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: rainforest, littoral forest, marsh, flooded forest, mangrove and coral reefs are all represented.
Masoala has a staggering 50% of all fauna and flora found in Madagascar. There are 102 species of birds (60% endemic), 10 lemur species (four being critically endangered), the very rare brown tailed mongoose.
Rainforest wildlife here can be more difficult to spot than in some other locations, and guided walks can be challenging due to steep and slippery trails (it’s the wettest place in Madagascar) but you may spot the red ruffed lemur (locally endemic), white-fronted brown lemur, the rare eastern pitchfork lemur, greater hedgehog tenrec, brown-tailed mongoose, various geckos including the gold dust day gecko and leaf tailed gecko, panther chameleon, helmet vanga and the recently rediscovered Madagascar serpent eagle.
There are three marine reserves providing excellent snorkelling and kayaking. Humpback whales visit the Bay of Antongil between July and early September to breed and give birth and can be seen from shore or by boat. Dugongs also are found in the area. Two further areas in the Masoala area, Farakaraina and Nosy Mangabe, are described below.