Andohahela National Park

Map Andohahela Although Andohahela has been protected since 1939, it was not declared National Park and opened to tourism until 1998. It is located about 40 km northwest from Fort Dauphin and offers a perfect overview of the fauna, flora and landscapes of the East and South of Madagascar. Andohahela spreads over 760 km² and contains the last dense and humid forests of the southern part of Madagascar. The altitude goes from 100 to almost 2,000 m at the highest point of the Anosy mountain range. This means that in one day you will be able to wander through rainforest, get familiar with the different flora of transition forest and photograph the bizarre landscapes of the semi-arid spiny forest. 

The excellent Park management, which combines nature protection with the sustainable development of the local communities, has been recognised with several prestigious awards. In this manner, a part of the fee entrance goes directly to support farming, agricultural and apicultural projects managed by the Antandroy and Antanosy populations.

verreaux sifaka
 Verreaux's Sifakas roam in small groups through the spiny
looking for food   © Gail Johnson

The extraordinary variety of habitats of this stunning national park is mirrored in the richness of species that are home here. 13 species of lemurs are found inside the Park, including the diurnal species Verreaux's Sifaka, ring-tailed lemur, collared brown lemur or Southern Lesser bamboo lemur. Birds (130 species), reptiles (67 species, including same extremely rare species of geckos, turtles and snakes) and amphibians (50 species) cohabit in the diverse ecosystems of Andohahela.
Flora is as rich as fauna: more than thousand of plant species grow here. Some representative plants are the local endemic trihedral palm, the traveller tree (ravinala), the octopus tree and the dwarf baobab.

The National Park is divided into three zones:
Malio (Parcel 1): This area is covered by rainforest and it is the less visited zone. Here you will find luxuriant vegetation: more than 200 species of fern trees, some precious wood trees, wild vanilla plants, orchids, lemurs and a lot birds. It can only be visited during the dry season.
(Parcel 2): This dry spiny forest is the home of sifakas, ring-tailed lemurs, reptiles and rare birds, as well as endemic and strange Didieraceae plants.
Tsimelahy (Parcel 3): This terrific transition forest with wonderful landscapes gives shelter to many reptiles, small mammals and it is the only place in the world where the trihedral palm grows.

There are several circuits who allow you to contrast and compare the different species found in the park.
The easiest ones are the Tsimelahy (2 hours walk in the transition forest passing through natural pools and nice sceneries) and the Mangatsiaka (3 hours trail discovering the strange semi-arid spiny forest). The Ihazofotsy circuit consists of three different stages through dry and bushy forest looking for lemurs and birds and takes one whole day.
The trails in the rainforest zone are a little bit harder. You can choose between a 3 to 5 hours walk (Manangotry and Malio circuits) or the toughest one: a two-days-trek between the villages of Malio and Talakifeno walking from the western dry forest to the eastern humid rainforest and getting a complete overview over the park biodiversity.
Spiny forest
 Typical spiny forest vegetation
 © Madagascar Travel Guide

To get to the park from Fort Dauphin the best option is going to the village of Tsimelahy. If you are travelling with public transport, then your taxi-brousse will have to drop you out at the junction road between Ambovombe and Fort Dauphin. From here to the entrance gate to the park you will need to walk 8 km until Tsimelahy. Another options are walking from Ranomainty till Mangatsiaka (5 km) or get dropped out by the bridge on Manambaro and walk 13 km until Malio.
Of course, the best way to move around is as usual a 4x4!

The park fees are Ar 10,000 for one day and Ar 15,000 for two days.

The best time to visit this area is between April and October. Climate can be quite different from one parcel to another. In the eastern side and in the Anosy range it is humid and hot, by contrast the western part is much dryer and it only rains a little bit from December to March. Temperatures are warm (20 to 27°) during all the year.

There are several campsites next to the park located where the trails ends. You can hire the equipment at the park office. The camping place near the Antaravola Lake is one of the most beautiful in Madagascar. Make sure you take water purifying tablets and plenty of water with you.
In the villages nearby are some simple accommodations and some better ones are currently being built.

The ANGAP office is at Ampasikabo. Here you can arrange your whole trip to the Park. Besides, there are local offices in the villages of Tsimelahy and Mangatsiaka. There are more than 20 guides working in the park, some of them speak good English.

Andohahela National Park :
BP 73, Ampasikabo - 614 Tolagnaro (près Bureau CIREEF)
Tél : + (261 22) 92 904 85 / 032 04 898 96 / 034 01 858 03
Email : angapfd@yahoo.fr   ahl.parks@gmail.com