highlights and main attractions of ankarafantsika nature reserve

A vast area that combines deciduous forest, savannah and wetland, Ankarafantsika Nature Reserve is one of Madagascar’s largest parks, occupying a staggering 1,350 kilometres. The area is a birdlife haven and a large number of visitors come for this reason alone, but there is a host of wildlife within the reserve that makes it an excellent attraction to include on a Madagascar itinerary. 

Located 110 kilometres south, or approximately 2 hours’ drive, from Mahajanga and 450 kilometres north of Tana, Ankarafantsika can be visited year-round and the park’s various ecosystems can be explored through many different and well-marked trails depending on what you would like to see.

where is ANKARAFANTSIKA NATURE RESERVE?

wildlife

For those looking to spot lemurs, the park is home to a good variety, the most common of which is the Coquerel’s sifaka, but you can also see the endemic golden brown mouse lemur, fat-tailed dwarf lemur, western woolly lemur and grey mouse lemur. The Coquereli circuit is – as the name suggests – the best trail for lemur spotting and can take up to two hours to complete. 

Bird lovers should consider the Retendrika, which is also a two hour circuit. Here you will see varied medicinal plants and a great array of general plant life, from which some of the most popular birds such as the banded kestrel and vanga are known to feed. Another great trail to combine the wildlife and birdlife of the area is the Source of Life, which offers insight into the Sakavala communities and passes through areas of grazing birds and lemurs.

You may also see crocodile in some of the lakes such as Ravelobe, and nocturnal hikes are also recommended to see some of the lemurs come alive in their nocturnal environment.

There is a limited range of basic accommodations, such as lakeside chalets and the onsite Gîte de Ampijoroa which is located near the forestry research station with small rooms and basic facilities. The park is best visited during the drier season between May and October and the majority of rain falls between January and April.

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