Antsiranana (Diego Suarez) Cruises
Antsiranana, aka Diego Suarez, is a port city in northern Madagascar in Antsiranana Bay, a vast natural harbour made up of several smaller bays.
Smothered with French colonial charm, Diego’s streets are lined with traditional architecture and are home to large markets selling an abundance of fine local produce and hand-made crafts. The pace is slow and nearly everything shuts between 12pm and 3pm while locals indulge in long siestas.
Away from the bustle of the markets, the lighthouse, cathedral and the ruins of the Hôtel de la Marine are worth exploring. The delightful local delicacies in Diego’s many fine restaurants can also be enjoyed. Alternatively, a trip to the island’s breath-taking north coast offers stunning views of Sugarloaf Mountain or the eponymous Island, which is considered sacred by locals. [ReadMore]
South of the city, the untouched landscapes of two large National Parks are waiting to be discovered. While the waterfalls, crater lakes and breadth of fauna and flora at Amber Mountain National Park are wonderful, a sighting of the Madagascar Fish Eagle – one of the world’s rarest birds of prey – is the much sought after prize. At Ankarana Special Reserve, birds, lemurs and the 150-million-year-old Jurassic limestone formations are the key highlights.
Amber Mountain National Park
Nestled near the northern tip of Madagascar, this mountainous park rises out of the drier surrounding landscape, has a cool climate and some wonderfully distinct scenery.
Taking its name from the resin that is found in the local trees, it is said to hold medicinal qualities and is still used by the local Malagasy people. Waterfalls, rainforests and volcaniclakes surround you, alongside an impressive level of biodiversity and plenty of endemic species of flora and fauna.
This sandstone formation made of small sandstone needles, formed and changed during land and mudslides after heavy rain are one of Madagascar’s most breathtaking natural wonders. Located about 65km southeast of Diego, the pinnacles are made of laterite, an iron dioxide-rich soil with an intense red brick colour. The landscape is constantly changing with old needles eroding and new ones appearing from beneath.