Northern Madagascar stretches from Antananarivo to Diego Suarez (Antsiranana) but as the road journey is a long and arduous one, the 1 hour flight from Tana is highly recommended.
Named after a Portuguese captain who arrived here in 1543, Diego Suarez (or Antsiranana as it’s known in Malagasy) is the fifth largest town in Madagascar. The harbour is encircled by hills and is set on a small promontory jutting into a large bay that forms one of the finest natural harbours in the Indian Ocean.
Situated 40km south of Diego is one of the country’s primary rainforest areas, Amber Mountain National Park. With wide trails, fascinating flora and fauna, and a pleasant climate it is one of the most visitor friendly, and one of the most visited reserves in Madagascar. The best place to stay when visiting the park is Joffreville, a French colonial style village that is situated approximately 4km from the park’s entrance.
Ankify, a tiny fishing village, is a nice place to stop en route to Ankarana National Park. The area is known for having a number of cocoa, vanilla and ylang ylang plantations and as you drive towards the national park you will pass rural villages with makeshift roadside market stalls
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"Seeing animals unique to Madagascar in their natural environment and able to photograph them as they fed and interacted with each other [was inspirational]. The tour guide, Tokey, had an amazing knowledge of all of the wildlife, plants - latin names included - and the history of the country and its people and customs."