Andasibe is a fantastic place to experience Madagascar’s lush endemic rainforest. The highlights are two protected areas, the Perinet Special Reserve and Mantadia National Park. The journey to Andasibe offers first time visitors to Madagascar a gentle introduction to rural life with rice fields, redbrick houses and roadside stalls selling seasonal fruits and vegetables lining the route.
The 810 ha Perinet reserve is one of the best places to see Madagascar’s largest lemur: the Indri. With a barely visible tail, black and white markings and a surprised teddy–bear face, this Lemur is one of the few animals in the world that cannot survive in captivity. Its haunting call can be heard for up to 3km in the forest. There are another 11 species of lemur to spot as you walk through the rainforest. You may find a troop of Grey Bamboo lemurs, Common Brown lemur, Diademed Sifaka. Birdwatchers should look out for the Velvet Asity, Blue Coua and Nuthatch Vanga and many more endemic species. Perinet is home to many reptiles, invertebrates, and some of Madagascar’s over a thousand orchid species.
Mantadia National park comprises virtually untouched primary rainforest and is home to different species than those seen in Perinet. A full day outing is ideal to look for some of the lemur species in this stunning park including the Indri Lemur, Diademed Sifaka, Grey Bamboo Lemur, Red-Bellied Lemur and White Ruffed Lemur. While the trails are slightly more difficult, the rewards are great as the forest is taller, wilder and less crowded than Perinet. There are an abundance of birds including the Scaly Ground Roller, Pitta-Like Ground Roller and Red Breasted Coua. To do justice to Mantadia you need to spend a whole day in the park. This is a naturalist’s goldmine with many seldom seen species of mammals, reptiles and birds.