Toamasina Travel GuideEdit This The best resource for sights, hotels, restaurants, bars, what to do and see
Driving north from Toamasina on pretty dreadful roads for some twelve kilometres, and then several more on a muddy, rutted track along the bank of a river brings you to Ivoloina Gardens. This attractive nature reserve promotes the conservation of Madagascar's unique animals and plants, which are under massive threat from the erosion of their natural habitats. The main focus is on lemurs, thirteen species of which are to be seen in the reserve, five of which range free in the forests near the caged species. Ivoloina Gardens gets about 14,000 visitors a year of which about 70% are Malagasy nationals, and the small scale but apparently effective approach taken in this reserve is partly supported by the Madagascar Fauna Group, a global consortium of 38 zoos, universities and conservation centers headquartered at the San Francisco zoo. The lemurs are certainly adorable creatures and – given the immense poverty and lack of resources in the country – such efforts to conserve and regenerate these species are to be applauded and supported. In addition to the lemurs, you may also be able to see spider tortoises, cryptic chameleons and the brilliantly colored tomato frogs – all species unique to Madagascar.