The island has a rich history of trading and piracy and on the west side of the island are rock carvings by Dutch sailors from the 16th-century. In the 17th-century the area was invaded by the French who established a trading post. British science fiction writer Douglas Adams visited the island searching for the aye-aye, for a radio programme and in one of his lesser known books, Last Chance to See.
Nosy Mangabe is a 520 hectares (1,300 acres) island nature reserve in Antongil Bay in the north-east of Madagasgar. The island is covered in dense forest, has an altitude of 1,331 metres (4,367 ft) and the annual rainfall is 4,000 millimetres (160 in). It is part of the Masoala National Park. There are no permanent settlements on the island; a campsite with bathroom and kitchen facilities serves as a base camp for biologists, researchers and eco-tourists. The best way to see the island is by boat from Maroansetra, which takes about 45 minutes.
The island is covered in dense humid forest and was established as a reserve for the aye-aye which were introduced to the island in the 1960s. They were in danger of extinction, having been hunted, for centuries, by local people who consider them to be a symbol of death and harbinger of evil. They are categorised as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). There are a further four species of lemur on the island; the eastern woolly lemur (Avahi laniger), white-fronted lemur (Eulemur albifrons), black-and-white ruffed lemur (Varecia variegata) and gray mouse-lemur (Microcebus murinus).
Baron’s climbing rosewood (Dalbergia baronii) is a vulnerable tree found on the island.