Ranomafana National Park, Fianarantsoa II, Madagascar
GPS: -21.263386194134, 47.419966457407
Located in the south-east of Madagascar, about sixty kilometres from the town of Fianarantsoa, Ranomafana National Park opened in 1991 to protect the exceptional biodiversity of its ecosystem. This includes rare species of fauna and flora, such as the Golden Bamboo Lemur, an endemic variety first discovered in 1986. The largest protected area in the country, Ranomafana National Park plays an important role in the preservation of animals and plants that have lived in isolation on the archipelago since the island of Madagascar separated from the African continent over 60 million years ago.
Meaning “hot water” in Malagasy, Ranomafana National Park benefits from a particularly high level of humidity as it rains more than 300 days per year. It straddles two Malagasy regions (Haute Matsiatra and Fitovinany) on a high plateau that can reach 1,500 metres in altitude. Covering more than 400 kilometres, the park has several types of mountain forests (low and medium altitude tropical forests) fed by an almost permanent mist. The existence of waterfalls and streams favour the coexistence of a variety of wildlife. It is therefore not surprising that Ranomafana National Park is the subject of scientific research and published articles in scientific journals. New categories of lemurs are regularly identified in the more remote parts of the park. Its rainforests are the delight of ornithologists and entomologists who come to study or add to the hundred or so varieties of birds and butterflies already listed in the region.
With its humid and mountainous environment, Ranomafana National Park is home to a very wide range of fauna, including many endemic species (the rate of endemism is nearly 90% for certain groups of animals and plants). This is one of the most enchanting natural sites in Madagascar despite the overexploitation of its tree and forest resources which are threatened with extinction. Various walking or hiking trails can be explored independently or with a guide to discover the park’s wonderful natural heritage.