Ankarana & Amber Mountain

The far north, accessed via Diego Suarez, is home to some stunning national parks.


The far north-eastern tip of Madagascar offers some stunning national parks known for their scenic beauty and their wildlife. Our Northern Madagascar Highlights tour celebrates this region.

Diego Suarez (Antsiranana) is Madagascar’s fifth largest town. Traditionally rated second in beauty after Rio de Janeiro, its imposing bay is encircled by hills. However, its conical ‘Pain de Sucre’ (sugar loaf) mountain lies in the middle of the bay! The town is colourful and compact with some great restaurants. Usually Diego Suarez acts as the starting point for a visit to the Amber Mountains and Ankarana. The surrounding countryside is quiet and picturesque with numerous baobab trees.

Amber Mountain National Park (Montagne D’Ambre) lies about 45 minutes to the south. This montane rainforest has a comfortable climate (cool and fresh) so makes a good contrast with the dry and hot Diego Suarez! This beautiful park offers great walking and birding.

The dry, deciduous Ankarana Special Reserve lies 100 km south of Diego Suarez. It’s a really spectacular and bizarre area of natural beauty. It’s famous for the marvellously impressive limestone tsingy - razor sharp pinnacles which have been sculpted by erosion. Explore the park on foot to look for lemurs, chameleons and of course to view the tsingy.

Underneath the Tsingy are miles of caves and rivers. Some of the largest caves have collapsed to form isolated pockets of river-fed forest with their own perfectly protected flora and fauna.

Travel south from Ankarana through picturesque hillly countryside with vanilla and coffee plantations to the coastal fishing village of Ankify. From here you can take a 40 minute boat ride to the island of Nosy Be.

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Ginny Russell

Co-founder & Director
Our experienced band of Safari Planners can create a bespoke plan for you. Ginny has returned from the UK to Africa at least twice a year for 25 years and advocates for Slow Travel and a more immersive experience.


Why you may love it

  • Stunning beautiful bay
  • Amber Mountain - broad walking trails, lush montane forest, crater lakes, spectacular waterfalls and orchids.
  • Tsingy of Ankarana National Park
  • Ankarana has the greatest density of lemurs in Madagascar due to its pockets of rich forest.
  • Great hiking opportunities in both reserves.
  • Superb birding in Amber Mountain.
  • Great area to combine with the beaches of Nosy Be.

Explore the Ankarana & Amber Mountain map

When to visit Ankarana & Amber Mountain

January to March

Rainy summer season

Antisrana remains hot all year with only a slightly drop off in temperature from June to September. The summer brings the rain with heavy downpours every 2-3 days. But this starts easing from mid March onwards.
MAX TEMP 30 ℃ / 86 ℉
MIN TEMP 23 ℃ / 73 ℉

April to May

Dry season

Great time to visit as mid-April is the start of the dry season. Days are dry with plenty of sunshine and hot temperatures. Between April and November when the trails are relatively dry.
MAX TEMP 31 ℃ / 88 ℉
MIN TEMP 23 ℃ / 73 ℉

June to September

Best time to visit

Probably the best time to visit with hot, dry weather. Ever so slightly cooler (29C instead of 31C as a max temperature) so better to enjoy morning hiking in the reserves. The sea temperature remains warm but heads down to 25C.
MAX TEMP 29 ℃ / 84 ℉
MIN TEMP 20 ℃ / 68 ℉

October to mid-December

Rising temperatures and humidity

It is still dry in October but getting hotter (max 32c) and more humid in November with more chance of afternoon thunderstorms at the end of the year. Just before the summer rains start (somewhere in mid to late November) is the time of maximum humidity.
MAX TEMP 32 ℃ / 90 ℉
MIN TEMP 22 ℃ / 72 ℉

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Did you know
  • LandmarkMount Maromokotro is highest mountain (2876m).
  • GeologyAnkarana has unique limestone pinnacles (Tsingy).