Accommodation, Northern Madagascar

EcoLodge Chez Arol

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This very simple but friendly and rustic lodge is located adjacent to a golden-sand beach with secondary rainforest behind. It is within walking distance of the Masoala National Park and the primary rainforest with many walking trails to explore.

Accommodation is in wooden huts under thatched roofs made from local ravinala palm. The beds are simple but have mosquito nets and there is a small veranda to enjoy the sights and sounds of the forest from. There is a private toilet and with limited hot water showers (sometimes power cuts affect the supply) are available. Please note that there is no air-conditioning or fans in the room, but there is a regular sea breeze here to keep cool. The lodge is also very close to a small local village and there can sometimes be a little noise at the weekends.

As it is such a remote location electricity is solar powered and lighting is provided in the rooms only at certain times. There is a communal dining room with small library and bar with a good selection of locally sourced food provided for meals.

The Masoala peninsula protects the last remaining extensive coastal lowland rainforest in Madagascar. Given World Heritage Site status in June 2007 and accessible only by boat, the reserve boasts staggering biodiversity and a wide variety of habitats: lowland primary rainforest, littoral forest, marsh, flooded forest, mangrove and coral reefs.

Rainforest wildlife here can naturally be less conspicuous than in open habitats and the trails tend be a little steeper. However, this is one of the most rewarding areas of Madagascar for an immersive wildlife and nature experience. Highlights of Masoala include watching the beautiful red-ruffed lemur leaping through the canopy, inquisitive Northern bamboo lemurs feeding at eye level, tenrecs snuffling through the leaf litter, spotting superbly camouflaged leaf-tailed geckos and the spectacular helmet vanga, Madagascar’s most sought after bird.

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EcoLodge Chez Arol -15.712062, 49.964028

Facilities

Simple en suite rooms with mosquito nets and solar heated hot water showers. There is a cosy communal dining room and electricity supplied by generator between 6pm and 9 pm each evening only. There is no phone reception, Wi-Fi or modern amenities here.

Local Wildlife

Masoala's star species is the locally endemic red-ruffed lemur which can fairly easily seen. Other lemur species include the Northern bamboo, white-fronted brown, Masoala woolly, sportive and mouse lemurs and the greater dwarf lemur. Both greater hedgehog and lowland streaked tenrecs and the ring-tailed vontsira are all common. Reptile and frog diversity is the highest in all of Madagascar with the Uroplatus fimbriatus, leaf-tailed gecko very numerous, this species is perhaps the world’s most camouflaged lizard. Colourful day geckos, panther, Parson's and several Brookesia chameleons, boas and frogs such as the Madagascar reed frogs (Heterixalus) and white-lipped tree frog can all be seen. The birdlife is also special with the headline species being the stunning helmet vanga and other species include the Bernier's vanga, Madagascar pratincole, scaly and short-legged ground rollers, red-breasted coua and elusive Madagascar serpent eagle. From July to early September, humpback whales can be seen offshore in the Bay of Atongil and bottle-nosed dolphins, green turtles and many reef fish all year round.

Optional Activities

Hikes and wildlife spotting in the Masoala National Park. Visits to the local village, snorkelling and boat trips and multi day camping expeditions can also be arranged.

Ian Loyd

Area Specialist

If you have any questions regarding our Madagascar tours, please feel free to contact me on +44 (0)1803 866965

Having recently returned from a truly memorable 3 weeks in Madagascar we wanted to express our sincerest thanks to you Helen, and all at Reef and Rainforest for arranging such a superb wildlife viewing experience.

As you are aware, we were particularly keen to see and photograph the fosa. At Kirindy forest we actually encountered 3. Despite the rather challenging accommodation we would highly recommend the Kirindy experience to all those wanting an exceptional primate viewing experience.
Overall our lemur species/subspecies count was 22 and other notable sightings included 2 species of mongoose, giant jumping rats, a huge Madagascar ground boa, humpback whales and the Madagascar fish eagle.

Every detail of the trip from start to finish was superbly well arranged and managed, which cannot be easy in a country with such complex problems. Well done Helen.

All aspects of the trip were outstanding. Wildlife, people, culture and geography. We will certainly return again to visit the north of the island and return to paradise, Anjajavy.

This was our second trip with Reef and Rainforest and I cannot speak highly enough of your company. I would recommend your services to any natural world/wildlife enthusiast. Thank you again.

Mrs A & Mr J W, Selkirk