Madagascar National Parks      Conservation   Ecotourism   Sustainable development   Concession      Home   News
Madagascar National Parks

Terrestrial National Park
Baie de Baly
Kirindy Mitea
Mananara Nord
Mantadia Andasibe
Midongy Befotaka
Montagne d'Ambre
Tsingy de Namoroka
Zombitse Vohibasia

Marine national Park
Mananara Nord

Complete Natural Reserve

Special Reserve
Andasibe Analamazaotra
Anjanaharibe Sud
Beza Mahafaly
Cap Sainte Marie
Montagne et Forêt d’Ambre
Tampoketsa Analamaintso

News of Ankarafantsika protected area
News are ongoing...

The National Park of Ankarafantsika, in Northwest of Madagascar, is a mosaic of dense and dry forests. Ankarafantsika is known for its lakes, the last refuge of leading species. It is also a haven for lemurs and endemic birds. GPS: 16°09 South and 46°57 East.

Ankarafantsika is 450 km from Antananarivo and 115 km from Mahajanga. The National Road N°4 crosses the Park. Located in the Region of Boina, it is located on Marovoay and Ambato-Boeni Districts. Mahajamba River flows in its east side, and the Betsiboka in the west. Ankarafantsika spreads on 135,000 ha.

The fauna

Ankarafantsika is a den of birds and lemurs. This particularity makes the conservation of this National Park a real leitmotiv. Eight species of lemurs have been observed in Ankarafantsika: one strict diurnal species, two cathemeral species, five typically nocturnal species of which the famous Microcebus, the smallest primate in the world. 129 species of birds nest in the forest of Ankarafantsika. 75 among them are endemic. Ankarafansika is also home of local endemic reptile species. A total of 10 amphibian and 44 reptiles’ species are recorded within this Park. Few of these species are rare, threatened or limitide distribution range. Among them are the horned chameleon (Furcifer rhinoceratus), the dwarf chameleon (Brookesia decaryi), the freshwater turtle and Crytically endangered species (Erymnochelys madagascariensis), the two “Vulnerable“ boas (Acrantophis madagascariensis and Sanzinia madagascariensis), and the terrestrial and diurnal rare species of snake Liophidium therezieni

The best of Ankarafantsika’s fauna

1. The Rufous vanga Schetba rufa or Paopaobava of its Malagasy name is a forest dependant and endemic bird. It is of middle size, redhead, white and black color.  The male to the head, the nape, the neck, the chin and the throats blacks to reflection bruises. The female of the Paopaobava has the front, the overall part of the head, and napes in black. Its redhead body is decorated with a gray necklace. It is a diurnal species that presents a sexual dimorphism. Rarely alone, the Paopaobava likes to live in couple or in group.

2. Eulemur mongoz, known locally by its Malagasy name, Dredrika, is an arboreal lemur; E. mongoz is a small member of the genus (1.1-1.6 kg) and has a small geographic range. The Dredrika measures 30 to 35cm and its tail 48cm long. The species is sexually dichromatic. The back of the male is of a brown darker than the female. Male and female distinguish themselves by the colour of their shoulders! Indeed, one on the yellow shoulder and one, the brunette shoulder that turns to black. But both have an orange eye and white nose. The Dredrika is diurnal in rainy season and nocturnal in dry season. It is a vulnerable species

3. Microcebus is the smallest of the lemurs. We may note in Ankarafantsika the presence of two sympatric species: M. murinus and M. ravelobensis. The breeding period of these two species is different despite the fact that they are sympatric to Ankarafantsika. There is a clear separation of their ecological allotment. The distribution of M. ravelobensis is very limited. Like other Microcebus, the species feed on fruit and insects.

4. The Madagascar Fish-eagle Haliaeetus vociferoides . This diurnal raptor is the only classified as critical raptor species in Africa. Ankarafantsika is the most interior and easy site to observe this species. A resident pair is observed at Ravelobe Lake, few minutes walking from the entrance of the Park.

5. Van Dam’s Vanga Xenopirostris damii. This species is considered as madagascar’s rarest and most threatened Vanga. But it’s common at Ankarafantsika National Park. It’s very easy to localise during the breeding period (between October to December).

6. The Banded Kestrel Falco zoniventris, a diurnal and endemic raptors of the Island. This secretive and difficult to observe species are common at Ankarafantsika. There are a territory sites for this species and with assistance of Madagascar National Parks’s guide, it’s very easy to localise it.

7. Fully protected endemic lemur, Cheirogaleus medius or Matavirambo is an arboreal that likes to move slowly.  22 cm high with a tail of 20 cm long, the Matavirambo weighs 142g in the beginning of the humid season, 217g at the end of humid season.  Dwarf lemurs are larger than mouse lemurs (Microcebus sp). Its back is brown, its belly is white. A white strip surrounds its nose and its eye is ringed with black. The Matavirambo is a nocturnal lemur that hibernates from April to September. Its reserve of fat is found at the basis of its tail, as where its name is from…. “fat-tailed dwarf lemur”.

8. Acrantophis madagascariensis or Do is a snake, generally terrestrial. Its size can reach 3m; its body is dark brown or dark beige. Its belly is generally clearer. It eats micro mammals or birds. (photo)

The flora

The flora of Ankarafantsika is very varied. There are 823 species. 82% are herbaceous endemic plants, and 92% are woody plants.

The best of Ankarafantsika’s flora

1. The Mpanjakabenitany or Baudouinia fluggeiformis is an endemic bush of 15 m high and 50cm of diameter. Its trunk is pierced with deep flutings and irregular. Its peel is brownish Its deciduous and disposed leaves in bouquets at the summits of the branches have a masts lower face and a shiny superior face, crossed by a prominent rib median.  Its yellow flowers have five small petals that bloom in the dry dense forests damaged between August and December. The Mpanjakabenitany gives its fruits from September to May.

2. Cedrelopsis grevei or Katrafay of its Malagasy name is a tree of 5 to 22 m of height. Its grayish brownish rough peel is cracked and has a characteristic odor. Its yellow wood, very clear and very hard, has aesthetic and technological virtues very valued for joinery and construction. Its leaves, grouped to the summit of the twigs, are deciduous and have medicinal properties. Its yellow flowers appear between September and December and its capsular fruits of black color, between October and January. (Photo)

3. The Lohavato, Hymenodictyon occidental is a small tree with an even straighter. It is endemic. Its flowers have a particular form: they have shaped cups welded tube very short and narrow teeth. The lower part of the corolla is narrow and cylindrical and the upper enlarged ball-shaped. Lohavato is found in dry and dense forests . The lohavato blossoms and bears fruit from November to January.

4. The Sakoanala or Poupartia silvatica is a big tree of 25 to 35 m high. Its peel is gray and stained of white. It is thick, tenacious, cracked, and include stretched out scales. The Sakoanala frees the reddish latex when one scrapes its trunk. It is found in the dense, dry and deciduous forests. Its flowering is in September and October

Travel shrewd...

If you like the trekking, Ankarafantsika is for your passion under the condition of having walking shoes, light clothes and a hat. The torchlights are indispensable for the nocturnal circuits. You can take your tents and sleeping bags to camp.  Bring your bottle of mineral water; heat is burning in the Park 
The nearest bank is in Marovoay, health centers in Andranofasika (4km) and Ankazomborona (23 km). Marovoay (41km) has a hospital. Ankarafantsika is covered by the telephone networks of Telma and Zain.

The park history

"Ankarafantsika" comes from the "Garafantsy" name that means"mountain of thorns “. It is a name that also designates a crafty and scary man. Forests of Ankarafantsika once inspired terror and mystery. And because, they were inhabited by Ravelobe, a patriot who became a bandit who robbed travelers. Originally, two parks on both sides of the national road N°4, formed the Reserved Forest of Ankarafantsika, before they were unified. The current National Park of Ankarafantsika was inaugurated in 2002.  The Sakalavas live in this region, they are usually farmers. 

Ankarafantsika, a park that helps

The plain of Marovoay, agricultural area is watered by the river of Betsiboka in the west of the Park. It is at the massif of Ankarafantsika that agriculture owes its harvest, thanks to a major water control. On 38,000 cultivated hectares, 16,000 hectares are irrigated full-time. The rivers from Ankarafantsika, while dragging sediments kept in the marshes to raffia, protect the rice fields of the plain of Marovoay. The lakes of Tsimaloto, Ampijoroa, Antsimalo, and Ankomakoma are the last refuge for fishes, crocodiles and waterbirds.

Landscape contrasted in a dry climate

It is hot in Ankarafantsika. From April to November, the weather is dry. A wet period breaks the routine, but generally, the temperature varies from 24 to 29°C. The landscape is contrasted in the Park. Ankarafantsika alternates scenic landscapes, ranging from savanna to bush through "lavaka" of Ankarokaroka, lunar landscape born of a massive erosion. Its vegetation and its fauna are thus features of a sandy massif, where species are endemic locally.


The microprojects of Ankarafantsika

The National Park of Ankarafantsika is along the National Road N°4 that joins Antananarivo and Mahajanga. The journey lasts 8 hours on road in a good state and practicable in all season.


By Road :

Take the National Road N°4 towards Mahajanga.
Ankarafantsika is 450 km from Antananarivo, National Road N°4 crosses the Park

By Taxi-brousse :

Bus station of Ambodivona, Antananarivo.
Available buses every day

By Plane :

The Air Madagascar Company assures a regular flight to Mahajanga. The transfer toward the National Park of Ankarafantsika is done by car: 115 km in 2h.


The national park of Ankarafantsika is crossed by 11 ecotouristic circuits that has each their quality and is adapted to your expectation and your physical ability.

Circuit name Specifications Tariffs
The Coquereli circuit

Duration : 2 at 3h
Distance : 2 km

The small tour lasts 2 at 3 hours along 2 km of visit. It is a hike that will make you discover diurnal lemurs as Propithecus verreauxi coquereli that is endemic in Ankarafantsika; the Sifaka, the brown maki or the mongoz. Fauna lovers, to your binoculars!
- Guidance :
Ar 15,000 for 1 to 4 persons/day
Ar 21,000 up to 6 persons/day


Circuit name Specifications Tariffs
The Baobab circuit

Duration : 1h 30 walk
Distance : 2 km

It begins in the Ravelobe Lake, crossbar secondary forest dominated by the Raplafarinifera, of the trees of crocodiles (Hura crepitans) to finish in the middle of the Andasonia madagascariensis, majestic baobabs, endemic of Ankarafantsika. It is the trail of rare birds as the king-bird, the Malagasy dyal, the Bulbul of Madagascar and the drongo as well as the reptiles and the chameleons, the snakes and the lizards. You will have the opportunity to appreciate the Ravelobe Lake in its entire splendor and to cross the suspended bridge.

- Guidance :
Ar 15,000 for 1 to 6 persons/day
Ar 21,000 up to 6 persons / day


Circuit name Specifications Tariffs
Sailing on the Ravelobe Lake Distance : 60 ha

It is a mystical distance and impregnated of legend around Ravelobe the dangerous man and dreaded of Garafantsy. It is a distance that takes the look of safari: you will see crocodiles of Nile, water birds as the eagle fisher, the herons, the aigrettes, the hens of water, the ibises falcinelle, the anhinga of Africa and the wild ducks as well as various aquatic plants. Aboard the boat, discover a magnificent view of the forest of Ankarafantsika.

- Guidance by boat (loading capacity 8 persons) :
Ar 25,000 for 1 or 2 people

Surplus : Ar 15,000 / person


Circuit name Specifications Tariffs
The Retendrika circuit Duration: 2h30
Distance : 3 km

It is an itinerary that will be pleasing to botanists and lovers of wild nature. Retendrika is also, for the uninitiated, the circuit to better understand the complexity of the ecosystem of Ankarafantsika. Medicinal plants border the circuit, Katrafay, the Adenia, aloe and Vanilla madagascariensis and the Retendrika of which the circuit owes its name. We can find precious woods and terrestrial orchids that you could meet in humid forests but have chosen to live in the dense dry forest of Ankarafantsika. However, it is not the flora that is the great advantage of this circuit but the birds. Birders and birdwatchers will have the opportunity to expand the list of birds that they love!td>
- Guidance :
Ar 15,000 for 1 to 4 persons / day
Ar 21,000 up to 6 persons / day


Circuit name Specifications Tariffs
The Pachypodium circuit Duration : 3h of road
Distance : 3,5 km

You will see the pachypodium, extraordinary plant with the yellow flowers that has adapt well to the dry region of Madagascar. It is found in sandy areas or environments in very dry climate such as the Deep South. All along this circuit grows medicinal plants like the aloe and the adenia and sacred and precious woods as Brazilian rosewood. It is also the good circuit to see birds as the Hawk, chameleons ,snakes and lizards.
- Guidance :
Ar 15,000 for 1 to 4 persons/day
Ar 21,000 up to 6 persons / day


Circuit name Specifications


The Source of Life circuit Duration : 3h
Distance : 5 km of trekking

It is the circuit of waterbirds such as the Fish Eagle, the Ankoay, Herons, the Glossy Ibis, the Africa Darter and wild ducks. But terrestrial birds as the Magpie Robin , the Madagascar Bulbul ,the Hawk, the Mesite and the Drongo won't miss to astonish you, as well as diurnal lemurs as the Sifaka and the Brown Maki, or reptiles and Nile Crocodiles . Medicinal plants and precious woods are also found in this circuit. But if the circuit Source of Life pleases a lot, it is also because it unites the discovery of the wild nature to the traditions. You will have the opportunity to visit a" doany ", place of a sacred ritual called "joro" for the Sakalavas. Once per year and generally in July, this tribe rise the blessing of the ancestors through the" joro ". And at the end, admire the Ravelobe sacred lake!


-Guidance : 

Ar 25,000 for 1 to 4 persons

Ar 35,000 up to 6 persons 




Circuit name Specifications Tariffs
The Ankarokaroka circuit Duration : 3h 30
Distance : 9 km

It begins to the verge of the dry forest to furrow the savanna. It will take you to the famous big lavaka of Ankarokaroka of, the result of massive erosion. It is nearly a fantastic landscape, lunar, that offers an extraordinary view on the canyon. Also discover diurnal lemurs as the sifaka, snakes and lizards, precious and sacred woods, medicinal plants and birds as the Banded kestrel Falco zoniventris. A spot of panoramic view of the forest of Ankarafantsika is offered to you as a gift.
- Guidance :
Ar 15,000 for 1 to 4 persons/day
Ar 37,000 up to 6 persons / day


Circuit name Specifications Tariffs
The ride Duration : 2h 30
Distance : 9 km

Discover secondary forest, savanna, big erosion on a multicolored landscape. This circuit is especially striking at sunset. And discover the fairy chimneys, while going down to the big" lavaka ". The athletes will love!Animals and plants to see: rare birds like theMadagascar Kestrel and the Drongo, lizards, Medicinal plants and the precious woods.

 - Tariff of guidance by car : 

Ar 50,000 for 1 to 2 people

Ar 75,000 for 3 people

Ar 100,000 for 4 people

Ar 125,000 for 5 people

Ar 150,000 for 6 people (it is the maximum for a group of visitors)



Circuit name   Specifications   Tariffs
The circuit of the Top of the Lake Duration : 3h
Distance : 7 km of road

It is the circuit dedicated to the Ravelobe Lake because it gives you the opportunity to admire the lake in very impressive points of view. In this crossing, you will find birds such as the king-bird, the Magpie Robin, the Madagascar Bulbul, the Hawk, the Drongo, chameleons, snakes, lizards and medicinal plants as the Adenia. You will find also Vanilla madagascariensis and Tamarind.

-Guidance : 

Ar 25,000 for 1 to 4 persons / day

Ar 35,000 up to 6 persons




Circuit name Specifications Tariffs
The Ankoririka circuit Duration : 3h
Distance : 9 km

It is the itinerary to see diurnal lemurs as the Sifaka and the brown maki; the nocturnal lemurs as the microcebus, lépilemur edwardsi, avahi occidentalis and cheirogaleus medius; the terrestrial birds as the Van dam’s vanga, the Schlegel’s Asity, the chameleons, snakes, lizards. Medicinal plants, precious and sacred woods are also to the appointment. The circuit ends by a panoramic view on the "Lavaka" and the waterfall.

-Guidance : 

Ar 25,000 for 1 to 4 persons / day

Ar 37,000 up to 6 persons / day


The welcome office of the Park of Ankarafanstila is in Ampijoroa in the heart of the Park. The office staff will assist you in organizing your visit. All payment is done at the unique ticket desk of Madagascar National Parks. 14 French-speaking and English-speaking guides cover Ankarafantsika. To accomodate you during your visit, Madagascar National Parks has set a stage lodging in Ampijoroa, under booking. The stage lodging of Ampijoroa offers you :

- A kitchen and cookers if needed, a common shower with hot water, toilets, a solar lighting and a parking.
- 6 rooms with two double beds or 2 single bed, common toilets : Ar 35,000 / night
- 5 bungalows for 4 people, 1 double bed and 1 more superimposed bed, private toilets: Ar 80,000 / night
- 2 new bungalows for 4 people: 1 double bed and 1 superimposed bed, private toilets: Ar 100,000 / night
- Renting extra mattress: Ar 4,000 / night
- Renting cooks in full air for the groupes/day (including refectory): Ar 10,000 / night
- Renting refectory for 30 people: Ar 65,000 / night

Contacts :

Madagascar National Parks Mahajanga
14 Rue Philibert Tsiranana,
Tél / Fax : + (261 20) 62 226 56
GSM : + (261 32) 52 349 00
            + (261 33) 09 866 56
Email :

Ankarafantsika National Park :
Ampijoroa, Marovoay  point 114 on National Road N°4
Tél. : +261 20 62 780 00 ou +261 20 62 780 01
Tél. satellite : 00 87 07 63 93 58 23
Standard in ANDRANOFASIKA: +(261 33) 02 131 86

Email :

Tél. : + (261 34) 49 401 27



Ankarafantsika is suitable for the birdwatching and to the trekking. But the Park and its surrounding you are sure to amaze you. The list of the good shots is long and very varied.

Thus, inside Ankarafantsika, to Ampombolava, is found a workshop where raffia is woven and dyed in a traditional manner. Ampombolava is located along the National Road N°4. Another workshop is established in Andranomandevy, 16 km outside the Park.

A research site on our old friends the dinosaurs, is established in Berivotra, 65 km on National Road N°4. In Anjohibe, 120 km toward Mahajanga, you will find a historic underground cave. Nearby,10 km, extends the famous Cirque Rouge, that is an extraordinary formation of "lavaka ".

The cultural event doesn't take a rest. Every year, during the month of July, the Sakalavas celebrate the "Fanompoana" to ask for the protection and the blessing of the Sakalava’s Kings. It is one of the most famous traditions of this region and is very respected by the population.

Also discover the sacred places as the lakes of Tsimaloto, Ampijoroa, Antsimalo, Ankomakoma ; the places of cult as the "doany" of Betsioka in Bealana where the traditional sakalava "Fanompoana" takes place, the "doany" of Ambalabongo and the "doany" of sacred lake Ravelobe and the tombs of the Sakalava Kings in Andranomiditra.