Amber Mountain National Park is tucked away in northwest Madagascar and occupies one of the most scenic stretches of land on the island. The reserve is characterised by year-round emerald green forests, cascading waterfalls, and lakes sprawling out over a volcanic massif. The reserve’s claim to fame is the Sacred waterfall that plummets into a turquoise pool of water surrounded by lush rainforests.
There are numerous easily navigable trails throughout the Amber Mountain National Park offering easy access to the famous waterfalls. The area is renowned for its remarkable beauty, and prevalence of birds, bats, and lemurs. From swimming to picnics and trekking, this veritable Garden of Eden is Madagascar’s treasure.
Amber Mountain National Park is located a mere 40 kilometres from Antsiranana (formerly Diego-Suárez) where there’s an international airport. Visitors either choose to stay in or around the park and opt for guided tours into the park.
The park is mainly lush montane rainforest boasting sky-high trees interrupted by orchids and bird’s-nest ferns. This tropical climate biome supports a variety of wildlife and birdlife and most-famously eight different types of lemur. A couple of these species include Sanford’s brown lemur and the crowned lemur.
In addition to the lemur count, there are 13 species of bats in the area, 25 mammal species, 35 frog species, and over 75 species of birds. In the grotto, where there are plenty of caves and overhangs, visitors can spot various bat colonies. A few local specials include the ring-tailed mongoose, Malagasy civet, and the Amber Mountain leaf chameleon.
Avid Twitchers are encouraged to look out for species such as the Amber mountain rock thrush, Madagascar fish eagle, Madagascar paradise flycatcher, and pitta-like ground roller.
Amber Mountain National Park is dominated by a damp and tropical climate but enjoys moderate temperatures because of the altitude. Lemurs can be spotted throughout the year, but the best time to visit is during the in-between months of April and October. The coldest months are from June to September, while the wettest months are from January to March. This area is one of Madagascar’s wettest rainforests, which means a high level of annual precipitation.
Amber National Park is ideal for hiking and trekking and makes for an unforgettable and thrilling on foot safari experience. Trailblazers can discover hidden waterfalls, lakes and blooms of colourful flora while navigating the marked trails. There are 30 kilometres of trails available for hikers. The most popular is the easy “The Cascade Sarcee” walk which leads to the grotto and secret waterfall. It’s here where visitors can spot bats, birds and lemurs. Although challenging, the trickiest trail opens up a world of possibility for hikers to spot unusual wildlife. This trail is called “Cascade Antomboka” and offers stellar bird’s-eye views of the waterfall below. Hiring the services of local guides can be quite rewarding. Locals have a wealth of inside information about the best places to spot lemurs, the best viewpoints, and have expert knowledge about the trails in the rainforest.
There are many accommodation options just outside the national park in the town of Joffreville. A variety of comfortable garden bungalows and bush camps provide the perfect hideaway for guests desiring a tropical rainforest stay. Most accommodation options are self-contained and offer an on-site bar and restaurant, and swimming pool. Accommodation in this area is generally constructed from wood and thatch and is environmentally friendly.