The picturesque city of Diego Suarez is the gateway to this fascinating area. The city itself, although in a state of dilapidation, offers some interesting shopping, excellent restaurants and good nightlife.

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In 1958 the French colonial government recognized the unique nature of the volcanic massif and forest lying to the south of the city and formed the Montagne d'Ambre National Park. To this day, the reserve remains a fine example of montane rainforest and is well known for its crater lakes and spectacular waterfalls. It is also home to Madagascar's smallest chameleon. By contrast, the limestone pinnacles of the Ankarana Reserve (180kms from Diego) rising abruptly from the savannah-like plain are pierced by forest-filled canyons, which harbour a selection of endemic plants, reptiles, lemurs and birds. These pinnacles are penetrated by numerous caves and canyons with dry deciduous forest growing around the periphery.

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Best time for visiting Northern Madagascar

Avoid January, February and March

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