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Ifotaka Community Forest

Ifotaka is a community-managed forest reserve protecting 22,000 ha of spiny thicket and gallery forest in the remote south of Madagascar. With two distinctive forest types including the most unusual forest on Earth, 5 species of lemur, and scores of rare endemic birds and reptiles, the wildlife experience here is outstanding.
This little-known forest reserve features a strange and ethereal habitat found nowhere else on the planet: the spiny thicket. It's so bizarre that biologists can't decide whether it's a forest or a desert, hence its name. 95% of the plants in this almost alien habitat are totally unique. It features two of Madagascar's most celebrated characters - the famed dancing sifakas (recently appearing on BBC's Planet Earth 2) and perhaps the most iconic of all lemurs, the cartoon-like ring-tailed. 

Walk amongst prehistoric octopus trees in the otherworldly spiny thicket in the early morning to spot rare endemic birds such as the gorgeous crested coua, the oddball hook-billed vanga, and the highly localised giant coua. Explore sacred forests where the ancestral tombs of the Antandroy tribe are interspersed with 500 year-old giant baobab trees. Wander amongst a totally unfamiliar landscape of strange plants that host feeding sunbirds, paradise flycatchers and noisy vasa parrots; there really is nothing else remotely like this habitat on Earth. No trip to Madagascar is complete without spotting the country's two most notorious lemur species: the Verreaux's sifaka and the ring-tailed lemur. Both can be seen at Ifotaka. Watch as the Verreaux's launches from one thorn-clad octopus tree to the next with total ease, then as they 'dance' on two feet across stretches of open ground. You will find the ring-taileds in the sacred gallery forest along the Mandrare River, access by boat from the River Camp, where large troops of play in plain sight.

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Ifotaka Community Forest: where to stay


Mandrare River Camp

: The excellent solar-powered Mandrare River Camp offers seven luxurious semi-permanent tents beside the Mandrare River, with fantastic access to the spiny forest and the wide variety of wildlife within it.  Accommodation, food and service are all of a very high standard; various activities and cultural visits are available.

AT A GLANCE

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Map of Madagascar

Map of Madagascar Madagascar - Ifotaka Community Forest Madagascar - Isalo National Park Madagascar - Tsingy De Bemaraha Madagascar - Montagne Dambre Madagascar - Ankarana Special Reserve Madagascar - Anjajavy Peninsula Madagascar - Perinet Special Reserve Madagascar - Mantadia National Park Madagascar - Zombitse National Park Madagascar - Reniala Private Reserve Madagascar - Morondava Madagascar - Beaches And Islands Madagascar - Miavana Private Island Madagascar - Princesse Bora