Africa Madagascar

Best National Parks of Madagascar

putovanje na Madagaskar

One of the main reasons why people decide to visit this ‘Red Island’ is its extraordinary and wonderful WILDLIFE.  And the best place to experience and see a spectacular array of wildlife and the highest biodiversity on the planet is in the NATIONAL PARKS OF MADAGASCAR!

What is the best national park?

The question most tourists will ask as there is simply not enough time to visit them all in just one visit. National parks and other tourist attractions are scattered all over the island so you need to plan ahead which parks you would not want to miss.

Here is a list of my ‘Best National Parks of Madagascar’ and why you should not miss them.

1. Andasibe National Park

Why visit?

It is the best place to spot the Indri, the largest living lemur! Apart from the Indri, another 13 lemur species inhabit these forests, such as woody lemur, grey bamboo lemur, diademed sifaka, brown lemur, red mouse-lemur, red-bellied lemur, black and white ruffed lemur and even aye-aye. The Parsons Chameleon can be found here, the largest chameleon in the world!

How to get there?

Located about 150 km east of Antananarivo in eastern Madagascar, it encompasses two distinct areas:

  • the small Réserve Spéciale d’Analamazaotra (popularly known by the old French name of the nearby town and railway station, Périnet) in the south next to Andasibe village
  • the much larger Parc National de Mantadia to the north

The park is accessible during all the year. The main entrance is just a couple of km from the main road RN2 connecting Tana and Tamatave. The whole trip takes 3 – 4 hours from Tana (150 km) and 5 – 6 from Tamatave (250 km) by car.

Entrance fee

Ar 45,000 for one day (+ guide)

Good place to stay near the park

Marie Guesthouse

2. Ranomafana National Park

Why visit?

Meaning ‘hot water’ in Malagasy, due to the hot springs found in the area, Ranomafana National Park is one of the most spectacular national parks in Madagascar. Covering a mountainous area of 415 kilometres, the park is set at altitudes that range between 800 and 1,200 metres in a vast tract, comprised mainly of dense rainforest. In 1986 the critically endangered golden bamboo lemur was discovered here by Dr. Patricia Wright, a fact that definitely pushed the government to create a national park.

The park contains twelve lemur species as well as 115 species of birds and 62 reptiles!

How to get there?

Ranomafana National Park is very easy to access. It lies about 60 km north from Fianarantsoa, and 400 south from Tana. There is also a good taxi-brousse connection to the Ranomafana village from Antananarivo and from Fianarantsoa.

Entrance fee

The entry fee is Ar 55,000 for a one day visit (+ guide)

What not to forget to pack for Ranomafana?

A pocket-size lamp and batteries for the nocturnal visits, raincoat, good walking shoes, mosquito repellents, sun cream, first aid kit.

3. Isalo National Park

Why visit?

Because of the impressive nature (from sandstone massif to impressive gorges and canyons)!

Though wildlife is here not as prominent as in other parks of the country, there are still a couple of species worth to look out: Ring-tailed lemurs, brown lemurs, sifakas and  14 nocturnal lemurs hide in dense vegetation along the streams.

The park homes also approximately 80 species of birds (including the rare Benson’s rock-thrush, the knob-billed duck or the crested ibis), 35 of reptiles and several endemic frogs.

The flora is indeed more interesting than the fauna. There are several local endemic plants among the 500 species which are found within Isalo, such as the elephant´s foot and some rare palms and aloe species.

How to get there?

Park is located approximately 700 km southwest of Antananarivo

Entrance fee

The entry fee costs Ar 65,000 for a single day. A guide is, as always, compulsory.

4. Anja Community Reserve

Why visit?

This small Reserve (it’s not official National Park!) is home to about 400 ring-tailed lemurs as well as three species of lizard. Definitely the best place in Madagascar to see the icon of Madagascar, amazing ring-tailed lemurs, that are used to visitors, so it is possible to approach to within a few meters for photos. Definitely worth a visit, this was one of my favorite places on the island, not to miss! 2 – 3 hours walk in the Reserve is more than enough.

How to get there?

Located between the towns of Fianarantsoa and Ihosy, on national route 7 (NR7) Anja is a popular stop between the Antananarivo and the south of Madagascar.

Entrance fee

Ar 10,000 + tour guide

5. Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park

Why visit?

Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park has 2.4 square miles of jagged limestone landscape and forests! The needle-like landscape’s name literally translates as ‘where one cannot walk barefoot’. But even with shoes, it can prove a challenge for hardy explorers. On top of the Tsingy you have an amazing view over the landscape and when you’re lucky you can see the Sifakas jumping over the rocks with no effort at all.

The reserve’s canyons, gorges, undisturbed forests, lakes and mangrove swamps display an astonishing richness of fauna and flora which have not been completely recorded.

How to get there?

The largest nature reserve on the island is located in the western coast of Madagascar, on the most beautiful road in Madagascar, 2 – 3 hours jeep drive from the Avenue of the Baobabs.

The Park is only open during the dry season from April to November, since it is inaccessible during the rainy season (mid-end November to mid-end May). The Grand Tsingy are only accessible between June and the beginning of November.

Entrance fee

The entry fee costs Ar 55,000 for one day. The guide fees will depend on the route chosen.

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2 Comments

  • Reply
    ANDREW O'REGAN
    May 6, 2017 at 4:24 pm

    Hi, you mention there is a good ‘There is also a good taxi-brousse connection to the Ranomafana village from Antananarivo and from Fianarantsoa’
    I’m looking to get to Ranomafana from Tana in one day in September 2017 – can you advise how i do this?
    Thanks

    • Reply
      Petra Fruk
      May 9, 2017 at 9:43 am

      Hi Andrew!

      Thank you for your question. It’s a bit hard to reach Ranomafana from Tana in just one day by taxi-brousse (it’s a really long drive, even if you start very early in the morning from Tana bus station). Connection from Tana goes through Fianarantsoa (a small town 60 km from Ranomafana) so you can catch any taxi-brousse heading to Fianarantsoa. Also taxi-brousse that goes to Mananjary or Manakara will pass through Ranomafana so that’s also ok option.
      What I would suggest you to hire a car with a driver for a day (cars are no more than 40 – 50 EUR/day) and you’ll be able to do it in one day and have more comfortable and safe travel. Especially during night time taxi-brousses are NOT safe, so please be very careful if you decided to go with that option (also nobody speaks English, so that’s one more problem if you don’t speak French).
      I usually use public transport on my travels, but in Madagascar that was not the case. If you don’t have a lot of time – rent a car, a bit expensive option than a public transportation but way more easier, comfortable and secure (plus the language barrier can be really a problem)!
      I was very satisfied with my driver, a young boy who runs a transport company with his family on the island, Stephan, here is his email: madalandtours@yahoo.com so you can send him question about the prices, organization of your trip and everything else you are interested in.
      Hope I’ll help you! Let me know how was your trip! Madagascar is truly stunning and unique island!
      Happy & safe travels,
      Petra

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