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Montagne d’Ambre ***

The Montagne d’Ambre forest complex, including the Montagne d’Ambre National Park and the Forêt d’Ambre Special Reserve, is easily reached by car from Antsiranana (= Diégo-Suarez), a trip that takes 45 minutes to one hour. A four-wheel-drive vehicle is needed for the portion between Ambohitra (= Joffreville) and the park entrance, especially after a heavy rainfall. There are now two excellent lodges at Montagne d’Ambre, the Nature Lodge and Domaine de Fontenay (which also has a 300-ha private reserve where night walks can be quite productive). Daylight hikes close to the main campsite near the forestry station (Les Roussettes) and to the viewpoint overlooking the Grand Cascade will usually result in sightings of crowned lemur (Eulemur coronatus) and Sanford’s brown lemur (Eulemur sanfordi). Night hikes near Les Roussettes and in the botanical garden of the Montagne d’Ambre National Park, though unfortunately not available at the moment (owing to the closure of all parks to nocturnal visits), provide excellent opportunities to observe the Montagne d’Ambre mouse lemur (Microcebus arnholdi), the greater dwarf lemur (Cheirogaleus major), the Montagne d’Ambre fork-marked lemur (Phaner electromontis), the Ankarana sportive lemur (Lepilemur ankaranensis), and possibly aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis). This park is also one of the best places in Madagascar to see endemic carnivores, including the ring-tailed mongoose (Galidia elegans) and perhaps even the very rare falanouc (Eupleres goudotii).