Mandrare River Camp
Situated in the remote southeast of Madagascar, Mandrare River Camp is a luxury, tented lodge on the banks of the Mandrare River in the ancestral lands of the Antandroy, possibly the fiercest and most traditional tribe in Madagascar (but friendly to visitors). Experience the rich, unspoilt culture and the iconic wildlife of the remote off the beaten track region.
The journey from Fort Dauphin to reach this extraordinary camp can take 4 hours and is very bumpy due to the state of the road but is very interesting but charter flights are also possible.
Accommodation in an African-style safari tent, with a veranda with two canvas safari chairs and a small table. The solid-built bathroom section is attached to the rear of the tent and includes a shower area, toilet and washstand with basin. Hot water for the basin and shower is solar heated. The lodge now also features a swimming pool for cooling off in after a walk in the hot spiny forest. Service is very attentive and always friendly with drinks (including all alcoholic drinks except Champagne) included at all times, and high-quality meals are wonderfully prepared and presented. Normally a cooling breeze ensures the shaded camp is quite pleasant during the heat of the day and quite a few species of reptile and frog can be found in the lodge grounds itself.
Excursions are flexible according to guests’ interests but operate in small groups (to a maximum of 6) and include guided walks in the local spiny forest and riverine (gallery) forest to see the endemic wildlife in the mornings and late afternoons – good for escaping the heat of the sun too. Nocturnal walks are also offered for the fascinating nocturnal species found here.
The strange forest here contains many endemic plants adapted to the arid conditions and is dominated by the thorny Didiereacae, or octopus, trees and the local baobab, Andansonia rubrostipa (fony).
The local Antandroy tribe that inhabit this region are fascinating to interact with and are largely unaffected by the outside world, holding onto their strong beliefs and living very naturally. The forest and associated wildlife here are preserved by the people themselves who hold them sacred as resting places for their ancestors.
The lodge hosts often arrange magical evening sundowners amidst the baobabs for guests around a fire. Watching the sun set and moon rise with a view across the Baobabs to the mountains beyond is a magical experience. Local villages often also come to perform beautiful traditional dances, accompanied by singing and music.
Dining tent, private bathrooms and solar powered hot water showers, verandas, inclusive drinks.
Lemur species include both the famous ring-tailed and "dancing" Verreaux's sifakas and also nocturnal white-footed sportive lemurs and locally endemic grey-brown mouse lemurs. Birdlife of the spiny forest features Madagascar scops owl and Madagascar nightjar, sickle-billed and Chabert's vangas, running, green-capped and crested couas, banded kestrel and Madagascar harrier hawk and many other resident birds. There are also many reptiles to see such as the warty chameleon, thick-tailed gecko, Dumeril's ground boa and endangered radiated tortoises if lucky.
Wildlife walks, immersive cultural activities including visits to the Antandroy tribes and their sacred forests. Excursions can also be made to the Lac Anony Lake and impressive sand dune system.
Be sure to enjoy the night walks offered to see nocturnal species such as the localised grey-brown mouse lemur, white-footed sportive lemur, owls and chameleons. Combine with a few nights at Mandrare’s sister establishment, Manafiafy Lodge.
If you have any questions regarding our Madagascar tours, please feel free to contact me on +44 (0)1803 866965
[Mandrare River Camp] is in an amazing location permitting exploration of the spiny forest, and visits to the gallery forest with wild lemurs. WONDERFUL food, attentive pleasant staff and a truly amazing dance demonstration. Driving one way, and flying the other, were both truly fascinating journeys.