Andohahela National Park
Andohahela National Park is located about 40 km north-west of Fort Dauphin in the middle of the Anosy chain. The park is characterized by trade winds that meet a natural barrier, the Anosy chain, thus creating a magical place of climatic contrasts, three very different worlds: a rainforest in the eastern part, a thorny forest in the western part and an area of transition in the middle of the two forests. Obviously we can also find three very different microclimates: in the eastern area the climate is hot and humid, with average temperatures ranging between 20 and 24 degrees and precipitation ranging from 1,000 to 2,000 mm; in the western area, we find a hot and dry climate with temperatures between 22 and 26 degrees and rainfall ranging from 600-800 mm. As for the central transition area, the climate is rather hot with average rainfall ranging from 800 to 1,500 mm. The uniqueness of the Andohahela Park is not only due to the climate or the forests, but also to the number of activities that can be carried out: trekking; visits both day and night to observe the endemic flora and fauna of the area; natural waterfalls and swimming pools; easy but hard climbs to reach the top of the mountains from which you can admire a breathtaking landscape towards the Indian ocean or towards the semi-arid landscape of the interior.
Areas to explore
In Tsimelahy, the transition zone, we can admire a splendid rupicolous vegetation and above all its famous triangle palm tree, a waterfall and natural swimming pool, the fauna is made up of reptiles (lizards and snakes) and birds. The visit to the village of Tsimelahy demonstrates the importance of protected areas for the development of the villagers. Malio, the rainforest, a real rainforest with waterfalls, lemurs, chameleons, endless orchids and much more. Ihazofotsy and Mangatsiaka, the spiny forest, it’s hot and it will not be easy to see many animals but, with a little ‘luck and patience, we will see lemurs like the sifaka, the smaller the tenrecs ( similar to porcupine) and many endemic birds in the area such as couas and vangas. Among the flora, to mention the splendid Alluaudia Procera, capable of providing a light, resistant and rot-proof wood used in making funds and building houses and, the dwarf baobab.
As regards the sighting of fauna, there are many species that must however be divided into day and night. The park is rich in fauna but observation requires a good dose of luck. From the latest studies, there are 129 bird species, 65% are endemic, 13 diurnal lemur species including the dancing lemur, Eulemur fulvus collaris (the collared lemur), Hapalemur griseus meridionalis (bamboo lemur) and the famous lemur catta . Among the nocturnal species, one can find: the microcebus, the sportive lemur, the furry-eared dwarf lemur, and the aye-aye. In addition, there are 61 species of reptiles, 49 species of amphibians and various species of butterflies.
The most common plant in the park is definitely the triangle palm tree (Dypsis decaryi). We also note the presence of tamarind trees, acacia, violet, Pachypodium, the dwarf baobabs, the vanilla madagascariensis used by local people as “viagra”, the thorny tree Cedrelopsis greveil, the Uncarina grandidieri used for the care of hair and many other medicinal plants.