FIVE PLACES TO SPOT MADAGASCAR'S ICONI LEMURS
Lemurs are the icon of Madagascar, with these unique primates having evolved to live in this island nation’s diverse array of habitats. From lush primary forests to arid, rocky landscapes, they’ve adapted to thrive in a staggering array of environments. But while you might think of lemurs as being a single animal, there’s a myriad of species to discover, with many now listed as endangered due to ongoing habitat destruction.
So if you’re planning a trip to Madagascar to spot these endearing creatures, here are five of the top places to visit...
'Avenue of the Baobabs - another natural highlight of visiting Madagascar'
Parc National d’Andasibe-Mantadia
One of Madagascar’s most accessible national parks, Andasibe-Mantadia National Park is located just 150 kilometres to the east of the capital and forms part of the UNESCO-listed Rainforests of the Atsinanana. It’s home to the country’s largest lemur, the indri, a graceful species with a distinct call that has now been listed as endangered. Diademed sifakas and black-and-white ruffed lemurs can also be spotted on guided treks through the park, with both of these species part of a re-introduction program to help boost lemur numbers.
Parc National de Ranomafana
Situated to the south of Antananarivo, Parc National de Ranomafana is one of the most spectacular national parks in Madagascar, with a staggering diversity of lemur species. It encompasses a mountainous landscape of dense primary forest where the critically endangered golden bamboo lemur was discovered in 1986, pushing the government to establish the national park. Guided walks are the only way to visit, with trained local guides helping you get up close to eastern woolly lemurs, red-bellied lemurs and eastern grey bamboo lemurs, as well as greater bamboo lemurs, red-fronted brown lemurs and black-and-white ruffed lemurs.
'A red-fronted brown lemur in Parc National de Ranomafana'
Want to see the world’s largest nocturnal primate? You’ll have to venture off the main island of Madagascar to Nosy Mangabe, which is home to the unique aye-aye. Nosy Mangabe is a 52-hectare island sanctuary that provides a refuge for the aye-aye, an animal that has long been shrouded in superstition by locals. They’re characterised by their wide eyes and elongated middle fingers, and best spotted on guided nighttime treks through Nosy Mangabe’s jungle interior.
Parc National de l’Isalo
If you’re hoping to spot the iconic ring-tailed lemur, head south to Parc National de l’Isalo whose red cliffs and canyons provide the perfect habitat. With their large, expressive eyes and bushy tails, these black and white striped lemurs can often be seen rock-hopping through the park. Verreaux’s sifaka and red-fronted lemur are also common, with natural swimming holes and picturesque cascades another highlight of this natural oasis.
'A ring-tailed lemur in Parc National de l’Isalo'
Reserve National de l’Ankarana
Travellers who make it to Reserve National de l’Ankarana in the far north of Madagascar will be rewarded by not only its spectacular tsingy landscapes but a myriad of lemurs that include the crowned lemur and Sanford’s brown lemur. Ankarana is home to the longest cave system in Madagascar and a spiny karst forest where eastern woolly lemurs, Perrier’s sifakas and fat-tailed dwarf lemurs flourish. Guided walking tours are the best way to experience this geological wonderland and its immense Mangily sinkhole.
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