Manafiafy Beach and Rainforest Lodge
Located 3.5 – 4 hours’ drive northeast of Fort Dauphin in the beautiful, sheltered bay of St Luce, Manafiafy Lodge offers barefoot luxury, privacy, excellent service and a chance to truly unwind. It is located close to the village of the same name where the Manafiafy village, where the French explorers first landed in 1641.
Built with ecological principles and social responsibility in mind, it is entirely solar-powered and solar hot water systems supply all of the lodge’s requirements without the need for electricity. There is also a large tree-planting project underway and food is sourced locally as far as possible, be that fruit and vegetables or fresh lobster and fish from the bay. The lodge has also forged links with the local school to assist in their educational programmes and guests are encouraged to visit and share their experiences with the village children.
The 9 bungalows are all discreetly tucked into the forest, just a few feet from the calm blue waters of the bay. The bungalows are predominantly made from local materials: wood, ravinala and stone: only the windows show a hint of the modern world. There is also a large two bedroom family room, ideal for a family escape.
All the spacious bungalows are en-suite with hot and cold running water, showers, flush toilets, mosquito nets and a safe in the room. Lighting is 12V solar but there is a 220V converter plug in every room for charging electrical items. Please note that there is no Wi-Fi at the lodge due to the remote location and they can only take payments in cash. Each bungalow has a large, private wooden-decked terrace with 270-degree sea views, sun beds, outdoor shower and a hammock with stunning views out across the bay. There is also a table and chairs for those wishing to dine in the privacy of their own terrace.
Meals are taken in the open sided Ravinala thatched bar/dining area where there is a large sunken fireplace and chimney with soft cushions to relax around on cooler winter nights. Outside seating is perfectly placed to enjoy the sunset. All transfers, laundry, meals, soft and alcoholic drinks are included in the rate (only champagne is an extra).
The lodge offers a host of activities (which operate in a small group of maximum 6 with an expert English-speaking guide) which are included in the cost:
Day and night walks in the littoral rainforest which is found around the lodge, where it is possible to find fat-tailed dwarf lemurs, southern rufous mouse lemurs, Fleurete’s sportive lemurs and the highly endangered red-collared brown lemurs and southern woolly lemurs, plus many reptiles such as Brookesia chameleons, various species of snakes, day geckos, satantic and mossy leaf-tailed geckos, hairy forest crabs, Boophis tree frogs and excellent forest birding.
Trips into the mangroves and wetlands by motorboat or kayak are a must for birders as the fresh and mangrove water attract sea and wading birds as well as abundant forest species and crocodiles.
Whale watching from the 15ft wooden observation tower (in season – mid-late June to mid-November)
Canoeing and kayaking in the mangroves and the bay (two- and three-person canoes are available for use by guests)
Boat trips to the nearby islands for a picnic lunch and snorkelling, including all snorkelling equipment
Visits to the local market and the village school
Optional activities (at extra cost) include whale-watching by motorboat and fishing – trawling and deep sea (dependent on season and sea conditions)
Restaurant, bar, whale observation tower, en suite facilities, hammocks, air-conditioning and laundry service is included of free charge. Please note that there is no Wi-Fi at the lodge and they can only accept payment in cash (Ariary, Euros, USD or GBP).
There is a woodwork shop for handmade souvenirs, sunken seating with fireplace and kayaks for guests in the main lodge.
Various lemurs including the collared brown, southern woolly, fat-tailed dwarf, Fleurete's sportive lemur and southern rufous mouse lemur. Several species of chameleons including Brookesia's, two species of leaf-tailed geckos and many endemic frogs, snakes and insects can be seen on night walks. While bird highlights include the Madagascar pygmy kingfisher and Frances's sparrowhawk. Humpback whales are frequently seen from mid-June to early November – there is a purpose-built observation tower from which to view these leviathans from the shore. Interesting flora includes the locally endemic Ravinala palm, commonly known as the traveller’s palm and many orchids and mangroves.
Motorboat excursions to see the whales at closer quarters can be booked at reasonable cost, depending on sea state beyond the shelter of the bay. Optional half-day deep sea fishing is also offered in addition to all the activities included in the rate.
This is the sister property of the Mandrare River Camp and the two lodges make for a perfect combination, offering superb accommodation and service in very contrasting habitats.
If you have any questions regarding our Madagascar tours, please feel free to contact me on +44 (0)1803 866965
Quite a surprise! Much more beautiful than it looks from the website. Well managed, with very charming staff.