Andasibe-Mantadia National Park
Andasibe-Mantadia National Park, also known as Périnet, offers an exceptional wildlife experience. Within easy reach of Antananarivo, Andasibe-Mantadia is one of Madagascar’s most popular destinations with the chance to see the indri – the largest lemur – as well as much more. The neighbouring Mitsinjo Forest also offers the unique experience of being able to visit primary rainforest at night.
Andasibe-Mantadia National Park was established in the late 1990s and refers to the co-managed areas of Analamazaotra Forest (also referred to by its colonial name, Pérniet) and Mantadia which is further north. Whilst the parks can be visited in conjunction, Andasibe holds popular appeals thanks to its exceptional wildlife with a number of lemur species as well as birds and reptiles, whereas Mantadia’s primary rainforest is usually seen as more of a specialist destination for real enthusiasts. The close proximity of Andasibe-Mantadia to Antananarivo making it easily accessible, along with the well maintained walking trails, means the park is very popular.
Andasibe protects a total of 810 hectares and is particularly well-known for its lemur population, with the largest species – Indri indri being found here. With their bear-like features and standing at approximately one metre tall, the Indri indri has a distinctive call which sounds like a whale and its powerful legs can propel it up to 10 metres through the trees. There are another 11 species of lemur resident in the park including Goodman’s mouse lemurs and woolly lemurs. As well as lemurs, there are chameleons and tenrecs to look out for as well as some great rainforest endemic birds including the blue coua and nuthatch vanga. Just outside of Andasibe National Park is Mitsinjo Forest which holds appeal as you can go on night walks which will allow you to see nocturnal species, which aren’t possible in the main national park.
Mantadia is less-accessible with more testing trails and is more of a specialist destination as the wildlife is harder to spot, but the sightings are rewarding. The smaller number of visitors that Mantadia receives in comparison to Andasibe means that it is easier to get off the beaten track and see species that are rarely seen. The park is also famed for its primary rainforest which is virtually untouched with only a few trails, meaning that there has been far less impact. Highlights for naturalists include superb birding with the wonderful ground-roller as well as the diademed siafaka.