Manafiafy Beach Lodge – relaxed beach and rainforest retreat, Southern Madagascar
Manafiafy Beach Lodge lies on the south-eastern coast of Madagascar in a lush tropical area. The route from Fort Dauphin takes you through plantations of mango, citrus, pineapples and bananas. It is the sister lodge to Mandrare River Camp and the two make a wonderful combination of safari and beach (to put it rather simplistically).
Indeed Manafiafy Beach Lodge, with just six private bungalows is an intriguing combination of rain forest lodge and barefoot luxury beach property all rolled into one. As such it is perfect for people who don’t just want a beach stay.
Each spacious en suite chalet is set amongst the trees. They are constructed of local stone and mangrove poles under a palm-thatched roof. They are beautifully furnished with large glass windows which can be opened fully to enjoy the sea breezes or closed if you prefer. Each has a mosquito net, fan, solar electricity supply, safe, shower and flush toilets. In front is a large private sea facing deck, complete with hammock, sun loungers, outside shower and private access to the magnificent unspoilt beach and Indian ocean. Two of the chalets are suitable for families with two bedrooms sleeping up to five. (The others can cater for one child.) The lodge has a restaurant and bar but meals are often taken outside. Meals are convivial affairs with an emphasis, not unsurprisingly, on fresh seafood.
Activities on offer at Manafiafy
Days at Manafiafy Beach Lodge are not just for lazing on the beach as then you would miss out on the ‘wonder’ of staying here, but there’s certainly time to relax and to enjoy a few hours on the beach and a swim in the ocean for a couple of hours each day.
Forest walks are one of the highlights of Manafiafy. Close to the lodge are the ‘littoral’ rain forests – shady dense vegetation with a high degree of humidity and home to the yet more lemurs (collared brown, woolly, brown mouse, dwarf and sportive) as well as reptiles, spiders, birds and insects. Of course, this provides perfect conditions for orchids and other moisture loving plants and creepers. Guided walks can be done at any time of the day and early evening – as many of the lemurs are nocturnal.
The Ampanasantomboka River (meaning ‘place where we wash feet’) exits its long journey from the lush highlands into the bay and provides an interesting boat ‘safari’ to scout for crocodile and birds as well as seeing local villages and fishermen going about their daily lives.
Humpback whale watching is excellent from June to early December (with boat excursions available locally at extra cost). There’s even a viewing tower for whale-watching! A short boat ride away are deserted beaches for picnics and snorkelling spots in the crystal clear water. Kayaking, canoeing, even massages – all are available here.
In fact there is always something to do at Manafiafy Beach Lodge, each excursion providing its own reward of new experiences – most of them unique to the island of Madagascar.