Established in 1991, Ranomafana became a UNESCO World Heritage site a few years later. Today this rugged, mountainous park covers an area of over 40,000 hectares of rainforest and is one of the most important mammal sites in Madagascar, protecting 12 species of lemur.
These include: red-bellied lemur, red-fronted brown lemur, Milne-Edwards’ sifaka, small-toothed sportive lemur, eastern woolly lemur and lesser bamboo lemur – plus the rare, and recently rediscovered, greater bamboo lemur and golden bamboo lemur, both species that the park was created to protect.
Standing on the edge of the high plateau, elevations vary between 600 and 1,400ms resulting in vegetation ranges from lowland rainforest to cloudforest to high plateau forest. The scenery is superb, with white-water rivers cascading down steep rainforest-clad slopes. Ranomafana village lies on the banks of the Namorona River, which descends to the east coast.
Your time in the park will be spent in hunting for lemurs and other animals, taking a picnic lunch with you. Rain is common in Ranomafana, making the steep forest trails slippery, so after your morning lemur-hunting exertions you may prefer to return to the village for a soak in the thermal baths.
Like many of Madagascar’s parks one highlight here is a nocturnal forest walk to look for the rufous mouse lemur and one of Madagascar’s few predators, the stripped civet. Also worthwhile is an early morning bird walk where you might see some of the more secretive forest birds such as the yellow-browed oxylabes, Crossley’s babbler, slender-billed flufftail, and the vocal but elusive red-legged ground roller and pitta-like ground roller.
Ranomfana located in Fianarantsoa Province in southeastern Madagascar, around two hours drive from Fianarantsoa and around ten from Antananarivo.
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