Madagascar's Ranomafana N.P.:
the mountain cloud forest accessible to all
Ranomafana is undoubtedly one of the most most spectacular national parks of Madagascar and together with Isalo and Andasibe N.P. one of the most visited national parks of the island. The advantage is that travelers can reach the park very easily. It is located near the well-developed RN7 near the city Fianarantsoa. Established in 1991, the National Park covers a mountainous terrain of about 415 km², completely covered by dense and humid primary and secondary forest, and is located at an altitude of 800 to 1,200m above sea level. In 1986 the endangered golden bamboo lemurs discovered here by Dr. Patricia Wright. Not least this discovery has contributed to placing the area under special protection.
The diverse flora and fauna of Ranomafana
In the park are 12 species of lemurs native and to the delight of tourists particularly easy to observe. A special attraction are the golden bamboo lemurs, some of which are not far from the entrance. Apart from the lemurs live other mammals like 7 types of tenreks, carnivorous bats, the Madagascan striped Civet and some Mongoose in the beautiful Ranomafana National Park. At least 115 catalogued bird speciesof which 30 are locally endemic find their home in Ranomafana. Furthermore enrich 62 species of reptiles the fauna. Chameleons, snakes and leaf-tailed geckos are very common. 98 different frog species, 90 butterfly species, 350 species of spiders and rare fish and crabs can be found here. As in Andasibe-Mantadia N.P. most reptiles and frogs are best observed during the night.
Among the plants that grow in these rainforests, there are many that have been adapted by the resident Tanala and Betsileo Population used for medical purposes. Also different Precious woods, Palms, magnificent orchids and exotic carnivorous plants grow in Ranomafana. In addition, the protected area is crossed by numerous small streams that flow down to the beautiful Namorona River. This has a particularly high significance for the region, as it connects it through a Local waterworks with electricity. The attractions in Ranomafana National Park are endless. Already a few kilometers above the park entrance, for example, there is a beautiful waterfall, which is located directly on the path.
Ranomafana - A park with very good infrastructure
The climate in this region is warm and humid throughout the year. Climatically, the winter months are suitable from May till September best for a visit. The fauna and especially the flora, on the other hand, are in the summer months and especially from October till December richest.
Some of the best developed roads in Madagascar lead directly to Ranomafana National Park. It is located about 60 km northeast of Fianarantsoa and 400 km southeast of the capital Antananarivo. Ranomafana can be reached via RN25, which turns east from RN7 at Alakamisy towards Manakara and Mananjary. Some Tours along the RN7 have integrated the visit of Ranomafana National Park firmly into their program.
For visitors coming from the north, there is a shortcut that turns left about 6 km after Alakamisy. It is a 20 km dirt road in quite acceptable condition that rejoins the RN25 in the village of Vohiparara. Both variants are practicable all year round, although the roads are in a slightly worse condition during the rainy season. If you are planning longer hikes, within the park there are Several campsites as well as a rustic building next to the park office, which houses communal showers with hot water. However, we recommend staying in one of the comfortable accommodations in the Ranomafana village to accommodate. There are also many hostels on the road leading to the entrance of the park.
The entrance fee, just like in all other national parks in Madagascar, has been increased by almost 150% since November 2015. The fees for the guides who accompany the various tours depend on the number of participants and the duration of the hikes. These have also become more expensive and bring in some tours the price / performance ratio in the negative.
Tours through the rainforest of Ranomafana
Currently Five different tours offered that lead through this wonderful park. Please note that the shortest hikes in such a busy park are also the most popular. Hiking trails can be especially crowded during the high season. The longer tours are much quieter and more worthwhile for interesting wildlife viewing.
Varibolomena TourEasy hike of 4 hours with quite good chances to meet bamboo lemurs. The tour also leads to a particularly beautiful waterfall.
Sahamalaotra TourA 10km hike through the forest. During this hike you are very likely to meet different lemurs and you can also observe many birds living here.
Varijatsy Tour: A hike for one or two days. The trail takes you 15km into the primary forest. You will pass a waterfall and can refresh yourself in a natural pool and get an insight into the rich flora and fauna of Ranomafana.
Vohiparara Tour: A two-day hike through the national park. The route is about 20km with some climbs. During this hike into the depths of the rainforest you will encounter many lemurs, birds and other animals. In addition, you will visit a lake considered sacred by the people living here.
Soarano TourFor this tour you will need two or three days. It goes through rugged terrain right into the heart of Ranomafana, where you will discover interesting, magnificent plants, lemurs and other animals. There is also a cultural visit to a couple of traditional Tanala villages located in the middle of the forest.
The tours are very well prepared and some of the guides speak fluent English. One even converses in German with our guests. For sports enthusiasts is also a Canoe tour in Ranomafana National Park absolutely recommended.