Montagne d’Ambre …

… is about 30 km south of Diego Suarez. Established in 1958 it it covers 185km². The mountain rises from a dry region producing an isolated stretch of montane rainforest covering an area of more than 18,000 hectares  at an altitude between 800 and 1,500 metres. Not surprisingly, it holds a fantastic biodiversity, the scenery is pretty good, too. But take your raincoat.

It is about 45 minutes by 4WD from Diego Suarez and could be done as a day trip, but beware, if you do it that way you will wish you had spent longer.

Here are a few of the stars of the show …

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If you could just imagine me crouching for hour after hour, in the cold damp undergrowth with raindrops intermittently going down my neck, leaches going end over end, out of focus, up my nose in an effort to fasten on my eyeball to get this stunning photograph … so could I. The reality is this bird is an absolute tart, it lives at the picnic ground and starts posing the moment it sees a camera. For the splitters this is the Amber Mountain Rock Thrush Pseudocossyphus erythronotus, a thoroughly unique species in a small obscure genus restricted to one little mountain in Madagascar. To the lumpers this is the Forest Rock Thrush Monticola sharpei, found in forest throughout Madagascar, the local representative of a genus that is widespread through Europe, Africa and Asia.

Chameleons come in various sizes…

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Amber Mountain is home to 8 species of lemur, but for a change here is the ring-tailed mongoose (Galidia elegans) and very elegans it is …

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