Madagascar: Wildlife Destinations
Wildlife Highlights of Madagascar
1. Montagne d’Ambre National Park – mountain forest.
2. Ankarana Special Reserve – limestone plateau.
3. Marojejy National Park – realm of the rare silky sifaka.
4. Masoala National Park – forest peninsula rich in wildlife.
5. Nosy Mangabe Special Reserve – island of the aye-aye.
6. Andasibe-Mantadia National Park – best place for indri.
7. Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park – limestone pinnacles.
8. Kirindy Forest – dry forest, good place for seeing fosa.
9. Ranomafana National Park – lush, rainforested hills.
10. Andringitra National Park – mountain forest, good treks.
11. Isalo National Park – Sandstone canyons and rare plants.
12. Zombitse National Park – forest full of endemic species.
13. Ifaty Spiny Forest – octopus trees and baobabs.
14. Berenty Private Reserve – famed for its dancing sifakas.
15. Andohahela National Park – spiny forest.
Masoala National Park & Nosy Mangabe
Masoala and Nosy Manabe's star species: Red-ruffed lemur • Helmet vanga • Aye-aye • Leaf-tailed gecko
Madagascar’s largest remaining tract of lowland rainforest can be found on the Masoala peninsula – the only place to see red-ruffed lemur. Covered in epiphytes and orchids, the forest’s tree ferns are a good place to look for the helmet vanga with its large blue bill. Nearby Nosy Mangabe island is the best place in Madagascar to spotlight a nocturnal aye-aye.
When to go Humpback whales can be seen offshore July to August.
Things to do Forest walks, kayaking, snorkelling.
Places to stay The safari-style, beachside Masoala Forest Lodge has five large tents with palm-thatched roofs, ensuite bathrooms and private decks..
Andasibe-Mantadia National Park
Andasibe-Mantadia's star species: Indri • Diademed sifaka • Black-and-white ruffed lemur
Located near the village of Andasibe and easily accessible, this hilly expanse of rainforest is home to several species of lemur. You are almost guaranteed close views of indri, while the forest trails also provide great opportunities for spotting chameleons, leaf-tailed geckos and giraffe-necked weevils.
Places to stay Vakona Forest Lodge.
Ranomafana National Park
Ranomafana's star species: Milne-Edward’s sifaka • Greater and golden bamboo lemurs
A beautiful rainforest reserve with streams and waterfalls, Ranomafana is renowned for its bamboo lemurs. Birdlife is also rewarding, with 36 of the park’s 100 or so species endemic to Madagascar.
Places to stay Setam Lodge.
Berenty Private Reserve
Berenty's star species: Ring-tailed lemur • Verreaux’s sifaka • Mouse lemurs
An island of natural vegetation in a sea of sisal plantations, Berenty is the place to go for troops of ring-tailed lemur and ‘dancing’ Verreaux’s sifaka. On early morning walks, you will often be accompanied by these charismatic lemurs, while nocturnal forays may reveal mouse and sportive lemurs.
When to go Visit September to October to see baby lemurs.
Things to do Easy walking trails through gallery forest.
Places to stay Berenty Lodge has comfortable bungalows, a café and restaurant. It supports several conservation projects in the area.
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wildlife travel essentials: Madagascar
WHEN TO GO
April to November is the driest period, with May, October and November generally the best months for wildlife viewing.
WHERE TO STAY
The various camps and lodges near Madagascar’s national parks tend to be simple but comfortable. Some, like Mandrare River Camp in the Ifotaka Community Forest, offer African safari-style camping with beautifully furnished tents, fine dining, excellent local guides and village visits.