Marojejy National Park – A Marvel of Nature
Marojejy National Park is one of the most strikingly beautiful and wild areas of Madagascar. It is unique in the world, a place of dense, jungle rainforests, sheer, high cliffs, and plants and animals found nowhere else on earth. Marojejy harbors a remarkably diverse set of plants and animals, many of which are endemic to the area. Ninety percent of Marojejy National Park is covered in forests which are extremely varied and unevenly distributed.
The Marojejy Massif was first described by Professor Henri Humbert of the Paris Natural History Museum in 1948. Following his expedition to Marojejy, Humbert published a book entitled A Marvel of Nature, in which he described Marojejy as the most impressive range in all of Madagascar due to its grandeur, its rich flora, and especially its pristine natural state. Marojejy remained listed as a strict reserve from 1952 to 1998, when its status was changed to that of a national park. This change removed the restrictions which limited entry to research scientists only. As a national park, Marojejy is now open to all visitors. In June of 2007, Marojejy was officially designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in recognition of its unparalleled biodiversity and stunning landscapes.
The park is home to eleven species of lemurs, including the critically endangered Silky Sifaka (Propithecus candidus), a strikingly beautiful lemur in the indri family that has long, white, silky fur and is found only in the Marojejy–Anjanaharibe-Sud area, and none at all exist in captivity. Marojejy National Park comprises 55,500 hectares of land, and protects the entire Marojejy Massif. The forests, ranging from low altitude rain forest through to high altitude montane scrub, harbor an impressive list of plants and animals: at least 275 species of ferns, 35 species of palms, 149 species of amphibians and reptiles, and 118 species of birds. More species of forest-dwelling birds are found in Marojejy than in any other single mountain site in Madagascar.
This, though, is only the beginning. Many large groups of organisms, such as the invertebrates, are still very poorly known. New species of plants and animals are discovered on nearly every scientific expedition that ventures into Marojejy. Some of these were previously unknown in Marojejy, some have never been seen anywhere else and are completely new to science, some are highly endangered.
Even if you are not a seasoned biologist, you can't help but note the extreme diversity of life forms and the changes in plant communities you encounter as you climb the mountain. Marojejy will appeal to all who value nature, the mountains, and wild places.
We invite you to spend some time in and around Marojejy. The park is open year-round, but the best times to visit are from April to May and September to December, when it is less rainy. We also offer treks of varying lengths in the park along a trail that leads from the village of Manantenina into the rainforests and eventually up to the summit of Marojejy itself (elevation 2132m). The Mantella Trek takes you to Camp Mantella, about a four-hour hike from Manantenina, The Simpona Trek is a continuation of the Mantella Trek, leading from Camp Mantella up to Camp Marojejy (about a two hour hike), The Marojejy Summit Trek continues beyond Camp Marojejy to Camp Simpona (elevation 1250m), which is then used as a basecamp for the final hike to the peak itself.
An interesting combination is the succession with the descent of the river Lokoho until near the Indian Ocean Farahalana. It does not present any difficulties, it is an immense relaxation through the villages, away from the traditional tourist circuits.
Marojejy can easily be combined with visits to other nearby areas. Anjanaharibe-Sud Special Reserve lies just to the southwest of Marojejy and offers spectacular pristine rainforest and wildlife. A little farther south is the large and very wild Masoala National Park. Parts of Masoala can be accessed from the town of Antalaha and flights link Sambava and Antalaha with Maroantsetra, where boats can be arranged to both Masoala National Park and Nosy Mangabe Special Reserve.
Multi-day treks are also possible for the fit and adventurous traveler through the remote and beautiful country between Antalaha or Andapa and Maroantsetra. Several small private reserves in the area are well worth a visit, including Antanetiambo, near Andapa, and La Colline de Vinany, in Antalaha.
Watch more photos about Marojejy National Park here.