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Vakona Forest Lodge
is located in Andasibe
("an-dassy-bay") area in the Eastern
region of Madagascar
Tucked away in a forest clearing some 4km northeast of Andasibe village, this modest lodge is the best option for exploring the local forests.
The lodge is centres on a large hexagonal building containing lounge and dining areas, leading out to a broad terrace overlooking a small lake. There is also a decent swimming pool.
Guest accommodation is in 28 very pleasant rooms ranged across the hillside and up into the forest, some of which are detached bungalows, others are rooms arranged two per block and ten are family suites with loft beds for kids.
Activities are centred on guided walks in both Andasibe and Mantadia national reserves, with a wealth of endemic flora and fauna on show and where there are eleven species of primate, including indris (the largest lemur species), red bellied, brown and lesser bamboo lemurs and diademed sifakas.
The lodge also owns a small island in the river a short drive away which acts as a rehabilitation centre for lemurs, some of which are very habituated, tame in fact, they will sit on your shoulder if invited, providing great photographic opportunities. Night walking safari is also possible. Horse-riding and canoeing are also available.
Access is by road from the capital Antananarivo, a journey of 140km, which takes around four hours. The usual stay duration is 2 to 3 nights.
The main potential downsides are the difficulty of access (especially during the Jan-Mar rainy season), the relatively busy and touristy feel of the Andasibe area, the shortage of availability and the outdoorsy nature of the activities.