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Masoala Forest Lodge

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Masoala, Tampolo Madagascar
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About

#1 of 3 Speciality lodging in Tampolo
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•Paradise of pristine nature, bio-diversity and traditional culture•Comfort and privacy in the owner-managed exclusive eco-lodge with private forest reserve and beaches •Wide range of activities and meals of organic fresh local produce and seafood•An authentic experience - an interactive journey of information, education and inspiration Nestled in a cove of golden sand and blue water, at the meeting of rainforest and sea, a luxurious outpost awaits – The Masoala Forest Lodge. The handful of thatched tree-house bungalows is tucked into the forest at the water’s edge, each with a private beach access and uninterrupted views of forest and sea. Constructed with sustainably harvested local materials, each bungalow is raised 2-3 meters above the ground and contains a fully netted and screened canvas safari tent, with en-suite bathroom, hot water, palissandre furnishings and solar lighting.
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Property amenities
Free breakfast
Bar / lounge
Restaurant
Beach
Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly)
Airport transportation
Laundry service
Room types
Non-smoking rooms
Family rooms
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HOTEL STYLE
Charming

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Masoala, Tampolo Madagascar
Getting there
Antananarivo Airport432 kmSee all flights
Maroantsetra Airport44 kmSee all flights
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158Reviews5Q+A29Room tips
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Simon Bellingham wrote a review Dec 2019
1 contribution
I returned home yesterday from my third visit to Masoala forest lodge and I am already looking forward to my next visit, let me explain why.... In this modern sophisticated world Masoala is a rare refuge in a beautiful setting on a remote beach surrounded by tropical forests bustling with fascinating creatures (lemurs, chameleons, birds etc) and staffed by honest, friendly people. Masoala's charm is in that it offers an authentic Robinson Crusoe barefoot nature adventure but in complete comfort-: - After arriving in the charming town of Maronsetra off the East coast of Madagascar you are met by warm smiling lodge representatives who drive you to a boat jetty for a few snacks (and a bathroom stop) before your adventure begins. Speaking of adventure, everyone visiting Masoala Forest Lodge has the opportunity to explore a beautiful tropical island with an outstanding naturalist en-route to the lodge. Amongst the rare creatures one can see on the island are the beautiful Black and White Ruffed Lemur, White-fronted Brown Lemur, Panther Chameleon, Pygmy Kingfisher, Leaf-tailed Gecko and much much more. After a picnic on the island the adventure continues on the boat trip to the lodge. The boat is a sturdy boat with an excellent captain with a journey that ends in a calm anchorage at a beach a stones throw in front of the lodge. - Although it is tempting to simply relax at the lodge the adventure certainly does not need to stop once you have arrived with many enticing activities at your disposal at no additional cost - hikes during the day into the surrounding National park, nocturnal hikes into the private protected forest around the lodge, great snorkeling in front of the lodge, visits to the local village and much more.... - There are many reasons why a lodge can work well but this particular one definitely owes a large part of its success to being run by its owners and I feel a little elaboration here would help explain why. The owners of this lodge are passionate about conservation and community, their passion for conservation can best be illustrated by the fact that they have bought much of the private land around the lodge adjacent the national park to prevent it being destroyed, their care for the surrounding community is best illustrated by the fact that they built a preschool for the community and send their two children to this school. Masoala National Park is the most important conservation area in Madagascar and without Masoala Forest Lodge this National park would, unquestionably, be worse off. Top animals that can be seen at Masoala are Aye Aye, Red and Black-and-white Ruffed Lemur, Helmet Vanga, Short-legged and Scaly Ground Roller, Lowland Streaked Tenrec and Madagascar Flying Fox!
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Date of stay: November 2019
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Room Tip: All rooms are excellent and look onto the private beach.
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Response from Maria_Bester, Owner at Masoala Forest Lodge
Responded 03 Dec 2019
Dear Simon, It means a lot to us that you apprichiate our work and place so much! Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts about the lodge! We regularily get the feedback that the reviews helped our guests in the decision making. We are looking forward to your next stay at Masoala Forest Lodge. Best regards, Maria
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EDH_Traveler wrote a review Nov 2019
Tucson, Arizona254 contributions127 helpful votes
We knew that MFL would be the nicest lodge during our 3 week trip so we saved it for last. We ended up spending 4 nights which was about the right amount of time. You should know that this lodge is NOT cheap. Our 4 nights were about 1/3 of the entire budget for our 23 day trip so our expectations were rightly pretty high. This lodge has a lot going for it and if it wasn't for one huge logistical issue and some other small things our stay would have been perfect. You need to be sure to have the correct expectations regarding your room. You stay in tents, not cabins. Since these are tents there are no places to hang anything except under your tent on the beach. But, they do provide a lot of shelves to store things and a nice charging station. You also need to be aware the the bathroom is outside and down a short flight of stairs. So, that can make the night time "visits" a bit challenging but we found our tent (#3) to be nice and we loved that there was a chameleon hanging out at eye level a couple days. The only thing we didn't like about our tent was that the afternoon sun shown in it for the last few hours of the day and made it so hot that we couldn't stay there. A sun shade would be nice as well as a ceiling fan. The food is fantastic and it's great that the beer, soda, and most spirits are included in the price. However, wine is not which is weird. For the price, you would think that would be included as well. I do need to call out the fantastic breakfasts on the sun deck. Fresh bread, fruit, juice, and eggs to order were the perfect way to start the day. I also love that there is no plastic at this resort. They provide a lot of drinking water in your room but you are also free to refill a reusable water bottle anytime you want in the main dining room. They provide so many nice touches like extra towels, private guides and local rums. For meals they offer both local and international menu choices so if you want to try some malagasy menu items you are encouraged to do so. They were also great when it came to accommodating dietary restrictions. MFL does so many thing right that it is shocking to me that the have an absolutely horrible initial transfer to the lodge. They maintain the same schedule on arrival in that guests climb into the boat and go to Nosy Mangabe for some hiking and lunch. This island is worth a visit since it's the only place you will see the B&W Ruffed Lemurs not to mention some awesome reptiles and amphibians. But after lunch, you then have to climb back into the boat for a 1.5 to 2 hour boat trip across the bay. The problem is that the boat is the most uncomfortable we have ever been in for that long of a trip. There are no seats so everyone sits on cushions (no backs) in the middle of the boat facing sideways. Due to the wind and surf anyone on the right side of the boat gets wet and is in the blaring sun for the whole trip. They do warn you about the spray and provide ponchos but wouldn't it just be better to have an awning on the boat that can come down to protect people? Also, even though the surf was only "average" on our trip the swells were high enough to cause the boat to slam down so much that I would catch air and you had nothing to hold onto so you bang into the person next to you. And, because you are facing sideways it's really awkward on your back and I was lucky that mine was only a little sore after this trip. It was truly a miserable 1.5 hour boat ride to the lodge. They need to find a different boat that has front facing seats and where everyone can be reasonably comfortable for the transfer. Since you always leave the lodge in the morning before the winds come up the transfer back wasn't that bad but it was still uncomfortable. For as upscale and nice as this lodge is that transfer in has GOT to be improved. The only other thing that bothered us a bit during our stay was our guide who didn't communicate very well with us and left us behind on more that one occasion as we took photos. When I got home I also realized that he got quite a few wildlife identifications wrong. I expect a guide at a lodge like this know the different species of mammals and herps that are seen or to say "I don't know" when asked instead of giving the wrong ID. He did seem right on with birds though. So, while this was still the best leg of the trip this lodge needs to fix that initial boat transfer while still keeping the trip to Nosy Mangabe intact before I can say it was up there with some other world class lodges we have visited in our travels.
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Date of stay: October 2019
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DreamOcean wrote a review Nov 2019
Jackson Hole, Wyoming406 contributions118 helpful votes
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I really can’t sing enough praises for Masoala Forest Lodge- everything was spot on and a true inspiration! Since it was my 2nd time to Madagascar, I wanted to focus on one pristine area for wildlife encounters and natural beauty/scenery, and there is probably no better combination in Madagascar, particularly given the low numbers of tourists you don’t have to maneuver around with. Masoala Peninsula is unique with rainforest abutting against the coast, allowing for a diverse array of wildlife and activities. I was so fortunate to soak up this environment and eco-lodge for 11 nights and I really cannot imagine spending less than 1 week here. Give yourself time, because the rainforest has its own language and your body will seep into the natural rhythm of the surrounding environment and you will come out feeling AMAZING afterwards! There is SO much to do and you also want to give yourself a window of time to do certain things on the best weather days when possible, and a week is more likely to offer that flexibility. The tree-house cabins are tastefully and functionally designed (without compromising comfort!) and I loved sleeping on the 2nd story at bird and lemur level. Bonus is that you fall asleep to both forest sounds AND the lapping of ocean waves on the beaches. There are SO many activities to choose from with Masoala Forest Lodge, and I usually had the weather and my guide’s recommendations dictate our schedule. Allow yourself to slow down and be patient in order to spot the wildlife (guides are incredible and sometimes that requires stopping to just listen and pick up clues). You don’t even have to go too far to spot some great wildlife, as MFL has incredible walks on their premises! Lemurs were the focus of my trip, so I also took advantage of the evening walks 10 out of the 11 nights to maximize my chances of seeing the nocturnal species. But we witnessed so many incredibly creatures and phenomena by seizing as many opportunities as possible. I also recommend looking for the shy Bamboo lemurs just after cabin #7 around dusk and dawn. I was lucky to be with them 7 different times on this trip, and it was really special due to how timid they typically are. I saw a total of 8 species of lemurs on this trip out of the 10 in the area (did not see Aye Aye or Masoala Fort-marked lemur), and many of them included close-up encounters. Birders will also have a fulfilling trip! My guide, Ursula, was fantastic! She was incredibly personable with a fabulous combination of having keen eyes and stellar instinct. Ursula is also truly passionate about the wildlife herself, and described how much she misses the primary forest when she’s on off-days. The best part was the fact that the majority of our wildlife encounters were shared just between the 2 of us, which is such a contrast to my first trip to Madagascar on the “classic” route including Andasibe and national parks in the SW. My favorite excursions were the primary forest and all day boat trip to an incredibly healthy coral reef, followed by a long coastal walk back to the lodge crossing countless streams and passing through a quaint village. The sunset piroque sail is spectacular, as is the Tampolo River boat trip just before sunset. As a wildlife conservationist by career, I’ve lived/worked in many “destinations” where nature-based tourism is one of, if not THE predominant economic driver, so I’ve seen the full spectrum of how tourism can operate in such places. Masoala Forest Lodge is doing a fabulous job and is truly integrated into the local community and culture. While it’s not cheap to fly to and stay at such a remote and pristine eco-lodge, it is heart-warming to see how much MFL truly contributes to the communities and conservation. I applaud the conservation work they are doing in a country with such tricky and complex dynamics (not to mention corruption)- what they are achieving is also a testament to their true dedication and perseverance. They are a very positive example of nature-based tourism done properly and it’s unfortunate that this is so rare to come across in the realm of tourism. They source as much as they can locally, while still offering very gourmet and beautifully composed meals. I’m vegetarian (mostly vegan at home but more flexible when traveling) and LOVED the diversity and freshness of menu and the option to taste local food dishes, presented beautifully. I traveled on my own as a recent widow, and most of the other guests were couples. I was so grateful for the wonderful hosting of Sam and Maria- they strike the perfect balance of professionalism, being helpful and also making you feel at home with their genuine warmth and generosity. You can choose to be more private or social, with opportunities for sunset tea/coffee time on the gorgeous sea deck, and evening beach bonfires to rehash the day with the others and star gaze before dinner. I won’t ruin the surprise, but Friday nights make for a very memorable experience! Experiencing the paradise of Masoala Peninsula was a dream come true and Masoala Forest Lodge sticks out as one of my life’s travel highlights. It’s exciting to hear they are opening up a camp at Cap Masoala and I truly hope to return there with friends or family in the future.
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Date of stay: October 2019
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Room Tip: Chalet 7 is more private and a bit more in the forest but has its own beach and better chance to...
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4 Helpful votes
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Response from Maria_Bester, Owner at Masoala Forest Lodge
Responded 27 Nov 2019
It feels fantastic to read how much you loved your stay and that you appreciated the place and our lodge so much! Thanks a million for taking the time to write us such a great feedback! Dash, Sam, Pierre, Maria & Team
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Gypsy5 wrote a review Nov 2019
1 contribution1 helpful vote
Masoala Forest Lodge is an amazing way to experience Madagascar. The property accommodations are wonderful with fantastic views of the water. The trails around the property are terrific. The staff is attentive and in tune to everyone's needs. Transportation to the lodge is great. The food is wonderful However beware if you plan to visit the National Forest. MFL seems to have their own treacherous entrance to the National Forest. Our guide has been to Madagascar 12 times and has never entered the NF on the most dangerous trail that MFL requires it guests to use. Entangled roots, extremely slippery rocks, running water, and nasty mud have to be overcome to get to the entrance of the National Forest. There is beautiful sandy beach access with the entrance to the National Forest that all the other lodges use. It takes at least 20 minutes of horrific maneuvering to get to the entrance that all other lodge guests use. You will also have to use this trail to exit. Why would you put the safety of your guests at risk using this trail? It is an unfortunate accident waiting to happen that is not required by anyone except Masoala Forest Lodge. For guests that have never visited the National Forest before they would not know that there is a very safe way to enter the NF. Please rethink how you have your guests enter. There is a very safe alternative.
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Date of stay: November 2019
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Andrew_ug wrote a review Sep 2019
Entebbe12 contributions2 helpful votes
We had a really great time staying at Masoala Forest Lodge. The location could not be better, located on a little cove with bungalows overlooking the forest and the beach. The food was always delicious, fresh and healthy. We loved the fresh juices and tea in the late afternoon on the seadeck. There is a nice variety of activities ranging from forest walks (the two walks we did we saw Critically Endangered red ruffed lemurs!), snorkeling, kayaking through a mangrove forest to special sundown cruises. We wish we had more time to do them all! MFL owners and managers were always great company and very helpful. Evening by the fire drinking a beer and chatting after a fun day out in nature makes you realize it doesn't get much better than this.
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Date of stay: September 2019Trip type: Travelled as a couple
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Response from Maria_Bester, Owner at Masoala Forest Lodge
Responded 24 Oct 2019
Thank you for taking the time to write a review Andrew. Well appreciated! It was a pleasure having you at the lodge! We hope to welcome you again soon! You MFL- team
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ALSO KNOWN AS
masoala forest hotel tampolo
LOCATION
MadagascarToamasina ProvinceTampolo
NUMBER OF ROOMS
12
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Frequently Asked Questions about Masoala Forest Lodge
What are some of the property amenities at Masoala Forest Lodge?
Some of the more popular amenities offered include free breakfast, an on-site restaurant, and a lounge.
What food & drink options are available at Masoala Forest Lodge?
Guests can enjoy free breakfast, an on-site restaurant, and a lounge during their stay.
Does Masoala Forest Lodge have an airport shuttle?
Yes, Masoala Forest Lodge offers an airport shuttle for guests. We recommend calling ahead to confirm details.