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Northern Madagascar Highlights

The Northern part of Madagascar is well-known for its diversity of landscapes, vegetation, interesting national parks, Nosy Be archipelago and the truly tropical climate. This region offers the most ideal seaside scenery and some of the best of snorkelling, while maintaining a tempting offer to explore the national parks.

The north east coast of Madagascar is the centre for vanilla farming and often in combination with coconut plantations, creating an aromatic ambience quite unique to the area. The Amber Mountain National Park is located in the north consisting of roughly 18 200 hectares of distinctive volcano massif and creates a beautiful scenery with tropical rainforest, waterfalls and lakes.

Additionally, northern Madagascar has the Ankarana Reserve, which is a natural reserve with subterranean rivers and an evergreen forest canopy. This is where visitors will be amazed by the sharp "Tsingy" rock formations, peeking through the green treetops. 

Sun Safaris Says

The north of Madagascar is known to possess truly tropical weather with perfect beaches and forests. Premier hiking trails, wildlife and bird-watching, snorkelling, diving and exploring are available.

Nature lovers and historic enthusiasts will find equal appreciation in the north of Madagascar, from quiet beauty to one-of-a-kind natural formations, like the Tsingy rocks.

The northern part of Madagascar is one of the country's most multi-ethnic regions, consisting of Muslim, African, Indian, Arabic and French, as well as the local Antakarana.

Nosy Be is Madagascar's largest, most popular holiday resort. It is surrounded by smaller islands like Nosy Komba, Nosy Tanikely and Nosy Sakatia, each of which is an incomparable tropical paradise.

 

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Safari Lodges within Northern Madagascar

La Note Bleue

La Note Bleue is located in a destination of dreams known as the City of Seven Hills. The hotel is inspired by the extraordinary landscape, offering superb outdoor recreational activities and renowned spa treatments. Standard rooms and suites accommodate in style, boasting sea views.

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Domaine De Fontenay

Domaine De Fontenay is a country house hotel on the outskirts of Joffreville, a short drive from Amber Mountain National Park in the Antsiranana Province of northern Madagascar. Le Domaine de Fontenay is reputed as one of the best lodges in Madagascar.

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The Grand Hotel

Located in the centre town of Antsiranana, the Grand Hotel invites guests to discover its wonderful charm and impeccable services. Offering accommodation in both standard and luxury rooms with 3 restaurants and a variety of activity options on offer; including visits to national parks, perfect beach...

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Litchi Tree Lodge

This beautiful property was built in 1902 and after having stood empty for years, it has been lovingly restored it to its former glory and into a boutique hotel. The Litchi Tree Lodge is an old French colonial house located in Joffreville, only 4km from the entrance to the Amber Mountain National Pa...

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Hotel Relais de l'Ankarana

Situated just 2 minutes from the eastern entrance of Ankarana Park, Hotel Relais de l’Ankarana is the perfect place to stay for an exploration of northern Madagascar. The hotel is set overlooking vast savannahs and the small restaurant offers good panoramic views.

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Northern Madagascar on display

Northern Madagascar Activities

A visit to northern Madagascar alone is rewarding enough for some people. Such a diverse region is brim-full of activities that incorporate the pristine beaches as well as the tropical nature reserves and unique forests. From snorkelling to guided walks, bird-watching and observing the lemurs, chameleons and snakes; holiday makers are bound to enjoy the exploration that awaits.

The lakes and waterfalls of the Amber Mountain National Park are a vision of wonder, while the forest of trees amaze with their Amber-covered bark. The Tsingy limestone formations and grottos in Ankarana present glorious hiking and wildlife viewing opportunities.

Premier hiking destinations, montane rainforests, crater lakes and ancient volcano massifs.  A slightly thrilling addition to Madagascar placid charm is the presence of crocodiles at the seaport Antsiranana, which is found at the most northern point of the island. Explore the network of caves and underground rivers in the Ankarana Special Reserve, about 108 km south of Antsiranana.

Northern Madagascar Seasons and Climate

The climate of Madagascar is tropical along the coast, temperate inland, and arid in the south creating a variety of completely different biomes and a diverse ecology.

The combination of south-eastern trade winds and north-western monsoons produces a hot, rainy season from November to April and a relatively cooler dry season between May and October.

The heavy precipitation due to the rain clouds that form over the Indian Ocean support the area's rainforest ecosystem along the east coast of the island. The central highlands are both drier and cooler, while the west is drier still.

A semi-arid climate prevails in the southwest and southern interior of the island. The best time to visit Madagascar is during the drier May to October period, so as to avoid the risk of monsoon season. Potential floods see the closure of many camps.

Top Destinations

Domaine de Fontenay is a country house hotel on the outskirts of Joffreville, a short drive from Amber Mountain National Park in the Antsiranana Province. Top achiever of Madagascar’s prestigious 2007-2008 Green Label award, Domaine de Fontenay is reputed as one of the best lodges in Madagascar.

La Note Bleue is located in a destination of dreams known as the City of Seven Hills. The hotel is inspired by the extraordinary landscape, offering superb outdoor recreational activities and renowned spa treatments.

Situated just 2 minutes from the eastern entrance of Ankarana Park, Hotel Relais de l’Ankarana is the perfect place to stay for an exploration of northern Madagascar. The intimate family-run hotel boasts spectacular views, and the serene setting and excellent service ensure that all guests are treated to a memorable holiday experience. 

How to Get There

Sun Safaris can arrange scheduled flights for visitors to Madagascar. Ivato International Airport is an airport located in Antananarivo (Tana), the capital of Madagascar. Ivato Airport is main hub for Air Madagascar and the majority of flights around the island originate from here, which is a good thing considering the bad state of the roads. Besides the big cities, lots of little hamlets are also served via light air transfers.

By road is the only inexpensive way to get around, but Madagascar's roads are mostly very poor quality (except for two routes leading in and out of Tana). These road excursions will take guests into beautiful forested areas; however, if there is a time limit on the journey, travellers should be reminded that these trips will take a while longer than expected.

There are not many direct routes on land and the many small towns are accessible via one road only, meaning guests should be advised on which routes to take should they be self-driving. The best option is light air transfer to destinations on the island.

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Meet The Sun Safaris Team

Meet Natasha

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Our expertise in African travel comes from years of experience travelling the continent, canoeing the rivers, walking the bush trails, and seeing the stars. We've been on the game drives and watched the sunsets, spent nights wrapped up in remote areas, and eaten great food around the fire. Our recommendations come first-hand, and they are your assurance that a safari booked with us is one we know you'll love, because we did.

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