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Kirindy (also known as the Swiss Forest) is arguably the best place to see some of Madagascar’s nocturnal inhabitants such as the fosa, Madagascar’s largest carnivore, and the endangered giant jumping rat, endemic to this area.

The flat-tailed tortoise is endemic to the Kirindy area, and breeding efforts are helping to sustain the current populations. The endemic Madame Berthe’s mouse lemur, the world’s smallest primate, can also be found in the forest.

With luck, night strollers can see: rork-marked lemur, Coquerel’s dwarf lemur, fat-tailed dwarf lemur, Milne Edward’s sportive lemur and grey mouse lemur. In 1994 the pygmy mouse lemur was rediscovered here, at a mere 35 grams it is the smallest of all primates, and attracts as much attention as the larger lemurs. In terms of reptile fauna, Kirindy easily matches Ampijoroa, with highlights including the gorgeous Labord’s chameleon and Oustalet’s chameleon. Birding is good too, with specials commonly seen including: Coquerel’s and crested couas; sicklebill and white-headed vangas, lesser and greater vasa parrots, plus a variety of raptors.

Kirindy lies on the west coast of Madgascar, about 60 kilometres north of Morondava, a couple of hours by good road. To get the most from your visit you should consider an overnight stop here, either camping or in a basic lodge, as opposed to a day trip from Morondava. The forest is accessed via the Avenue of Baobabs,  a prominent group of baobab trees lining the dirt road between Morondava and Belon'i Tsiribihina. 

View suggested itinerary

Key info

  • Ideal for viewing: fosa, giant jumping rat, Madame Berthe’s mouse lemur, narrow-striped mongoose, red-fronted brown lemur
  • Where: Menabe Region, Madagascar

Wildlife trips

This wildlife location is featured in the following itinerary:

Madagascar’s South & West Photography

Join wildlife photographer Chris Mattison on a unique trip, taking in the best of Madagascar’s prolific wildlife. Visit prime rainforests at Ranomafana and Andasibe and explore equally spectacular dry habitats, with incredible opportunities throughout to photograph the island’s lemurs and other charismatic endemics.

  • When to go: Sep-Nov
  • Duration inc. flights: 20 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £5,495 pp
  • Trip type: Group tour