Masoala Overview

Masoala National Park, located on the northeastern coast of Madagascar, is one of the island’s largest and most significant protected areas. Spanning approximately 2,300 square kilometers (888 square miles) of rainforest, with an additional 100 square kilometers (39 square miles) of marine parks, Masoala was established in 1997. This expansive park encompasses a vast array of ecosystems, from coastal rainforests and marshlands to mangrove forests and pristine coral reefs, offering a sanctuary to a remarkable diversity of flora and fauna, much of which is endemic to Madagascar.

The park’s terrestrial landscapes are characterized by rugged terrain, with mountains that plunge into the Indian Ocean, creating a stunning backdrop for the lush, verdant rainforest that covers much of Masoala. This rainforest is home to a plethora of species, including the endangered red-ruffed lemur, the Aye-aye, and various species of chameleons and birds that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. The Nosy Mangabe Special Reserve, an island located in Antongil Bay and part of the park, is a notable site for spotting the elusive Aye-aye.

Masoala National Park’s marine parks protect a section of Madagascar’s rich marine biodiversity, including coral reefs teeming with life, making it an ideal spot for snorkeling and diving. The clear, warm waters are home to a variety of marine species, from colorful reef fish to sea turtles and occasionally, humpback whales, which visit the bay between July and September.

Conservation efforts in Masoala are crucial in protecting its unique biodiversity from threats such as deforestation, overfishing, and climate change. The park also supports sustainable livelihoods for local communities through eco-tourism, which includes guided rainforest hikes, kayaking trips along the coast, and cultural experiences.

Masoala National Park offers an unparalleled opportunity to experience the raw beauty and extraordinary biodiversity of Madagascar, highlighting the importance of conservation and sustainable development in one of the world’s most important biodiversity hotspots.

advertisement banner
Park Map
advertisement banner

Masoala National Park Highlights


Masoala National Park is teeming with diverse wildlife, beyond its predators. Here are some of the park’s most beloved inhabitants:

Red-ruffed Lemur: Endemic to Madagascar, the red-ruffed lemur is known for its vibrant fur and loud vocalizations. It inhabits the park’s lush rainforests, swinging agilely through the canopy.

Aye-aye: With its unique elongated middle finger used for extracting insects from tree bark, the aye-aye is a nocturnal primate found in Masoala’s dense forests.

Panther Chameleon: Sporting vibrant hues and distinctive swaying movements, the panther chameleon is a charismatic reptile commonly spotted in the park’s forest understory.

Madagascar Tree Boa: This non-venomous snake is a master of camouflage, blending seamlessly into tree branches in search of prey. It’s an essential part of Masoala’s intricate ecosystem.

Madagascar Pygmy Kingfisher: With its dazzling plumage and swift hunting dives, the Madagascar pygmy kingfisher is a sought-after sight along the park’s rivers and waterways.

Masoala Woolly Lemur: Adorned with dense fur for warmth, the Masoala woolly lemur is a nocturnal primate endemic to Madagascar. It forages for fruits and leaves in the park’s forests.

Leaf-tailed Gecko: Known for its remarkable leaf-like camouflage, the leaf-tailed gecko is a master of disguise in Masoala’s dense vegetation, where it hunts insects under the cover of darkness.

Madagascar Serpent Eagle: This raptor is a skilled hunter of small mammals and reptiles in Masoala’s forests, often spotted soaring gracefully overhead or perched in the canopy.

Madagascar Paradise Flycatcher: With its long, elegant tail feathers and graceful flight, the Madagascar paradise flycatcher adds a touch of beauty to Masoala’s forested landscapes.

Madagascar Hissing Cockroach: Despite its intimidating name, the Madagascar hissing cockroach is harmless and plays a vital role in recycling organic matter on the forest floor in Masoala National Park.

Engaging Masoala

Embark on a captivating journey through the lush rainforests of Masoala National Park. As you navigate dense vegetation teeming with biodiversity, you’ll encounter a myriad of flora and fauna found nowhere else on Earth.

From towering trees to rare orchids and elusive lemurs, every step unveils new wonders of nature.  It is an encounter with the lush dense rainforest and species that call the jungle home.

Dive into the crystal-clear waters surrounding Masoala and discover a vibrant underwater world brimming with colorful coral reefs, exotic fish, and marine life.

Snorkeling or diving here offers an unforgettable glimpse into the rich marine biodiversity of the Indian Ocean, with opportunities to encounter sea turtles, reef sharks, and majestic whale species.

Glide serenely along the tranquil rivers and mangrove forests of Masoala, immersing yourself in the park’s serene ambiance.

Canoeing or kayaking offers a unique perspective, allowing you to explore hidden coves, mangrove swamps, and coastal estuaries while observing birdlife, including kingfishers, herons, and Madagascar fish eagles.

Masoala National Park Trails

Antanamalaza Trail

Rating: Moderate

Distance and Elevation Gain: Approximately 5 miles (8 km) round trip with minimal elevation gain

Description: This trail winds through dense rainforest, offering opportunities to spot various wildlife species, including lemurs, reptiles, and colorful birds.

Hikers will pass by cascading waterfalls and crystal-clear streams, immersing themselves in the sights and sounds of the tropical wilderness.

Tampolo Circuit

Rating: Moderate to Difficult

Distance and Elevation Gain: Around 10 miles (16 km) round trip with moderate to steep elevation gain

Description: The Tampolo Circuit leads hikers along the rugged coastline, passing through pristine beaches and coastal forests.

Hikers may encounter marine life such as dolphins and sea turtles while enjoying panoramic views of the Indian Ocean.

The trail offers a mix of coastal scenery and rainforest habitats, providing a diverse hiking experience.

Nosy Mangabe Trail

Rating: Easy to Moderate

Distance and Elevation Gain: Approximately 2 miles (3.2 km) round trip with minimal elevation gain

Description: Accessible by boat, this trail explores the biodiverse island of Nosy Mangabe.

Hikers will trek through dense primary rainforest, home to unique flora and fauna, including the elusive aye-aye.

Along the way, visitors can enjoy stunning views of the surrounding islands and the mainland coast.

Masoala Peninsula Trail

Rating: Difficult

Distance and Elevation Gain: Varies, typically 8-12 miles (13-19 km) round trip with significant elevation gain

Description: This challenging trail leads hikers deep into the heart of Masoala’s rainforest, traversing rugged terrain and steep slopes.

Hikers may encounter rare wildlife species, such as the red-ruffed lemur and the Madagascar serpent eagle, while navigating through dense vegetation and crossing pristine rivers.

Ambodiforaha Trail

Rating: Easy to Moderate

Distance and Elevation Gain: Approximately 3 miles (4.8 km) round trip with minimal elevation gain

Description: This trail meanders through lush rainforest, offering opportunities to observe a variety of endemic flora and fauna.

Hikers will pass by serene streams and tranquil forest glades, providing a peaceful and immersive experience in Masoala’s pristine wilderness. Birdwatchers will delight in the chance to spot numerous bird species along the trail.

  • Lemurs of Madagascar, Masoala National Park,, retrieved March 2023.
  • Wild Madagascar, Masoala,, retrieved March 2023.
  • Wildlife Worldwide, Masoala National Park,, retrieved March 2023.