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Iharana Bush Camp
is located in the Diego Suarez
area in the Northern
region of Madagascar
Ankarana National Reserve is 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 lodge is set in an agricultural area to the southwest of the main reserve, around a lake and with views across to a smaller tsingy outcrop. It is centred on a very pleasant main building with lounge and dining areas, leading out to a nice swimming pool.
Guest accommodation is in a total of 16 rather pleasant thatched structures with bathrooms downstairs and bedroom upstairs.
Activities include guided walks into the main reserve to experience the areas wonderful endemic flora and fauna, including several species of lemur, a wide range of birds and various types of chameleons, lizards and snakes. There is also canoeing on the lake, a modest via ferrata and caving experience at Azala, a more extensive underground experience at Mandresy Cave (including large stalagmites, blind fish and Roussette fruit bats), mountain biking, cultural visits to local Mahavavy villages and night walks around the edge of the local tsingys. For guests staying three or more nights, a leisurely private lunch can be arranged at Nosy Ihanrana, a small peninsular on the lake around five minutes by canoe from the main lodge. There is also a massage service at the lodge.
Access is by road, usually as a stop on the overland journey from Nosy Be to Diego Suarez. The usual stay duration is two to three nights.
The main potential downsides at Iharana Bush Camp are the difficulty of access (especially during the Dec/Apr green season, when the local roads can be come very difficult), the shortage of availability, the simplicity of the lodge (especially the beds with their old-fashioned mosquito nets, the outdoorsy and subtle nature of the activities, with the main animals being relatively elusive.