Ifotaka Community Forest
Ifotaka is a community managed forest reserve protecting 22,000 ha of spiny forest and gallery forest in the remote south of the island. Very few tourists venture here and it is incredibly rewarding to be off the beaten track: you will experience the authentic and wild Madagascar that enchanted early explorers. With two distinctive forest types, 5 species of lemur, including the Verreaux’s Sifaka and Ring-tailed Lemurs, countless birds and reptiles, the wildlife experience here is outstanding.
Walk amongst the octopus trees in the otherworldly landscape of the spiny forest in the early morning to spot the many endemic birds such as Crested Coua, Vangas and Running Coua. Explore sacred forests where the ancestral tombs of the Antandroy tribe are interspersed with 500 year old baobab trees, inquisitive lemurs and an extraordinary array of flora and fauna, unique to the spiny forest. The sacred gallery forest along the Mandrare River is home to large troops of playful Ring-tail lemurs; the forest is accessed by boat from Mandrare River Camp. Night walks are a fantastic way to see diurnal lemurs bedding down, and the nocturnal lemurs begin to wake in the eerie and prehistoric Spiny Forest. You will spot Sifakas and sleeping White-foot Sportive Lemurs, then once the sun has set, two mouse lemur species, sleeping birds, chameleons, owls and now active Sportive lemurs.
The Camp also organizes visits to the colourful local market as well as schools and clinics that they sponsor. Nearby there is a local version of the ‘Avenue of the Baobabs’ where sundowners are served. Watching the sun set and moon rise with a view across the Baobabs to the mountains beyond is a magical experience. In the evening the local village may come to perform beautiful traditional dances, accompanied by singing and music. Song and dance is at the heart of Antandroy culture and is used to accompany the major rituals and events of everyday life.