We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Close to the rain forest” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Vakona Forest Lodge

We can't find prices for this hotel
Our online travel partners don't provide prices for this hotel, but we can search other options in Andasibe
Check In mm/dd/yyyy Check Out mm/dd/yyyy
Vakona Forest Lodge
Save
You added Vakona Forest Lodge to your Saves list
BP 750, Andasibe, Madagascar   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Andasibe
Michigan
Top Contributor
52 reviews 52 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
“Close to the rain forest”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 23, 2012

We stayed two nights here. The pictures everyone has posted are accurate so I don’t feel the need to post more. The lodges are lovely but please make note of a few things. There are a lot of steps and it can be quite a distance to get to the restaurant for a meal. My mother-in-law found the steps to be bothersome and considered using her cane. The mattresses are hard. The lodges are cold and damp so keep the heater on in the room and consider bringing warm pajamas for this location. I wished I brought slippers to keep my feet of the cold floor. Please bring a torch to get to your lodge after dinner. The porters are available and will help with luggage. Also the path to the lodges is the same path that vehicles use; there is not a separate walkway. While the staff is friendly, the service is slow. The restaurant staff seemed to always be confused at dinner regarding keeping orders straight. We pre-ordered our dinner because we were going on a night hike. Not sure why we pre-ordered because dinner took 90 minutes once we returned from the hike. The dining room circles a lovely fire, but we had a hard time getting staff to stoke the fire.
While lots of people have an unfavorable review of Lemur Island, it is tons of fun to interact with the lemurs. I too prefer to keep wild animals wild but to have a chance to pet a few captive lemurs was exciting. I was disappointed to see the other animals at Vakona…very zoo like. But I am thankful to see the fossa. Just know that you will be seeing animals in a zoo setting and you won’t be disappointed.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

267 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    71
    153
    32
    6
    5
See reviews for
36
154
10
2
Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (48)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Perth, Australia
Top Contributor
207 reviews 207 reviews
43 hotel reviews
Reviews in 61 cities Reviews in 61 cities
107 helpful votes 107 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 20, 2012

The standard of the accommodation is high, with nice rooms and setting, but dont be fooled by the website that shows the lodge surrounded by forest. Well, it is surrounded by forest but it is plantation eucalypts from Australia and not local rainforest which was a big disappointment.

The service is pretty average especially for breakfast where staff were hard to pin down and then bring what you ordered. The food at other meals was nice but pricey. There are no credit card facilities which I found odd as they manage to offer free WIFI so surely they could handle credit cards.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Istanbul, Turkey
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 5, 2012

a fantastic lodge in the forest. roads are slippy during rain when can be difficult to reach w/o a 4WD. spending the night in your little balcony listening to the forest is great. close to Andasibe park but there are more close hotels around. No credit cards are accepted, this is the main bug in Madagascar travels and their exchange rates are awful, take care. acuse you have no alternative around. food and the restaurant atmosphere is wonderful. rooms are a bit cold during the nights, be prepared.

Room Tip: make reservations early, cause it is one of the few hotels around and usually totally booked.
See more room tips
  • Stayed August 2012, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2012

We weren't sure what to expect at Vakona but it really is a superb place to stay and worked wonderfully well for us as a family of six to see the local wild life.

The location is great and very easy to get to from Tana along a pretty decent road. It is also very quick to get to the Andasibe trails and we had two spectacular days of tracking and encounters with five different species of lemur including the famed indri.

The hotel lodge is a wonderful place to come back to after a days tracking. There was a fire burning in the great circular fireplace all day and comfortable chairs to relax in. The food was very good (mainly French dishes) and varied enough even on the set-menu not to get repetitiveby day four and they did the Malagasy dishes really well. It also has good wine list and bar with an intelligent and attentive staff. Overall the hotel is really well run and is a welcoming,happy place.

Loads to do for the kids outside of the trekking with swimming (a bit cold but a nice pool), table tennis and of course lemur island that the children just loved as they got clambered all over. Do take the canoe ride around the islands (most people just do the island) as you will see other types of lemur including ring tailed and I think it is even included in the cost.

We also did some riding where they have some surprisingly good horses (although watch out for Cirrus - he bites!) and the animal reserve with its great crocs and tortoises.

Rooms are a little on the small side and can be a bit chilly at night, but they are clean and pleasant and frankly if you are languishing in your room with everything else there is to do at Antisibe and Vakona then you are making a big mistake.

If you come here then do remember that it can be cold and wet and bring the right clothes. You may only be here for two or three nights on your way to a tropical beach, but it could be miserable if you only have shorts and T shirt to wear.

Also do remember that the Vakona doesn't take credit cards so bring enough Euros. You will also need a car and probably a driver to get around.

Room Tip: The lodges are quite spread out so if you need more than one make sure they are close together.
See more room tips
  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Aylesbury, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
52 reviews 52 reviews
43 hotel reviews
Reviews in 46 cities Reviews in 46 cities
120 helpful votes 120 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 27, 2012

My husband and I have stayed at Vakona Forest Lodge in August 2012 for 3 nights. We have mainly come to this area to be able to visit Andasibe National Park and see the wildlife. We travelled from Tana to the lodge, it’s a 4 hour car ride (best to be done in a 4x4), on the way most people stop for the small zoo with some crocodiles, chameleons etc.

Accommodation: 3 STARS
The Lodges are very basic but offer heating (essential for the winter months), minibar, second room with cupboards and spare bed, large bathroom and mosquito netting over the bed. There is a coffee and tea making facility but no milk or black tea on offer…all you get is green tea which is a bit of a let-down. All in all, we enjoyed the lodge and felt comfortable staying in it, we especially liked the patio area which goes with every lodge, so you can sit outside in the evenings.

Area surrounding the lodge: 4 STARS
There are a lot of routes you can walk yourself from the hotel (map in room). We walked along a small stream and it was a pleasant trip, we have seen some unusual frogs, spiders, birds and butterflies. The hotel gardens are well maintained, we have seen some chameleons and pretty birds right on our doorstep. The night walks are usually very good, we were a little unlucky and have only seen some chameleons and tree frogs.
Andasibe National Park is nearby and we have gone for a 5 hour walk to see the many different species of Lemur in their natural habitat. We have also seen several chameleons, tree frogs, spiders and bird species.

Staff & Services: 2 STARS
At arrival we were informed that the hotel does not accept credit cards – so do come with cash.
The Restaurant which is the main building is a very beautiful area with 180 degrees windows so you can view the lake and some bird species (Kingfishers).
Dinner: A menu with limited choices, I tried the Zebu filet, which I enjoyed. My husband had stuffed chicken, which he did not enjoy very much but it was edible. The prices are much cheaper if you go into town and eat there, which a lot of people did.
The Snack Menu after lunch time is extremely limited – child size portions of fast food – no salads, fresh fruit or vegetables available.
The breakfast is probably the worst of all – the hotel offers some breakfast cereal, milk, tinned fruit cocktail, watered down fruit juice which you can help yourself to IF they had bothered to refill the bowls. You can order some fried or scrambled (tasted like powderd) eggs with the dry toast and one croissant per person. One morning there were no napkins, one morning there were no glasses, other morning no juice etc. The staff however would not see this on their own, you will have to go and ask for anything missing or for them to refill the juice etc. Best about the breakfast was the nice coffee. The bar was very good, they offer a lot of cocktails and have most of the common drinks available. On our last day we had a bottle of wine from the menu which was of good quality and reasonably priced.

Lemur Island & Croc Farm:
I generally am not such a big fan of Zoo’s, the only thing is that you will have the opportunity to see some animals which you might not see easily in the national parks. Personally I think the zoo habitats could be a bit nicer, some of the cages are rather small.
Lemur Island again, is an opportunity to see some of the species close up but they are still tame and WILL hop onto your head which I did not like very much. I would suggest to approach with caution or at least wear a hat.

Would I suggest this location/hotel to friends ? I probably would even though I think the service could have been better and the food needs to improve. The area surrounding is beautiful.

Room Tip: Accomodation offers heating but if you want a bungalow in the sun ask for it, some of the bungalows...
See more room tips
  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Winsford, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
97 reviews 97 reviews
50 hotel reviews
Reviews in 51 cities Reviews in 51 cities
58 helpful votes 58 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 23, 2012

Set in a natural tree lined bowl not far from Andasibe and Mantida reserves. Lodges in pairs around the central reception and restaurant and the small lake (artificial though does attract some nice bird life). The restaurant has an impressive circular fire place used to burn wood through breakfast and dinner. Menu a bit limited (as typical throughout Madagascar) but met our needsand was good quality - loved the banana flambe ! Stayed 2 nights in Room 29 - the lodge remained in the shade throughout the day which in the heat of the summer may be useful however in the slightly cooler winter meant the room didnt warm up - heaters are included though. The lodges on the opposite side of the 'bowl' had what appeared to be constant sun. Had an astonishing 'march of the catepillars' up towards our lodge - several hundred - never seen anything like it.
Both Reserves were fabulous ! As also were the night walks alongside the reserves - you still get to see some great sights - woolly lemur and mouse lemur plus numerous chameleons on our first night !
Lemur Island - yes controversial and ultimately it is your choice whether you accept this or not. With habituated (ex-pet) lemurs it is obviously an opportunity to get very close and intimate with several varieties of lemur however is this right ? Madagscar is a country with a fabulous unique heritage and maybe hasnt always managed this as others may have wanted. However the lemurs are healthy and safe and free (to a degree). If you don't approve - then don't go there - there are many other great opportunities to see these gorgeous animals.

Room Tip: Room 29 is nicely isolated at the end of the lodges however never saw any sun so remained cool throu...
See more room tips
  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Baltasound, United Kingdom
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 22, 2012

I have to counter the opinions of Lemur Island. I found the place repugnant. The justification for it is that they are lemurs that were former pets, but the animals were still being treated as pets - hand fed, jumping on visitors, stroked by the guides. There may have been an opportunity here to educate about the problems of lemurs being taken into captivity but it was totally missed. All the place does is encourage people to think of lemurs as cute and cuddly ... and potential pets. Sorry, but it was very poor and the crocodile farm, caged birds and Fossas were no better. If Vokona Lodge insist on persisting with captive animals they will have to use the opportunity to promote conservation and education - something they conspicuously fail to do at the moment.

The hotel itself was good with a lovely location.

Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hotels you might also like...
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
Price Your Stay

Been to Vakona Forest Lodge? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Additional Information about Vakona Forest Lodge

Address: BP 750, Andasibe, Madagascar
Location: Madagascar > Toamasina Province > Andasibe
Amenities:
Free Parking Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Andasibe
Number of rooms: 32
Also Known As:
Vakona Forest Hotel Andasibe
Vakona Forest Lodge Madagascar/Andasibe

Owners: What's your side of the story?

If you own or manage Vakona Forest Lodge, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.