is located in the Northern
region of Madagascar
The town of Diego Suarez, also known as Antsiranana, is the fourth largest in the country. It is a blend of faded colonial outpost and bustling modern hub. Most international visitors don't stay in the town itself, but pass through on the way to nearby areas of interest.
The town sits on a very large inlet around which there are some modest beach resorts, but the more interesting coastline is on the eastern side where there is some excellent diving and kite-surfing, although very much aimed at a budget market.
The outstanding beach accommodation in the area is the extremely high end Miavana
, which is set on a fabulous private island off the east coast and accessed by helicopter either from Diego Suarez or Nosy Be
The most popular way to visit this area is to fly into Diego Suarez and then overland southwest through the following areas, to end up a the beach lodges of the Nosy Be
Around 35km south of town lies the Montagne de l'Ambre National Reserve, a volcanic massif shrouded in rich tropical forest. Established way back in 1958, the park covers 182 square kilometres, with a network of streams, waterfalls and lakes. An excellent network of trails enables visitors to experience the impressive flora and fauna, with habituated populations of Sanford's brown lemurs and crowned lemurs. The reserve is also home to the world's smallest chameleon, a wide range of birds and some stunning rare orchids.
The best accommodation is at Le Domaine de Fontenay
and The Litchi Tree
, both in the nearby settlement of Joffreville.
Another 35km further south lies Ankarana National Reserve, a large limestone massif of around 50 square kilometres which is best known for its impressive 'tsingy' limestone erosion platforms. These formations are surrounded and punctuated by deciduous forest, which is unusual in Madagascar, home to a good range of unusual flora and fauna. Endemic mammals include several species of lemur. Some interesting trails lead through dramatic rock formations to secret forest enclaves, hidden lakes and mysterious caverns.
The best accommodations are at the excellent Ankarana Lodge
and Iharana Bush Camp