The Special Reserve of Ambatovaky is at the heart of the Region of Analanjirofo in the District of Soanierana Ivongo. It spreads on 60 050 ha, between the rivers of Marimbona in the South and Simianona in the North. You can join the reserve by car from the city of Toamasina through the city of Fenerive Est. The Reserve welcome is in Soanierana Ivongo, the city after Fenerive Est. The journey on road risks to take a whole week. A whole expedition!
The Reserve of Ambatovaky shelters eleven (11) species of lemurs, 110 species of birds, 113 species herpetofauniques and 34 species of fish.
The best of the fauna of Ambatovaky
1. Varecia variegata variegata. It is a lemur with white fur spotted with white and black that live on the East coast. We can see it all the year. This lemur built a nest before each farrowing to lay its new born; Varecia gives birth to twins or even triplets or quadruplets.
2. Madagascar serpent-eagle Eutriorchis astur. This serpent eagle is an endemic raptor bird and classified as endangered species (EN).This species is rediscovered at Ambatovaky in 1988 after almost 50 years of absence in the wild. Endemic to Madagascar this bird prefers to live inside the rain forest intact. It is found in Ambatovaky, on the east coast.
3. Madagascar pygmy kingfisher Ispidina madagascariensis or Vintsiala. This beautiful bird is endemic to Madagascar. It is an alone bird which period of punter is between October and January.
4. Ashy cuckoo-shrike Coracina cineria, Kikiomavo of its Malagasy name. It is a bird that lives in group of three to eight. Its season of punter is between November and March.
5. Madagascar Cuckoo-hawk Aviceda madagascariensis, a secretive raptor is easy to observe around Vatomora forest.
6. White-breasted mesite Mesitornis variegata. This western species and deciduous dry forest species is observed at the rainforest at Ambatovaky, mainly around Vatomora areas.
The flora of Ambatovaky is not truly rich. 291 species have only been counted for the three habitats. Its rate of endemicity, more than 75% assures the quality of the vegetation of Ambatovaky. However, 221 species are endemic to Madagascar
The best flora of Ambatovaky
1. Aphloia theaeformis or Fandramana. This plant is generally used for the brewing.
2. Diospyros haplostylis or Hazomaintina of its Malagasy name. It is a black wood.
3. Dypsis utilis or Vonitra.
4. Melanophylla humbertiana, known by its Malagasy calling Hazomborondreo. It is an endemic family to Madagascar.
Ambatovaky has a whole share of taboos and of forbidden. The populations don’t admit the consumption of meat of Indri Indri and frog, a tradition that, served the interests of the frogs and lemurs up to here well.
But also meat of goat and cattle without horn is a taboo in this region; it is prohibited to plant and to consume precocious beans.
Some days are “sacred” So, Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday are of days when peasants don't have the right to take care of their rice field. The use of a metallic tool is also forbidden, according to the days specified by the soothsayers of the region.
The Reserve history
The massive forest of Ambatovaky was instituted in Special Reserve in 1958. In this region, the Betsimisarakas are the majority. The Reserve of Ambatovaky is connected, to the National Park of Masoala by the plateau of Makira, to the National Park of Mananara in its North part and to the Complex of Zahamena in the South. But we also find the Sihanakas and the Tsimiheties there.
A threatened wild nature
Ambatovaky and its surrounding endure their enclavement. The out-flow of agricultural products and purchase of first necessity products are difficult. The inhabitants are forced to make at least a day’s drive to find a market. This situation encourages them unfortunately to depend closely to the forest. So some forest resources are exploited for the food and the handicraft. The rare or precious woods are cut illegaly for the construction of slots and the manufacture of furniture. Rare animals such as birds and lemurs are poached.
Finally, Ambatovaky also suffers from the heavy consequences of land clearing for culture on burnt land. In this region, the population has the habit to clear by fire. The natural forest and the secondary plant formations suffer from.
A strategic role
Yet, Ambatovaky, like every protected area from the Malagasy network of National Parks and Reserve, has a strategic role that justifies its reason to be. Ambatovaky even has several assets. This Special Reserve has several habitats and representative species of the coast. It is rich in hyalin quartz that is the only big mining production of the region. Finally, Ambatovaky has a vital function for its region: its rivers, punctuated of waterfalls and cascades, water villages and surronding rice fields.
The microprojects of Ambatovaky
Antananarivo - Soanierana Ivongo: a journey of 9h practicable all year round. Take the National Road N°2 toward Toamasina. It is a road of 370 km in perfect state. Then continue along the National Road N°5, toward Soanierana Ivongo tarred 163 km.
- In Antananarivo: Ambodivona, every day.
- In Toamasina: Road station for Soanierana Ivongo, every day.
Air Madagascar airlines company provides a regular flight toward Toamasina. The transfert is done by car to Soanierana Ivongo (163 km)
Soanierana Ivongo - Ambodiriana.
Take the boat at Andrangazaha. It is a crossing of 50 km in 6h. Then continue… on foot! It is a trek of 27 km on 5h.
You have the choice between joining from Ambodiriana the Special Reserve of Ambatovaky. It is a stage of three days toward the nearest entry or eight days to reach to the most distant point of the Reserve.
Make the link between Soanierana Ivongo and Fotsialanana by fluvial way during 3h. And from Fotsialana join the Special Reserve of Ambatovaky, a journey on foot during two days.
No circuit has been arranged yet within the Reserve. Nevertheless, some local guides can make you visit the fauna, the flora and the different landscapes. It is possible to lodge in Soanierana Ivongo, but in a very modest condition.
The welcome office of the Special Reserve of Ambatovaky is in Soanierana Ivongo. You can take all information there in the protected area. No circuit has been arranged yet within the Reserve. Nevertheless, some local guides can make you visit the fauna, the flora and the different landscapes. It is possible to lodge in Soanierana Ivongo, but in a very modest condition.
Inter RegionalDirection in Toamasina
BP 548 – Salazamay
Tél : + (261 20) 53 327 07
Fax : + (261 20) 53 318 39
Email : email@example.com
Special Reserve of Ambatovaky:
Madagascar National Parks Soanierana Ivongo
CR : RAKOTOMANANA Fidelis
Tél. : + (261 32) 04 923 05
Hiking and birdwatching are waiting for you. For those who love swimming, do not hesitate to take a dip. The landscape of the reserve is also a delight that will seduce you for sure.
But it is above all a great opportunity to go off to meet local people, culture and traditions.