Volunteers taking part in any of our combination volunteer programs will get to spend a 4 day transfer tour in the Ankaranfantsika National Park.
450km north of Tana and 110km south of Mahajanga is one of the larges and last remaining sections of dense dry deciduous forest, Ankarafantsika. The National Park is almost 1,350 km² in size and consists of mostly low, spare deciduous forest with tropical grassland areas and gallery forest around the Ravelobe Lake.
The Park is home to several bird and lemur species. There are eight species of lemur to be found in Ankarafantsika and the golden-brown mouse lemur is only found here. The Park is also one of the finest birdwatching venues in Madagascar with 129 species to be found here, of which 75 are endemic. One may also spot up to 10 species of frogs and 45 species of reptiles, including several species of chameleons, vulnerable snakes and the extremely rare Madagascan big-headed turtle, as well as crocodiles around the lake.
Ankarafantsika National Park boasts more than 800 species of flora in the park with a high rate of endemic plants and the 11 well maintained trails (or circuits that include staircases and footbridges) offers visitors a glimpse into the park’s ecosystems.
Examples of some of the trails:
The Ankarokaroka trail takes about 4 hours and leads through the savannah where volunteers staying at the Park will spot plenty of wildlife. It then leads up to a large hole (lavaka) caused by erosion which is surrounded by a wonderful rocky landscape with amazing views of the forest.
Along the Source of Life trail, volunteers visiting the Park will be able to spot water birds around the lake, as well as several lemurs and reptiles. Visitors will also be afforded a glimpse into the life of the Sakavala communities as well as stopping at a couple of sacred sites used in their rituals. This trail takes about 3 hours to complete.
Both the Source of Life and the Ankarokarota circuits are extremely rewarding in terms of wildlife.
The Retendrika circuit is 2 hours long and is perfect for birders and botanists. Visitors will be able to spot many medicinal plants and flowers, as well as the birds that feed on them.
The 2 hour long Coquereli circuit is an easy trail, allowing visitors to discover some of the more well known species of lemurs, birds and reptiles.
When visiting the National Park, the Nightwalk is a must for spotting rare nocturnal lemurs and other night creatures. Guests can also enjoy a boat ride on the Ravelobe Lake whilst the guide shares the legend of Ravelobe – a feared, dangerous man – and take in the stunning scenery, water birds (fish eagles, ibises, herons) and even the odd crocodile.
There is also an a la carte restaurant for guests to enjoy meals and a gift shop to buy some souvenirs of your amazing stay in Ankarafantsika National Park.