The Masoala peninsula includes several different protected areas, including Nosy Mangabe Island reserve, and marine reserves such as Tampolo. Collectively, this is the largest protected area in Madagascar. The Masoala National Park itself is some 2,300 square kilometres, with another 200 kilometres in marine parks.
Being located in the north-east, this area is also the wettest part of Madagascar, with rainfall of some 5 - 6 meters a year. The least wet time of the year is the end of the dry up to Christmas, but this is relative, so expect to get rain at any time of the year.
The Masoala peninsula is the largest area of remaining lowland tropical rainforest in Madagascar. It is also thought to have the highest diversity of species in the country. Some surveys suggest that despite being only about 2% of the country, it holds some some 50% of it's biodiversity.
The area is known for several distinct species.
There are some ten species of lemur that could be seen here, including Aye-Aye. More commonly seen are the Red-ruffed lemur, and on Nosy Mangabey, Black and White Ruffed Lemur and White-fronted Brown Lemurs.
There are several species of birds that are best seen here, including the ubiquitous Madagascar Paradise Flycatcher.
Along the coast is the Madagascan Pratincole.
It is also known as one of the best places to see Helmet Vanga.
Being Madagascar, there are always reptiles to be found. And as with most sites in this country, Chameleons are always around...
This is also the place to several species of 'Leaf' of 'Micro Chameleons', among the smallest reptiles in the world. By day, they forage in amongst the leaf litter. However, they are so small and cryptic, you will need a local guide to find them!
Other reptiles include the huge 'Leaf-tailed Geckos'. These animals are usually seen pressed flat against a tree trunk with their head down.
This area is quite hard to access. There are a few small accommodations in and around the park, and these are very basic. At the other end of the spectrum there are also some very expensive lodge options. However, the park is difficult to get to.
Nosy Mangabe is an island located off the coast of Masoala, and it includes several trails. One longer trail goes to markings made by a ship. Another climbs up into hills to the local tombs.