The best places to see lemurs in Madagascar

Lemurs are the poster children of Madagascar – here is a list of the best places to see them.

Toliara (Tulear)

There are three good reasons to visit Toliara: the rich marine life with good snorkelling and diving, the Mahafaly and Masikoro tombs and the remarkable spiny forest and its accompanying fauna. The pronunciation of the French (Tulear) and the Malagasy names is the same: ‘tooleear’. Toliara’s history is centred on St Augustine’s Bay, described at the…

Andasibe-Mantadia National Park

One of Madagascar’s most popular reserves, this national park is home to a variety of lemurs, birds, reptiles and invertebrates. In the late 1990s the long-established reserve of Analamazaotra Forest, sometimes known by its colonial name of Périnet, was combined with Mantadia, 20km to the north, to form Andasibe-Mantadia National Park. Because of its proximity…

Isalo National Park

The combination of sandstone rocks cut by deep canyons and eroded into weird shapes, rare endemic plants and dry weather for most of the year makes this Madagascar’s most popular national park. The combination of sandstone rocks, rare endemic plants and dry weather are what make this national park particularly rewarding. For botanists there are…

Berenty Reserve

Berenty Reserve is home to around 300 Verreaux’s sifakas © Daniel Austin The mixture of tame lemurs, comfortable accommodation and the tranquillity of the forest trails make this the Madagascar memory for many people. This small private reserve some 3 hours’ drive west of Taolagnaro is one of the most famous in Madagascar, not least for…

Avenue des Baobabs

This cluster of towering Grandidier’s baobabs is one of Madagascar’s most famous views. The baobab – a freak among trees with its massively swollen trunk and sparse stubby branches – is emblematic of Madagascar. This is the motherland of baobabs. Of the nine species found worldwide, six grow exclusively in Madagascar. It is difficult to be certain…

Ile Sainte Marie

This cliché of a tropical island is home to endless desert beaches overhung by coconut palms, bays protected from sharks by coral reefs and a relative absence of unsightly tourist development.   Here is a cliché of a tropical island with endless deserted beaches overhung by coconut palms, bays protected from sharks by coral reefs, hills…

Ranomafana National Park

Black-and-white ruffed lemurs are common at Ranomafana National Park © Sergey Didenko, Shutterstock Even if you saw no wildlife, there is enough variety in the vegetation and scenery, and enough pleasure in walking the well-constructed trails, to make a visit worthwhile. The name Ranomafana means ‘hot water’ and it was the waters, not the lemurs, that…

Montagne d’Ambre National Park

Even non-birders will be fascinated by the numerous species here; the Madagascar paradise flycatcher with its long trailing tail feathers is striking enough to impress anybody. This 18,500ha national park was created in 1958, the French colonial government recognising the unique nature of the volcanic massif and its forest. The park is part of the Montagne d’Ambre…

Nosy Be

Meaning ‘big island’, the fertile and prosperous Nosy Be is blessed with an almost perfect climate all year round. The name means ‘big island’ and is pronounced ‘nossy bay’ by the local Sakalava people, although ‘nooss bay’ is nearer the highland pronunciation. It is blessed with an almost perfect climate for much of the year. Fertile and…