Ranomafana National Park
The park is one of Madagascar’s richest in terms of wildlife and one can find 12 species of lemur here, amongst them the rare Greater Bamboo and Golden Bamboo lemurs. There are more than a 100 bird species, 36 of which are endemic, many reptiles, such as the Leaf-tailed gecko or the Fringed gecko, as well as myriad butterflies and insects.
Andringitra National Park
Madagascar’s second highest peak at 2,658m, Pic d’Imarivolanitra (‘close to the sky’), formerly named Pic Boby, is surrounded by Andringitra National Park which was created in 1999. The main attraction for visiting this area are the extraordinary landscapes, its vegetations and the trekking. There are four main trekking circuits in the park, ranging from 4 hours to 2-3 days. Each circuit covers different terrain; forest, granite peaks and escarpments and the frosty peak of Pic d’Imarivolanitra. Accommodation in the park whilst on a longer trek will be in simple tents.
Isalo National Park
Isalo National Park, one of Madagascar’s most visited parks, offers spectacular scenery such as golden sandstone cliffs and jagged rock formations, which hide a number of lush canyons, small streams and waterfalls. There are some rare endemic plants such as the elephant’s foot clinging to the rocks and a native species of aloe. The wildlife includes sifakas, brown lemurs and ring-tail lemurs as well as a good number of reptiles, frogs and birds.
Isalo is also sacred to the Bara tribe who, for hundreds of years, have used caves in the canyon walls as burial sites. There are a great many trails exploring the varied terrain, but for those who do not wish to hike there are options too such as La Fenetre, a natural rock formation providing a window through which to watch the sun setting.
Berenty is Madgascar’s best known nature reserve, due to its excellent wildlife viewing opportunities. It is located on the banks of the Mandrare River and therefore, despite being situated in the arid south, encompasses gallery or riverine forest, a perfect habitat for the large variety of animals that live here.
Ringtail lemurs and dancing Verreaux sifakas can frequently be seen during the day and, a little harder to spot, at night the Grey mouse lemur and the White-footed sportive lemurs make an appearance. Bird watching is excellent and nearly 100 species have been recorded, many of them unique to Madagascar, amongst them the Crested Coua and the Giant Coua with their dramatic blue face markings. There are a number of broad forest trails which allow walking without a guide.