22 recommended wildlife locations. The species listed below are just a selection of those you may see.

Andasibe Mantadia National Park

Andasibe is arguably Madagascar’s premier rainforest reserve. It combines the forests of Mantadia with the Analamazoatra Reserve. The network of trails that run throughout the reserve offers frequent sightings of spectacular wildlife and virtually assured views of indri, which have been habituated.

  • Where: Alaotra-Mangoro Region
  • Ideal for viewing: Diademed sifaka, Indri, Parson’s chameleon, Red-fronted coua, Leaf-tailed gecko
  • Excellent for: Birdwatching

Berenty Private Reserve

Featured in numerous documentaries, Berenty is perhaps Madagascar’s best known wildlife reserve. Adjacent to the Mandrare River, this small island of forest is set in sisal plantations and full of superb wildlife, including six species of lemur, and provides intimate and in some cases approachable wildlife experiences.

  • Where: Atsimo-Andrefana Region
  • Ideal for viewing: Brown lemur, Madagascar flying fox, Ring-tailed lemur, Verreaux’s sifaka, Grey mouse lemur
  • Excellent for: Birdwatching

Ranomafana National Park

Established in 1991 to protect the then newly-discovered golden bamboo lemur, Ranomafana is a World Heritage Site and one of the island’s most important wildlife sites and best rainforest reserves. Its pleasant climate, misty forest slopes, picturesque river and huge species diversity make it a deserved favourite.

  • Where: Haute Matsiatra Region
  • Ideal for viewing: Giraffe-necked weevil, Golden bamboo lemur, Malagasy striped civit, Milne-Edwards’ sifaka, Red-fronted brown lemur
  • Excellent for: Just Conservation, Birdwatching

Andringitra National Park

Centred around Madagascar’s second highest peak, Pic d’Imarivolanitra, Andringitra is a unique region of granite formations, high altitude vegetation, forest and waterfalls, and offers some of the most scenic trekking in Madagascar. There are impressive wild flower meadows and succulent rare plants.

  • Where: Fianarantsoa Province
  • Ideal for viewing: Brown mouse lemur, Golden bamboo lemur, Ring-tailed lemur, Small-toothed sportive lemur, Red-fronted lemur
  • Excellent for: Birdwatching

Anjajavay Private Reserve

Located on a peninsula on the remote north-west coast, this private reserve is an oasis for wildlife and visitors. Many species of lemurs, birds and reptiles can be seen in its deciduous forest while, along the coast, white sandy beaches are punctuated by dramatic limestone outcrops and mangrove fringed estuaries.

  • Where: Sofia Region
  • Ideal for viewing: Commerson’s leaf-nosed bat, Common brown lemur, Coquerel’s sifaka, Madagascar fish eagle, Milne-Edwards’ sportive lemur
  • Excellent for: Birdwatching

Anjozorobe

Home to 11 species of lemur, Anjozorobe is part of a natural corridor amongst the last vestiges of forest on the high plateau. It is only three hours drive from Antananarivo and provides a quieter and easily accessible alternative to Andasibe for those wishing to look for indris and diademed sifakas on various hiking trails.

  • Where: Anjozorobe District
  • Ideal for viewing: Diademed sifaka, Indri, Lesser bamboo lemur, Parson’s chameleon, Rufous brown mouse lemur
  • Excellent for: Birdwatching

Ankarafantsika National Park

The island’s best area of remaining deciduous forest lies a couple of hours drive inland from Mahajanga. Centred on Lac Ravelobe, a network of paths through the dense forest makes seeing wildlife easy. A covered, flat-bottomed boat makes an ideal way to watch water birds around the margins of the lake.

  • Where: Mahajanga Province
  • Ideal for viewing: Coquerel’s sifaka, Mongoose lemur, Mouse lemur, Rufous vanga, Schlegel’s asity
  • Excellent for: Birdwatching

Daraina

Daraina is one of the most important sites in Madagascar. Home to the golden-crowned sifaka, one of the world’s rarest primates, the area is a mosaic of rolling hills covered with patches of deciduous and semi-evergreen forest and is one of richest and most ecologically sensitive areas in the north.

  • Where: Sava Region
  • Ideal for viewing: Aye-aye, Daraina sportive lemur, Golden-crowned sifaka, Sanford’s brown lemur, Greater hedgehog tenrec
  • Excellent for: Photography tours with Nick Garbutt, Birdwatching

Ifaty Spiny Forest

The spiny forests near Ifaty are of great interest to birdwatchers and botanists alike. The area includes two of the island’s most threatened birds; the long-tailed ground roller and sub desert mesite. You will also find bizarre flora such as spined octopus trees, a sharp contrast to the ancient baobab trees.

  • Where: Atsimo-Andrefana Region
  • Ideal for viewing: Banded kestrel, Horned chameleon, Long-tailed ground roller, Sickle-billed vanga, Sub-desert mesite
  • Excellent for: Birdwatching

Ifotaka Community Forest

This remote tract of community-owned forest is an admirable illustration of an initiative that encourages local communities to manage their natural resources sustainably. The native Tandroy people harvest certain areas of the forest, but preserve the spiny forest which is home to wildlife, synonymous with the south.

  • Where: Anosy Region
  • Ideal for viewing: Ring-tailed lemur, Verreaux’s sifaka, Mouse lemur, White-foot sportive lemur, Scops owl
  • Excellent for: Birdwatching

Isalo National Park

Isalo is a remarkable landscape of eroded sandstone outcrops and canyons dotted with rare plants. There are spectacular vistas at every turn; the valleys are ribbons of green with delicate feather and screw palms and the deep rocky gorges flourish with endemic succulents such as the elephant’s foot plant.

  • Where: Ihorombe Region
  • Ideal for viewing: Benson’s rock thrush, Madagascar cuckoo roller, Ring-tailed lemur, Verreaux’s sifaka, Red-fronted lemur
  • Excellent for: Birdwatching

Kirindy Forest

Kirindy Forest is on the west coast of Madagascar, accessed via the famed Avenue of Baobabs. It is a dry forest rich in wildlife and the best place to see a variety of endemics including the fosa, Madagascar’s largest carnivore, and lemurs such as Madame Berthe’s mouse lemur, the world’s smallest primate.

  • Where: Menabe Region
  • Ideal for viewing: Fosa, Giant jumping rat, Madame Berthe’s mouse lemur, Narrow-striped mongoose, Red-fronted brown lemur
  • Excellent for: Birdwatching

Marojejy National Park

Marojejy National Park is the best place to look for the rare silky sifaka, famed for its long, silky, white fur. The park also has nine other lemur species and is the only place left in the country where you can walk through rugged unbroken forest from sea level to mountain summit, where the views are spectacular.

  • Where: Sava Region
  • Ideal for viewing: Madagascar serpent eagle, Ring-tailed mongoose, Silky sifaka, Stump-tailed chameleon, Leaf-tailed gecko
  • Excellent for: Photography tours with Nick Garbutt, Birdwatching

Masoala National Park

The Masoala Peninsula supports the largest area of lowland rainforest in Madagascar, and the greatest number of species. The mountain and valley cloaked primary forest borders the Bay of Antongil and is home to several rare birds and the last refuge of the red-ruffed lemur, one of the country's largest primates.

  • Where: Sava Region
  • Ideal for viewing: Bernier’s vanga, Eastern woolly lemur, Helmet vanga, Panther chameleon, Red-ruffed lemur
  • Excellent for: Photography tours with Nick Garbutt, Whale watching, Birdwatching

Montagne d’Ambre National Park

Created in 1958, Montagne d’Ambre was Madagascar’s first national park and derives its name from the coloured resin that oozes from some of the forest trees. It is a cool green mountain oasis in an otherwise parched landscape. The well-maintained trail system make this beautiful park particularly rewarding.

  • Where: Antsiranana Province
  • Ideal for viewing: Crowned lemur, Leaf-tailed gecko, Sanford’s brown lemur, Madagascar fish eagle, Madagascar crested ibis
  • Excellent for: Birdwatching

Nosy Be

Nosy Be is renowned for the production of ylangylang. More developed for tourism than other areas in Madagascar, the island offers quiet and secluded beaches, lively night life, good wildlife, comfortable accommodation and wonderful cuisine. It’s also a major centre for deep-sea fishing and scuba diving.

  • Where: Antsiranana Province
  • Ideal for viewing: Black lemur, Boa constrictor, Panther chameleon, Madagascar paradise flycatcher, Madagascar fish eagle
  • Excellent for: Birdwatching

Nosy Boraha (Ile Sainte-Marie)

Nosy Boraha is a centre for whale-watching when, between July and September, humpbacks congregate in the sheltered waters to give birth. It also epitomizes all that is good about a tropical island; its miles of beaches are lined with palm trees and fringed by turquoise lagoons and distant reefs protect the shore.

  • Where: Analanjirofo Region
  • Ideal for viewing: Black and white ruffed lemur, Humpback whale, White-fronted brown lemur, Mouse lemur, Fat-tailed dwarf lemur
  • Excellent for: Whale watching, Birdwatching

Nosy Iranja

Off the Ampasindava Peninsula, Nosy Iranja becomes two islands at high tide – Iranja Komba and Iranga Kely. At low tide the two are linked by a long white sandbank. These islands provide important breeding beaches for nesting hawksbill turtles and work is in progress to safeguard their populations.

  • Where: Antsiranana Province
  • Ideal for viewing: Hawksbill turtle, Humpback whale, Green turtle, Brown mantella
  • Excellent for: Birdwatching

Nosy Mangabe

This idyllic island in the Bay of Antongil has excellent wildlife. Its steep forested slopes have proved a safe refuge for aye-ayes that were released there in the 1960s, and have subsequently thrived. The island has no accommodation, but makes for a fantastic day excursion from Maroantsetra or Masoala.

  • Where: Antogil Bay
  • Ideal for viewing: Large leaf-tailed gecko, Mouse lemur, Eastern woolly lemur, Aye-aye, Humpback whale
  • Excellent for: Birdwatching

Nosy Mitsio

Lying 70 kilometres north of Nosy Be this archipelago can only be reached by boat. The main island of La Grande Mitsio is surrounded by nine smaller ones – Tsara Banjina, with a fringe of white sand lapped by crystal blue waters, is particularly beautiful. The offshore reefs harbour much marine and bird life.

  • Where: Diana Region
  • Ideal for viewing: Northern gannet, White-tailed tropicbird, Manta ray, Green turtle, Bottlenose dolphin
  • Excellent for: Birdwatching

Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park

This largely unexplored area contains huge tracts of eroded limestone that make up the island’s largest and most impressive karst landscape. The scenery is matched by the diversity and abundance of wildlife in the forest, which can be explored on specially constructed walkways, or by boat.

  • Where: Mahajanga Province
  • Ideal for viewing: Madagascar fish eagle, Red-fronted brown lemur, Ring-tailed lemur, Sambirano lesser bamboo lemur, White Decken’s sifaka
  • Excellent for: Birdwatching

Zombitse National Park

Zombitse is a remnant of a transitional forest between the western and southern regions. Despite its isolation, small size and lack of accommodation (it is best visited as a day trip) birdwatchers will be interested to know it is home to one of Madagascar’s rarest endemics, Appert’s greenbul.

  • Where: Menabe Region
  • Ideal for viewing: Appert’s greenbul, Crested ibis, Giant coua, Madagascar cuckoo roller, Ring-tailed lemur
  • Excellent for: Birdwatching

2 recommended locations for extending your wildlife trip.

Antananarivo

Madagascar’s vibrant capital city is the beginning and end point of any trip to the island. The city is among the most unusual and attractive capitals in the developing world. Built on a series of hills, many of the old buildings and narrow, cobbled streets retain an almost medieval quality.

Madagascar’s beaches and islands

Madagascar’s wildlife is its main draw, but the island also boasts a lovely coastline and idyllic offshore islands that offer a chance to relax in seclusion and style, while continuing to enjoy the island’s biological richness.

5 recommended trips. All our trip ideas are offered to inspire you, but our strength is in tailoring your itinerary.

An Island Apart

Enjoy taking in Madagascar’s extraordinary habitats and unique wildlife, including tracking the endangered golden-crowned sifaka and the gorgeous diademed sifaka amongst lush, verdant rainforest.

  • Trip type: Group tour
  • Duration exc. international flights: 20 days

Endangered Sifakas of the North

This unique safari takes in two of the best, but least visited, areas of northern Madagascar.

  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea
  • Duration exc. international flights: 13 days

Madagascar Lemurs

Isolated from the African mainland, travel to Madagascar and witness a bizarre range of unique species, most notably the lemur.

  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea
  • Duration exc. international flights: 13 days

Southern Highlights

Take in the must-see, must-do locations in the southern half of Madagascar.

  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea
  • Duration exc. international flights: 13 days

Best of Both Worlds

Ideal if you yearn for a short, but memorable, getaway to experience the extremes of Madagascar.

  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea
  • Duration exc. international flights: 10 days

When to go

Madagascar has major regional climatic variations. To avoid the worst of the rainy season, it’s best to travel between April and December, especially July and August to see whales.

Seasons

  • Dry season

    Apr to Dec: Predominantly dry and quite mild
  • Green season

    Jan to Mar: Rainy season. Cyclones may also occur in February and March

Wildlife events

  • Apr to Apr: Red fody dance on the savannah for their breeding season
  • Jun to Sep: Humpback whales arrive off the coast of Île Sainte Marie
  • Jul to Sep: Aye aye visible on Nosy Mangabe
  • Oct to Nov: Lemur birthing season, jacaranda trees in bloom
  • Nov to Mar: Red fody dance on the savannah for their breeding season
  • Dec to Mar: Reptiles and tenrecs at their most active in the hot season

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