Amber Mountain is a national park located in the extreme north of Madagascar. It is accessed via the very large Diego Suarez Bay. This is one of the biggest natural harbours in the Indian Ocean.
Antsiranana Bay is also known as Diego-Suarez Bay. Both names are a mouthful. The latter is the older name and still used. The former is the Malagasy name and easily confused with many other Madagascan locations starting with an A.
It is a natural bay that is almost 20 kilometres in length, and is protected from the open Indian ocean winds by a narrow inlet. The coast has a variety of spectacular geology, including layering, basalt columns and uplifted limestone.
The large bay is thought to be one of the biggest natural harbors in the Indian Ocean.
The main city of the bay is Antsiranana, and although I have only driven through this town, I was impressed by the colorful colonial style architecture, and it looked like a nice place to stay.
The port town is used to access Amber Mountain National Park.
The park covers an area of 18,200 hectares on an isolated volcanic massif of mostly basaltic rock.
This is one of the most biologically diverse places in all of Madagascar with seventy-five species of birds, twenty-five species of mammals, and fifty-nine species of reptiles.
Most of the park is covered in upland rainforest, in contrast to the much drier surrounding habitats.
Annual rainfall in the park is 3.5 metres, compared with just 1 metre around the town.
Amber National Park is reasonably accessible, in relative Madagascan terms that is. Bush taxis travel to Joffreville daily from Antsiranana, taking about an hour.
There is a nice lodge on the road on the way up. This is called ‘Nature Lodge’.
Further up the road is. Here, they have habituated lemurs, chameleons in the gardens, and their private reserve with trails and a creek.