Ranomafana National Park
Ranomafana National Park is doubtless one the most spectacular National Parks of Madagascar. The name Ranomafana is a Malagasy word that means “hot water”.
This is among the most popular Madagascar National Park for those on Africa safari tour to Madagascar. This is because Ranomafana National Park has good access and suitable location. This park is near the popular RN7 highway.
Ranomafana National Park boasts of a great biodiversity with 12 lemur species are found here. This Madagascar National Park has well developed infrastructures. This has made Ranomafana National Park to become one of the top tourist attractions in Madagascar.
Ranomafana was established in 1991 and expands over a mountainous terrain of 415 km². This park is totally covered by dense moist primary and secondary forest area. Ranomafana National Park lies at altitudes between 800m and 1.200m.
In 1986 the critically endangered golden bamboo lemur was discovered here by Dr. Patricia Wright. This is a fact that definitely pushed the government to create a national park.
Biodiversity in Ranomafana National Park
Ranomafana National Park contains twelve lemur species. Other than the golden bamboo lemur, visitors on Madagascar tour to Ranomafana can spot eastern woolly lemur.
There are also red bellied lemur, eastern grey bamboo lemur and greater bamboo lemur. This park also has red-fronted brown lemur, black-and-white ruffed lemur and Milne-Edward´s sifaka. It is also home to Small-toothed sportive lemur and greater dwarf lemur.
We cannot leave out the brown mouse lemur and the very rare aye-aye that calls Ranomafana home. Other mammals include 7 species of tenrecs, 8 bats and 6 carnivores. The carnivores here include the Malagasy striped civet and some mongooses.
For those on Madagascar birding tour, birds are also wide spread in Ranomafana National Park. There are at least 115 species catalogued in this Madagascar National Park. 30 of these avian species are local endemic to this part of Madagascar.
Among the local endemic species include the Henst's goshawk, Rufous-headed ground-roller, velvet asity, mesites or the threatened crested ibis.
Apart from that, the immense wildlife in Ranomafana National Park is completed by 62 species of reptiles. They include chameleons, snakes and fringed and satanic leaf-tailed geckos are pretty common.
This park has 98 frogs, 90 butterflies, 350 spiders and several fishes and crayfishes. Just like Andasibe-Mantadia, most reptiles and frogs are best seen during night walks. This is when chameleons in particular initially reflect white in the beam of a torch.
There is lots of plantspecies that grow in these rain forests. Many of these 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 characterized by numerous small streams. They plummet down to the beautiful Namorona River.
This river bisects Ranomafana into two and is home to the hydroelectric power station of Ranomafana. This produces electricity for the surrounding areas.
Ranomafana National Park Climate
The climate around Ranomafana National Park is warm and humid all the year. So when is the best time to visit Madagascar and enjoy a safari to Ranomafana? You can enjoy a Madagascar tour to Ranomafana National Park in May, September, October and November.
This is during the dry season which extends from April to December. It is important to note that the North East and Central East regions have no months (or weeks) that are completely without rain.
Trekking Circuits in Ranomafana National Park
A local guide is required for visitors on Madagascar tour to the Ranomafana National Park. Guides can be arranged at the park office. A typical excursion would include viewing several species of lemur, gecko, chameleons, and bird species.
Typically, tourists on Madagascar safari to Ranomafana National Park can go exploring the Talatakely forest. Talatakely does have well defined paths and stairs, however, sturdy shoes should be worn as the path can be slippery, especially when wet.
If there are special interests, such as birding, specialists can be arranged through Centre ValBio for excursions. Guided tours are not available at nighttime. However, walking along side the road and looking for eye shine in the adjacent can typically allow tourists the chance to see mouse lemurs.
For those on Madagascar tour to Ranomafana, There are 5 different circuits available for you. This allows you to explore this marvelous Park. It is important to note that the shortest treks are also the most popular ones.
These trails in Ranomafana National Park 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.
This track allows you an easy trek of 4 hours. On this trek you have 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.
It is a 10 km trek through the forest looking for lemurs and birds.
It allows you a2 days trek across the National Park, that is 20 km up and down. This circuit is good for spotting lemurs, birds and other animals and visiting a sacred lake.
You can enjoy this circuit on a1 or 2 days trek, 15 km of rough path. You will go across the primary forest looking for lemurs and birds and passing by a waterfall and a natural pool. At the pool, you can take a bath.
Soarano circuit is the toughest to trek and takes 2 or 3 days of hard trek. You will be looking to at least 20 km. The trek goes 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.
Where is Ranomafana National Park in Madagascar
Ranomafana National Park is very easy to access. This Madagascar National Park lies about 60 km north from Fianarantsoa, and 400 south from Tana.There are two tarred roads which goes across the Park.
There is 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.
Ranomafana National Park Entry Fees
The Ranomafana National Park entry costsare 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. The average is 50,000 to 80,000 Ar a day for one to five people.
Facilities within Ranomafana National Park
Ranomafana Nationa Park hosts several campsites. They are spread within the park boundaries for those choosing the longer treks. There is a rustic "gite" next to the Park Office with shared showers and warm water. This is available at Ar 8,100 per person.
There is plenty of more comfortable accommodation in Ranomafana village. The National Park Office and the entrance are located at the village of Ambodiamontana. This is about 6 km from Ranomafana village.
The guides who will await you on your Madagascar safari to Ranomafana National Park are very well prepared and some of them speak fluent English.