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Ambatovaky Special Reserve

Map Ambatovaky This isolated special reserve is located in the East part of Madagascar and was established in 1958. It is the largest Special Reserve in Madagascar: the total area of the park covers 600 km² of virgin low-altitude rainforest comprised between the Marimbona and the Simianona Rivers. The landscape is hilly being some of the hills over one thousand meters high. Waterfalls pour on the steep walls of gorges and valleys covered by humid rain forest. The reserve offers great trekking paths, real nature experiences and a good chance to meet Betsimisaraka people and experience their culture and way of living.

There are 11 species of lemurs, including aye-aye, indri, diademed sifaka and black and white ruffed lemur. Ambatovaky is also a hot spot for birdwatchers. More than 100 birds species, like the extremely rare Madagascar serpent-eagle, can be observed inside the park. Tenrecs, chameleons, frogs, fishes and insects complete the wide animal variety.
Concerning the flora, more than 70% of the 300 species growing here are endemic. 

The quite rough park access and its isolated location makes this place a perfect destination for real nature lovers. Soanierana Ivongo is the start point for a trip to Ambatovaky. The road until here is in good condition all year around. Taxi-brousses have daily connections to Tamatave (around 3 – 4 hours).
Once here things are a little harder: access is only by motor boat on the Marimboana River until the village of Fotsialana (about 4 hours) and from here you have to continue on foot one or two days (which is not possible during the rainy season). 
Another possibility is taking a boat until a place called Ambodiriana (up to 7 hours) and then walk another hole day.

Diademed sifaka
  Diademed sifaka: as beautiful as endangered  © Gail Johnson

Like on almost every protected area in Madagascar, the ecosystem survival is threatened by the precarious conditions of the people living next to the park, the Betsimisaraka, the second largest ethnic group in the island after the Merina. They need more and more space for their cattle (slash and burn is still a wide spread habit) and for growing rice and other vegetables in order to maintain a rapidly increasing population. Therefore, they are obliged to find new ways to earn a living, what unfortunately sometimes means cutting precious woods or poaching endangered species inside the park boundaries.

There are quite a lot of “faddys” in the region around Ambatovaky. For the Betsimisaraka people it is forbidden to eat goat or pork meat, as well as frogs and some lemur species (this is maybe one reason for the relative high density of  both populations inside the park).

Accommodation facilities are only basic, even at Soanierana Ivongo.

The Park Office is located in Soanierana Ivongo. Here you will get all necessary information to start your expedition to the Reserve.

CR : RAKOTOMANANA Fidelis
Phone. : + (261 32) 04 923 05
Email : tmv.parks@gmail.com