrefiala, both extremely rare and hard to find. A tour of 1.3km (2 hours) is proposed for nocturnal animal lovers.
This article was featured in Prime Magazine October 2018

Useful Information

When to go

Mahajanga is characterized by a savannah climate with dry winters. The rainfall is much greater in summer than in winter. Over the year, the average temperature is 26.9°C. The site is accessible throughout the year by boat, but visits via the trails are most advisable from March to December.

How to get there

By Air Madagascar to Majunga from the capital. The village of Mariarano then lies 83km from Majunga. To get to the village it is advisable to drive by 4WD or quad. You will need about two and a half hours.

Where to stay

Choose from the following: Zahamotel Hotel, Baobab Tree Hotel, Sunny Hotel, Antsahanitia Hotel, Red Rocks or Coco Lodge

Where to eat

When visiting the forest, we advise you to eat at Papi Râleur's or at your hotel's restaurant. Enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of the Petite Cour or Karon.

What to see

Take the opportunity of your visit to learn about basketry from local women (mats, baskets) and visit the production of betsa (local brandy). At the end of your tour, take a walk around the village of Mariarano to meet with the locals.