Mantadia National park comprises virtually-untouched primary rainforest. It is the more intact, secluded version of its near neighbour Perinet Special Reserve, and as a result hosts some a very different suite of special species.
To do justice to Mantadia you really need to spend a whole day in the park. Mantadia offers some of the best encounters in Madagascar with the country's largest lemur, the Indri, as well as some of the lesser-seen species including the beautiful diademed sifaka, the grey bamboo lemur, the red-bellied Lemur and the stunningly attractive humbug-coloured black-and-white ruffed lemur.
Few reserves can offer such a good chance of encounters with so many sought-after lemurs. While the trails are slightly more difficult, the rewards are great as the old-growth forest is far more pristine, diverse and impressive than Perinet. There is top-level birding here, with several ground-roller species (including the rare pitta-like and scaly), as well as other endemic rainforest specialities including red-breasted coua, pygmy kingfisher and white-throated rail. Mantadia is truly a naturalists goldmine with many seldom-seen species of mammals, reptiles and birds. For a less crowded, wilder experience than Perinet, Mantadia warrants the trip.
Mantadia National Park: where to stay
Vakona Forest Lodge
: With 28 bungalows set in a forest on the edge of a lake, Vakona Forest Lodge
offers a wide range of activities including kayaking, horse riding and visits to Lemur Island, a small reserve with several species of habituated lemurs.