Nosy Mangabe is a 520 hectare nature protected tropical rainforest island abundant in wildlife located about 2km off the the coast of Maroantsetra. The island is perhaps one of the first areas of Madagascar to be inhabited by European explorers.
The island is part of the Masoala National Park and is best known for its resident aye-aye lemurs, which were released here in the sixties to prevent what was then thought to be a species at risk of extinction. British science fiction writer Douglas Adams visited the island in search for the aye-aye for one of his books, Last Chance to See. These nocturnal lemurs may however be difficult to spot. Other lemurs that can be found on the island include white-fronted brown lemurs and black-and-white ruffed lemurs. Dolphins and sea turtles can also be found in the bay around the island.
A boat trip to the island takes about 30 minutes and can be booked at the Masoala park office in Maroantsetra. Alternatively, a trip can be arranged by Rakoto Vazaha - local guide who is highly recommended. There are no permanent inhabitants or accommodation on the island, except for a camp site for biologists, researchers and visiting tourists. There are trails but they are often slippery.
The island has a history of trading and piracy. At Plage des Hollandais (west coast) there are rock carvings by Dutch sailors dating from the 16th or 17th century and a more recent shipwreck. The island has also served as a quarantine for sick sailors. The highest point is 332 metres and close to the summit there are some tombs. There is a lighthouse, a waterfall and a beach on the island. A two-day pass costs 15,000 ariary payable at the park office directly on the island.