Mandrare River Camp
This little-known 22,000-hectare community-managed forest reseve in the remote southern corner of Madagascar protects one of the last remaining pockets of a unique ecosystem unlike anything else on earth: the spiny forest. 95% of the plant species found in this strange alien habitat are found no where else. In addition to the spiny forest, the reserve contains a sacred gallery forest where the ancestral tombs of the Antandroy tribe are interspersed with 500 year-old giant baobab trees - including a secluded 'Secret Avenue of the Baobabs.' Awake to the sound of the local Antandroy tribe singing as they fetch water from the river. Ifotaka is home to five species of lemurs, including the famous dancing Verreaux's sifakas and the iconic ring-tailed lemur. Rare endemic birds such as the gorgeous crested coua, the oddball hook-billed vanga, and the highly localised giant coua can be seen on early morning walks among the otherworldly octopus trees. Two tiny species of mouse lemur, highly vocal white-footed sportive lemur, and scops owls can be spotted on night walks. If you're lucky you may catch a glimpse of the rare white-browed owl. There are only 6 luxury en-suite tents, generously spread out in the shade of tamarind trees, all with breathtaking views across the tranquil water to the sacred mountains beyond. The ornate wooden furniture in each tent is individually hand carved with depictions of the local wildlife: Chameleon, Lemur, Gecko, Baobab, Radiated Tortoise and Heron. Four-poster beds are swathed in mosquito netting and a private terrace is ideal for soaking up the sunrise views over the river.