The site is located 50 km south-east of Besalampy. The relief is slightly undulating. The fast-flowing Maningoza river runs through the forest. The reserve includes dense, dry deciduous forest and secondary savanna. The forest is dominated by trees of Dalbergia, Givotia, Securinega, Commiphora, Eugenia and Ravensara. The mid-stratum is composed of small shrubs, numerous lianas and some epiphytes. There are palms Hyphaene and Bismarckia in the savanna.
See Box and Tables 2 and 3 for key species. As with Bemarivo Special Reserve (IBA MG033), Maningoza Special Reserve is still rather poorly known ornithologically. However, 52 species are known from the site, of which 25 are endemic to Madagascar. Species of global conservation concern include Philepitta schlegeli.