Kalambatritra Special Reserve

Map Kalambatritra

The Kalambatritra Special Reserve lies in the southern part of Madagascar, about 50 km northeast from Betroka and comprises a surface of 285 km². Created in 1959, the Reserve includes different types of humid forest, which range from dry deciduous forests to the 1,600 m high mountainous rainforests, covering the slopes of the Kalambatritra massif, which constitutes the most important water reserve for the whole region. The location of Kalambatritra between the eastern tropical forests, the central highlands and the western grasslands makes its biodiversity very rich, since species from these different areas are found within the Reserve. 

The reserve boasts a great diversity of fauna. So far 75 birds species have been indentified (65% endemic to Madagascar and 15% local endemic to the region), such as the Madagascar red owl, pitta-like ground-roller and the Meller's Duck. Six lemur species, such as the collared brown lemur, red-fronted brown lemur and the Gray bamboo lemur, and 16 rodents are also common residents. Of course a good number of reptiles and amphibians live in the reserve too.

bamboo lemur giant coua
The Gray bamboo lemur and the giant coua are two of the resident species of the forest of Kalambatritra Special Reserve   © j_fi

Regarding the flora, almost 700 species with a significant rate of endemism grow in the different forests and altitudes.

The Bara is the dominant ethnic group of this region. They conserve their ritual traditions concerning funerals and ancestors intact since thousands of years, and have built several impressive tombs around the Reserve. Specially rewarding are the ones at a village called Andriambe.
The destruction of forest areas in order to grow rice and to get wood for fire and construction is the main threat of the area. Some rivers have their sources in the Kalambatritra range, so the conservation of these forests as a water reserve are both indispensable for human and wildlife.

The tropical climate secures a warm temperature all year round. During the rainy season from October to April heavy storms are frequent, and it is not possible to access to the Reserve. The best time to come here is from June to September, when it does not rain and it does not get so hot.

The access during the dry season is tough anyhow. If you are driving from Tana or Tulear, you must leave the RN7 at a place called Kelivondraka next to Ihosy and take the poorer R13 until Betroka. Once here, drive to Ivahona along a ground road (20 km). For the last 30 km you need a jeep to reach the Reserve, since the last 30 km are on a narrow communal path.

If you travel independent you can reach Betroka by taxi-brousse from Ihosy, and try to hire a bike, a motorbike or a zebu cart there.

There are no established circuits currently inside the Reserve, but you can arrange a local guide at the small Park Office to come with you through this less known and isolated forests.

Camping is permitted (bring your own equipment and supplies). In Betroka there are some basic accommodations too.

Reserve Spéciale Kalabatritra
B.P. 35 - 613 Betroka
Phone: + (261 33) 12 83 144