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                  Le Relais du Masoala                       Le Petit Relais

The setting:
 
At the top of Antongil Bay on the north-east coast of Madagascar,
Latitude 15o 26' 34.25" S,
Longitude 49o 43' 37.58" E,
in the heart of the clove and vanilla growing region of the island, the Relais is a collection of 15 well-appointed Malagasy-style bungalows (with American comfort levels) scattered in an expansive lush coconut grove. A narrow causeway separates the Relais from the natural wild sandy beach along the Bay overlooking the island reserve of Mangabe. Gently bathed by the trade winds, the graceful and peaceful property lies a few minutes west of the center of Maroantsetra, the gateway to Masoala, Makira, Farakaraina and Nosy Mangabe.
 
The setting:
 
At the edge of Masoala National Park,
Latitude 15o 42' 29.42" S,
Longitude 49o 57' 48.97" E,
nestled into the hillock known locally as "Lohatrozona" (literally, the "head of the whale"), twenty pristine acres of primary coastal tropical forest await you. Consisting of just 8 bungalows, the lodge is discreetly set just behind a mile-long private beach of golden sand extending along Tampolo Marine Park from the village of Ambodiforaha to the South up to the very entrance to Masoala National Park to the North.

The bungalows and the lodge:
 
Sheltered by the fronds of the lush coconut palms, each spacious bungalow is built in the Betsimisaraka vernacular style, with natural ventilation thanks to the falafa roof and baobao walls, with two double extra-long canopied beds with mosquito nets, measuring 1.37 m x 2m (54" x 80") each, and a comfortable en suite bathroom.

The central structure, built of noble wood with an intricate roof designed and assembled by local artisans, consists mainly of a dining room surrounded by a veranda which enhances the indoor/outdoor living experience. The simple, healthy cuisine features fresh produce from our farm along with local seafood. We are happy to accommodate vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free diets with prior notice.

The lodge has a swimming pool, as well as a leisure corner with a library, satellite TV, board games, and complimentary internet access.

 
The bungalows and the lodge:
 
Built out of local baobao, bararata, falafa, hintsina and hazovola, each bungalow has a floor area of about 52 square meters (or about 560 square feet), and offers a level of comfort that is totally unequaled in Masoala, with unimpeded views onto the sea as well as the surrounding forest, blending seamlessly with the environment. The spacious suites are totally private yet open onto the outside at the guest's discretion, thanks to floor-to-ceiling plantation shutters on three sides. The fourth wall separates the living area from the bathroom, featuring a separate toilet with wash basin, twin sinks with ample counter space and a hair-drier, and two showers, the ultimate glass block shower inside, and an al-fresco shower outside for a total communion with nature (yet with 24h hot water). Each suite also features a roomy armoire, luggage rack and in-room coffee-service amenities including an electric kettle.
Each bungalow has two double extra-long canopied beds with mosquito nets, measuring 1.37 m x 2m (54" x 80") each, along with a sitting area and a writing desk.

Front desk, lobby, bar and dining area: At the bottom of the gentle hill, right at the water's edge, the lodge itself is open on three sides and offers guests a convivial, cozy gathering area.

Dining: The simple, healthy cuisine features fresh produce from our farm in Maroantsetra along with local seafood. We are happy to accommodate vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free diets with prior notice.


Things to do:
  • Excursions to the numerous points of natural interest around Maroantsetra: Nosy Mangabe reserve (by boat across the bay), Farakaraina Forest (by boat along the Antainambalana river or around the top of the bay), the village of Navana (that gave its name to Grand Marnier's "Navan" cognac) and, of course, Masoala National Park on the peninsula. You can also plan a trek either across Masoala towards Antalaha or towards Lohatrozona, or up the river into the Makira.
  • Whale-watching cruises within Antongil Bay between July and September (enquire at the front desk for current rates)
  • Complimentary use of our bicycles, kayaks, bocce balls and ping pong table and rackets.
 
Things to do:
  • Hikes into Masoala National Park to see specimens of the unique fauna and flora, including the red-ruffed lemur, the red-fronted brown lemur, and, if you are lucky, the aye-aye, the greater hedgehog tenrec, the fossa, the fanaloka and the falanouc. The park is also home to various species of brightly colored Mantella frogs, and all manner of extraordinary chameleons of all sizes. Masoala is also the refuge of the endangered Madagascar Red Owl and Madagascar Serpent Eagle, along with many, many endemic bird species such as the Helmet Vanga, the Short-legged Ground Roller, the Scaly Ground Roller, the Blue Vanga, the White-headed Vanga, the Madagascar Pygmy Kingfisher, the Red-breasted Coua, the Blue Coua, the Crested Drongo. The flora includes the Masoala pitcher plant and the very rare ravim-be palm (Marojejya darianii, listed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature as one of the 12 most endangered living organisms in the world).
  • Snorkeling in the coral reefs of Tampolo Marine sanctuary
  • guided night walks in the forest with one of our resident guides
  • whale-watching cruises in the Bay
  • swimming, sunbathing, outrigger-canoeing, kayaking, and fishing.

Telecommunications:
 
Orange and Telma cell networks, with complimentary WiFi around the reception area.
 
Telecommunications:
 
The Orange cell network reception is good at the top of the hillock and by the stream.

Electricity: available 24/7 thanks to the lodge's clean-energy hydro-electric micro-plant installed on the stream at the edge of the park.

How to find us:

By air (domestic Air Madagascar flights from Tana, Toamasina, Antalaha and Sambava) to Maroantsetra (then, for the Petit Relais, by boat between Maroantsetra and Lohatrozona - a 1.5-hour ride or slightly more depending on weather conditions).

For information and reservations, please contact the manager, Mr. Rado Ramboalimanana,
relaismasoala@gmail.com or petitrelais@gmail.com , +261 (0)32 40 213 81 or +261 (0)34 79 495 05