Ranomafana National Park

Map Ranomafana

Ranomafana (which means “hot water” in Malagasy) is doubtless one the most spectacular National Parks of Madagascar. Due to the good access and suitable location near the RN7, great biodiversity (12 lemur species are found here) and developed infrastructures, it has become one of the most visited places of the island. Established in 1991, it expands over a mountainous terrain of 415 km² totally covered by dense moist primary and secondary forest area at altitudes between 800m and 1.200m. In 1986 the critically endangered golden bamboo lemur was discovered here by Dr. Patricia Wright, a fact that definitely pushed the government to create a national park. 

The park contains twelve lemur species. Aside from the golden bamboo lemur, visitors can spot eastern woolly lemur, red bellied lemur, eastern grey bamboo lemur, greater bamboo lemur, red-fronted brown lemur, black-and-white ruffed lemur, Milne-Edward´s sifaka, Small-toothed sportive lemur, greater dwarf lemur and brown mouse lemur and the very rare aye-aye. Other mammals include 7 species of tenrecs, 8 bats and 6 carnivorous, like the Malagasy striped civet and some mongooses.

greater bamboo lemur
    Greater bamboo lemur © Gail Johnson
golden bamboo lemur
 Golden bamboo lemur © Antony
The golden and the greater bamboo lemurs are threatened with extinction - they are classified as an endangered species by the World Conservation Union (IUCN). Although Madagascar is rich in bamboo species, bamboo habitat is very limited, especially stands of giant bamboo. Moreover, bamboos are heavily used by local people: for construction, water, fishing, furniture  and baskets. 

Birds are also wide spread in Ranomafana. There are at least 115 species catalogued (30 are local endemic to this part of madagascar), among them the Henst's goshawk, Rufous-headed ground-roller, velvet asity, mesites or the threatened crested ibis.
Apart from that, the immense wildlife is completed by 62 species of reptiles ( chameleons, snakes and fringed and satanic leaf-tailed geckos are pretty common), 98 frogs,  90 butterflies, 350 spiders and several fishes and crayfishes. As in Andasibe-Mantadia, most reptiles and frogs are best seen during night walks, when chameleons in particular initially reflect white in the beam of a torch.

Among the plants which grow in these rain forests, many are used by the Tanala and the Betsileo for medical purposes. There are precious wood and palm trees, many orchids and carnivorous plants.
In addition to its densely forested hills, the protected area is characterised by numerous small streams, which plummet down to the beautiful Namorona River, which bisects the park and produces electricity for the surrounding areas at the hydroelectric power station of Ranomafana.
The climate is warm and humid all the year. Best visiting months are May, September, October, and November. Although the dry season extends from April to December, the North East and Central East regions have no months (or weeks) that are completely without rain.
 Namorona River © Danielguip

There are 5 different circuits in order to explore this marvellous Park. Please be aware that the shortest treks are also the most popular ones and trails can get quite crowded especially during the high season. The longer treks are much quieter and more rewarding from a wildlife watching point of view:
Varibolomena circuit: easy trek of 4 hours, a good chance to spot bamboo lemurs in the secondary forest passing by a beautiful waterfall. It can also be made by night to discover reptiles and frogs.
Sahamalaotra circuit: a 10 km trek through the forest looking for lemurs and birds.
Vohiparara circuit: 2 days trek across the National Park (20 km up and down) spotting lemurs, birds and other animals and visiting a sacred lake.
Varijatsy circuit: 1 or 2 days trek (15 km of rough path) across the primary forest looking for lemurs and birds and passing by a waterfall and a natural pool where you can take a bath.
Soarano circuit: 2 or 3 days hard trek  (at least 20 km) through the primary forest discovering interesting plants and looking for lemurs and other animals. There is also a cultural visit to a pair of traditional tanala villages set in the middle of the forest.

Milne Edward sifaka Milne-Edwards´ sifaka © Gail Johnson

Ranomafana National Park is very easy to access. It lies about 60 km north from Fianarantsoa, and 400 south from Tana.There are two tarred roads which actually cross the Park: the RN25 from Ambohimasoa and the RN45 from Alakamisy. Both of them are practicable all year around, although it can take longer during the rainy season.
There is also a good taxi-brousse connection until Ranomafana village from Antananarivo and from Fianarantsoa.it of Ranomafana, think of bringing your tent and sleeping bag for camping, a pocket-size lamp and batteries for the nocturnal visits and a kit of first care. Don't forget your raincoat, rain is sometimes tenacious in the park! Wear some walking shoes to staples. Careful, don't disregard your antimalaria medecine!     

The bloodsuckers are not dangerous… Put a little salt or tobacco to remove them.   
Mineral water in bottle is useful. Local products as rice, chicken, dry vegetables and potatoes can be bought in Ranomafana. Some restaurants can also prepare you   the cold meals to order in advance.  
The nearest banks are in Fianarantsoa which also has a basis hjealth center. Fianarantsoa is covered by the telephone network of Zain and Telmas. A communal information center is established in Ranomafana, with Internet connection.


The microprojects of

The entry costs Ar 25,000 for one day visit and Ar 37,000 for two days. The fees for the circuits depend on the number of participants and the duration of the trek. Average is 50,000 to 80,000 Ar a day for one to five people.

The park hosts several campsites spread within the park boundaries for those choosing the longer treks as well as a rustic "gite" next to the Park Office with shared showers and warm water available at Ar 8,100 per person.
There are plenty of more comfortable accommodation in Ranomafana village.

The National Park Office and the entrance are located at the village of Ambodiamontana, about 6 km from Ranomafana village. The guides are very well prepared and some of them speak fluent English.

Parc National Ranomafana
BP. 2 – Fivondronana Ifanandiana, 312 Ranomafana
Phone : + (261 20) 75 523 02 / (261 33) 01 228 55
Email : mamy_rakoto2000@yahoo.fr