Explore the Lesser Known Part of Madagascar: The Amber Mountain National Park

Madagascar parc national de la montagne d'ambre. Photo de l'auteur avec sa permission

Amber Mountain Natural Park, Madagascar. Photo taken with author's permission.

Amber Mountain, Madagascar’s first natural park, is one of the most intriguing protected areas to explore in the country — mainly due to its reputation of being a great centre of biodiversity. Amber Mountain is a cool haven of serenity, where the atmosphere totally contrasts that of the sweltering heat of the surrounding Northern region.

Explore the Amber Mountain Park

Amber Mountain National Park lies 14km south of Diego Suarez, in the north of Madagascar. Its humid tropical forest stretches more than 23,000 hectares across volcanic mountain. It is because of this humidity that the forest is a source of 85% of the region’s annual rainfall. Here you will also find six lakes, as well as several waterfalls and rivers.

If you do decide to explore this natural reserve during your stay in Madagascar, you will need to call upon the services of the professional guides of the Madagascar National Park (MNP). There are a variety of walking trails available, with circuits ranging from half-a-day to up to three days. During these walks, you will cross paths between 850 and 1,400 meters above sea level.

Stunning flora and fauna to discover

Madagascar brookesia micra. Photo de l'auteur avec sa permission

Madagascan brookesia micra. Photo taken with author's permission.

On entering the area, you should be aware of a few ‘fady’ (Madagascan cultural taboos) and will need to respect them. Rest assured, your guide will inform you of these in advance. Amber Mountain National Park is home to a huge number of endemic species. So far, there have been reported sightings of 77 different species of birds, seven species of lemurs, and 24 species of amphibians.

The smallest lemur in the world, the brown mouse lemur, is often sighted in the park. Keep an eye out for these and for the crested ibis of Madagascar found lurking in the tree branches. Also, see if you can spot the Brookesia micra, the smallest chameleon in the world. This chameleon, even in adulthood, barely reaches three centimetres long! The Brookesia micra is also difficult to spot because it is often camouflaged so well in the foliage.

As for diversity of the plant kingdom in Amber Mountain, there are more than 1,020 listed species of plants in the park. Your guide will most probably commend the medicinal virtues of a great many of these plants. Rosewood trees are common, as are Famelona and even Ramy. Of course, it wouldn’t be a humid Madagascan rainforest without the ferns, traveller’s trees, choking creepers and orchids that all equally make up the surrounding scenery.

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