Ranomafana National Park is a particularly
rich and beautiful mid-altitude montane rainforest reserve in south
eastern Madagascar. The park was created in 1991 to protect the
critically endangered Golden Bamboo lemur, discovered by Dr. Patricia
Wright in 1986, and the endangered Greater Bamboo lemur, rediscovered
around the same time.
Ranomafana is mountainous, with steep slopes and elevations ranging
from 600 – 1400m. The range of altitudes allows for different
forest types, from lowland rainforest to cloud forest and high plateau
forest. The rare mountain top flora and fauna around Mount Maharira,
in the south of the park, is shared only with Andringitra, 130 km
Average temperature: 14-20°C
Numerous small streams feed the Namorona River, which bisects the
park. Large rivers are also found in the northern and southern parts
A variety of orchids are a particular feature of Ranomafana.
Ranomafana is one of Madagascar's richest rainforest wildlife sites.
It contains a dozen lemur species and you are likely to see Red-fronted
brown lemurs, Lesser eastern grey bamboo lemur, Milne-Edwards’
sifaka and the Red-bellied lemur. The park is best known for holding
all three species of Bamboo lemur, and increasingly, visitors are
successful in seeing the extremely rare and localised Golden and
Greater bamboo lemurs.
Night walks are most productive in summer and autumn months (September
to May). Aside from Eastern woolly lemur, Small-toothed sportive
lemur, Greater dwarf lemur and Rufous mouse lemur, the guides can
usually coax out some well-habituated Malagasy striped civet (fanaloka).
Other mammals include seven species of the insectivorous tenrec
and two species of mongoose.
The varied herpetofauna includes Parson's chameleon, Short-horned
chameleon, and three of the famous Leaf-tailed (Uroplatus) gecko.
It is a good site for the largest, the Fringed gecko, and the bizarre
Satanic leaf-tailed gecko. As in Périnet, most reptiles and
frogs are best seen during night walks. The numerous frogs include
the colourful Painted or Madagascar mantella and many of the Boophis
Ranomafana is excellent for the massive Madagascar lunar (comet)
Ranomafana contains 118 bird species and birders can expect to see
most of the island's rainforest-dependent endemics. The wary Brown
mesite, Velvet asity, Rufous-headed ground-roller, Forest rock-thrush,
Grey-crowned greenbul and Blue, Hook-billed and Chabert's vangas
are best sought here.
When to visit
Ranomafana is a rainforest reserve: annual rainfall varies from
2300 – 4000 mm and falls up to 320 days per annum. Wildlife
viewing is most productive from mid-September to May. In winter
(June to August) nights can be very cold). Monthly rainfall is highest
from December to March and lowest from May to October.
Location: 60 km north of Fianarantsoa, 400 km south of Antananarivo
The national park lies 90km west of the Indian Ocean on the east-facing
escarpment of Madagascar's central high plateau, 60km east of Fianarantsoa,
Madagascar's second city, and roughly 400km southeast of Antananarivo.
With the completion of the road from the Vohiparara turnoff (RN25),
the scenic overland journey from the capital can be accomplished
in 7 hours.
There is a weekly flight between Antananarivo and Fianarantsoa but
it should not be relied upon, as the schedule for this route is
changed with alarming regularity.
The park entrance is 7 km from the town of Ranomafana, which developed
around the thermal baths, the first source of Ranomafana’s