Lokobe National Park sits on the picturesque Nosy Be island in Madagascar and is well known for its rare panther chameleon population and black lemurs. Defined by an old-growth forest with ancient endemic tree species, Lokobe National Park is a must-see destination and an unspoiled region in Madagascar. The national park spans seven and a half square kilometres, with just over a kilometre of a marine reserve.
The Lokobe forest is the last remaining primary rainforest on the island. The landscape is completely wild, and ylang-ylang, orchids, palm trees and lush ferns combined with swathes of rainforest provide a sanctuary for all sorts of wildlife. The national park is characterised by the primitive forest hugging shoreline of the coral-laden waters.
Guests travelling to the national park can only access it via pirogues, and those who wish to explore this untamed wilderness need to book an experienced guide beforehand. The island of Nosy Be is geared towards tourism and has a fantastic infrastructure. Lokobe is located in the southeast of the island, about seven kilometres from the capital of Nosy Be, Andoany, where there is an airport.
Lokobe National Park is ideal for nature lovers wanting to spot rare wildlife. The flagship species of the area is the black lemur, and the rarest creature of them all is the panther chameleon. Visitors are can also spot the Hawk’s sportive lemur in this region and the nocturnal mouse lemur. This tropical rainforest habitat hosts many species of wildlife. There are 84 reptile species, 11 primate species, 16 bat species, and over 42 species of bird. Birders can expect to spot the African palm swift, owl of Madagascar, and the pygmy kingfisher. Bright green geckos, plated lizards, and enormous boa constrictors are often spotted on the forest floor. Amphibians are in abundance in this moisture-rich environment, especially the endemic Rhombophryne frog (diamond frog).
Nosy Be is a year-round destination with warm annual temperatures. The island is sheltered and doesn’t experience monsoon conditions. There is a rainfall season, but rainfall isn’t heavy. The rainy season is from December to March. From April to November is a great time to visit.
Lokobe National Park is a wonderfully remote destination ideal for adventurers and nature lovers. The only way to explore the park is on foot, with a qualified guide at the helm. There are various circuits throughout the park, one of which covers some marine territory. From spotting lemurs to birdwatching and taking in the smells of this botanical paradise, visitors won’t be disappointed with their walking safaris.
Deep within the rainforest region, there are various viewpoints where nature lovers can enjoy sensational views of the landscape. Tiny streams hugged by river rocks provide the perfect home for plated lizards and a wealth of frogs. The forest floor can be sludgy, so visitors need to prepare for walking over rugged terrain. These walking safaris often end off with a well-earned seafood lunch. To get to the national park, adventurers need to clamber aboard a traditional Malagasy wooden boat for an hour-long journey to paradise. En-route, visitors will glide past mangroves and sail across the turquoise waters.
There’s a rustic campsite close to one of the beaches, offering a few basics. There is no electricity, and it’s only advisable for visitors who enjoy rugged adventures. Throughout the island, and in the main city, there are bungalows, luxury hotels, bed and breakfasts, and guest houses. The luxury hotels are of international standing.