Established by the French in 1958, Montagne d'Ambre (Amber Mountain) National Park comprises a 8,500-ha volcanic massif and its surrounding forests. This is now one of the country’s best examples of ecotourism which invites local community participation in planning and management.
Amber mountain erupts into the clouds and forms a high elevation island of montane rainforest. Thousands of acres of mist-drenched tangled forest are home to extraordinary plant and animal life, much of it found nowhere else. The sight of huge ferns and ancient figs dripping with moss and lichen is one to behold. You will look for the endangered, highly localised Sanford’s brown lemur, the attractive crowned lemur, and the chestnut-red ring-tailed mongoose. Night walks might, with some luck, yield a sighting of Madagascar's largest predator, the tree-climbing, lemur-hunting fossa, or the rare Amber mountain fork-marked lemur, endemic to this mountain. This is a top birding spot, with the stunning blue and red Amber mountain rock thrush, found only in this forest. Other treats include Madagascar crested ibis, Madagascar paradise flycatcher, blue pigeons and rare ground-dwelling ground-rollers (both pitta-like and long-tailed).
Visitors can’t miss three dramatic waterfalls: Cascade Sacré, Cascade d’Antankarana and Cascade d’Antomboka. En route you will spot abundant wildlife and incredible flora while learning about the local Malagasy customs from your guide. This is one of the most visitor-friendly of the island’s protected areas with broad trails and a cooler climate.
Montagne d'Ambre National Park: where to stay
The Litchi Tree
: With just 5 rooms, The Litchi Tree
is a beautifully-renovated old colonial mansion set at the edge of the national park, with lovely views over the Mozambique Channel.