An Adventure in the Unspoiled Natural Beauty of Madagascar and the Mantasaly Resort

For those who are tired of overrun travel destinations, the options are growing fewer and fewer each year. Places where there is little pollution, traffic or maddening crowds are becoming hard to find. Madagascar, off the coast of southern Africa in the Indian ocean, is a rare destination that is untouched, pristine and abundant in natural beauty.  It can be rough and rugged and at times relatively primitive but that’s just what makes it such an untrampled destination. In the north of Madagascar is where you’ll find the Mantasaly Resort. The luxury resort is surrounded by natural beautiful and is also a watersports mecca offering some of the top kite surfing and wind surfing experiences in the world.

First and foremost, the resort is about water sports and in particular wind and kite surfing. This is where well-to-do lovers of kite and wind surfering go to seek out a luxury resort and perfect conditions to enjoy their sport. Between April to November the winds are constant between 20 and 30 knots where surfers never have to wait for good wind conditions. The resort sits on a massive bay and a barrier reef, so the water and waves are generally smooth. 

A long drive through scrub brush along a winding sand road opens up to the view of Mantasaly. This is a grand resort that also appeals to all types of travelers beyond the water sports enthusiasts. It is a place for romantic couples, families, or friends who want an exotic adventure.  It sits on a hillside above a pristine and private bay with out a development nearby as far as the eye can see. Guests feel like they have their own private three mile beach surrounded by sand dunes, dense scrub brush, and views on to the crystal clear waters.

There are only 32 accommodations on the property which are spread out over acres and acres of land so it never feels crowded. Mantasaly is a beautifully designed top notch luxury resort with a mix of local design, European detail and an exceptional eye for mixing color, décor and style. Local artwork is placed alongside of gorgeous wall art, indigenous paintings and bursts of color in geometric shapes.

Mantasaly has all the services and amenities that one would expect from exception dining, extensive facilities such as a lake-sized pool, professional gym and work out areas, spa and a kid's club for the little ones. 

Roxana is the general manager and could not be warmer, friendly or welcoming. Her, along with her constant companion Sisi, as precocious crown lemur, are always about the property checking in on guests to make sure their stay is going well. The staff is fantastic as well with genuine warmth and friendly service and care.

The concept of the accommodations are reimagined bungalows which are comfortable in sized with bespoke furnishings and  bright and fresh colors.  All suites offer a flat screen TV, sofa, mini bar and large terrace overlooking the sea where you’ll want to settle down after a long day of adventure. 

The dining experience at Mantasaly is excellent with an a-la carte menu based on local and international food so you’ll get to savor Madagascar cuisines with haute preparation and technique by an internationally trained executive chef.  Savvy guests will opt for the fresh catch of the day fish and seafood, skillfully prepared in local style. By the pool, meals are more casual with mainly grilled with seafood, ZEBU beef burgers as well as excellent pizzas from the wood fired oven. 

Mantasaly strives to keep all their delicious meals locally sourced and organic without a lot of preservatives or frozen ingredients. Most are fresh, locally produced or sourced from the fisherman who live not far from the resort and who bring their bounty to the resort each day.

This is an active resort with so much to do and see in the area. Its main attraction is a white sandy beach, the turquoise water, and plenty of places to take in the sun on a chaise lounge or dash off with your loved one to find a secluded place without a soul for miles around.  At the resort, the lake sized pool is an ideal place to laze about, jump in for a swim or chillout with a cool drink at the entertainment area vibing to the music or shooting pool.

For those seeking a more active pursuit, the Mantasaly offers guests a wide range of activities from boat rides to nearby private island, Stand-up Paddle boarding or kayaking between mangrove forest and rocky volcanic rock formations. There are  all manner of water sports from jet skis, scuba and snorkeling and deep sea fishing as well as 4x4 ATVing in the trails around the resort. As shared, this is a world class wind surfing and kite surfing destination. The winds are constant during the season and there’s a pro shop with all manner of equipment for rental or storage of the guest’s equipment.

First and foremost, the reason to go to Madagascar is for nature. It is abundant, diverse, and thrilling. The mountains and dense rainforests create habitats for countless types of birds, lizards, non-venomous snakes, and of course, the country’s favorite icon, lemurs. Above and below the sea lies another habitat of crystal clear water, beautiful sea-life of colorful fish and corals and the miles and miles of white sandy beaches along the coastline.

As beautiful as Madagascar is to behold, it must be stated that it’s not an “easy” country. It is rough and rugged which is exactly why it is still pristine. The solution is to have your trips and excursions arranged by an in country professional tour operators such as Madagascar Endemics & Resorts (MER).  MER is a highly professional and certified tour operator that sets up ideal experiences to take in all that this incredible country has to offer. When we travel, we want to enjoy a destination without aggravation and hassle. Hassle of transportation, feeling unsafe,  knowing where to go and what to do, or of feeling left alone. MER ensures none of that happens by taking care of its guests and taking the headaches out of traveling to such a beautiful yet rugged destination.



While in northern Madagascar, there are several places that you’ll definitely want to visit. On land, the forests are exciting to explore on a trek through the cool temperature and pure air of the rainforest to see lemur and the wildlife. Amber Mountain is the highest peak in the area to see various precious woods, botanical garden species, and animals.  

Another unusual site to see in Madagascar are the to visit these unusual natural formations called Tsingy which look like stalagmites but are actually sandstone, limestone and marl at the base of an eroded canyon. It is a bizarre and eerie must see site.  The Ankarana Reserve is a vast reserve of mountains and forest and the ideal habitat for seeing the reptiles, amphibians, lemurs, and birds as well as underground rivers, and massive bat caves. It is also where explorers will find the peculiar gray colored Tsingy which is again eroded calcareous rock formations. 

The unspoiled waters of the Indian Ocean off the coast of Diego Suarez offer an untouched biodiversity under the sea with stunning coral formations exuding brilliant colors platforms in a marine protected sanctuary where an easy snorkel dive offers a great show of exotic fish, sea turtles and brilliant colored corals seen through crystal clear waters.   

A wonderful way to experience it is a day’s boat ride and visit to a deserted island. The trip is a true Robin Crusoe adventure that begins with a sail on a rustic local’s boat followed by time at the white sand beach island that offers plenty of places to explore or get lost with your loved one. The afternoon concludes with fresh caught seafood barbeque to complete the day.

Many of us dream to go on vacation to an unspoiled destination where it is not over trampled with traffic pollution or maddening crowds of tourists dashing off tour buses and jockeying for position to take a photo of a landmark or of some wildlife.   Madagascar offers that and so much more that guests will cherish long after the baggage has been unpacked back home. An adventure with Madagascar Endemics & Resorts as well as an ideal stay at the Mantasaly Resort is the way to fully enjoy this remarkable destination.

Glenn Harris

Glenn Harris is an accomplished journalist focusing on international travel, fine dining, and luxury lifestyle events. His wanderlust has taken him to over 105 countries where he is constantly straying off the beaten path uncovering new and exotic finds. He particularly enjoys seeking out lesser known travel gems and places to stay, dine, or experiences to capture. ...(Read More)

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