About four hours’ drive from the capital Antananarivo lies the small town of Andasibe. Andasibe National Park, or Perinet Reserve as it used to be called, is a tropical rainforest. It is a place where you can spot the Indri. The Indri is the largest species of macaque found in Madagascar.
Tropical rainforest in Andasibe National Park
Andasibe National Park is a true tropical rainforest with many primeval forests still remaining. The park has a cool and humid climate, the average temperature is around 18 °C. There is also a relatively high rainfall. Thanks to the humidity, you will find many mosses and ferns in the forests. Additionally, the park is known for the many different species of orchids you find here though most visitors come to see the Indri and hear its call.
Meeting the Indri in Andasibe National Park
The Indri is the largest living prosimian found in Madagascar. An Indri can grow up to about 70 centimetres long. It has a thick coat of long hairs in black and white colours. Remarkably, the Indri only has a very short tail of about 5 centimetres. As a result of the deforestation taking place, its habitat is becoming increasingly limited. Now, this park is one of the few places in Madagascar where you can spot the Indri.
In the park, mandatory guides are adept at spotting the Indri. They usually live in small groups high in the trees, at a height of about 20 to 40 metres. The leaves and fruits they find in the trees are their daily food. See also the accompanying video. Indri are capable of cat-like leaps from one tree to another. It is an impressive sight to see the Indri jumping through the jungle, from branch to branch.
In addition, the Indri’s loud call is unmistakable. Especially in the morning, you can be woken up by the bellowing ‘siren’ in the jungle. This is how they keep in touch with other Indri, often alerting them to their presence. A call can last more than three minutes. The sound can be heard as far as two kilometres away. Very impressive to experience.
An evening walk in Andasibe National Park
Besides the Indri, the park is home to numerous other animals. A great opportunity to see them is via an evening walk. Guides scour the roadside for chameleons, frogs, spiders and other reptiles. It is incredibly clever how they manage to find these tiny creatures. If you are lucky, you will also see the Aye-Aye. This is the largest nocturnal lemur found in Madagascar.
Andasibe National Park: practical information
- From the capital Antananarivo, it is 135 kilometres to Andasibe. The road is winding and busy due to traffic to and from the port city of Toamasina. Definitely count on a 3.5-hour to 4-hour drive.
- On the way, you can make a nice stop at Peyrieras Reptile Reserve. This is a small private zoo. The reserve was founded by Frenchman André Peyriéras. to care for chameleons and later release them into the wild. You can take beautiful photos of the chameleons there.
- Visiting the park requires a guide. My favourite guide in this park is definitely Liva. He speaks good English, is enthusiastic and talks a lot about the flora and fauna. He can be contacted on his mobile number. If you ask at the hotel to call him, they will do quite well. His local number is 034 481 93 54. A good and good English-speaking guide is Donna Marcel.
- The entrance fee for the park is 45,000 ariary and 5,000 local tax for the community. Prices, incidentally, change regularly (and then it always gets a bit more expensive).
- The trails in the park are well trodden. If there has been prolonged rain, they are slippery. Put on good walking shoes.
- For Indri spotting, you have to go into the jungle and off the paths. Then it is less passable, but the guides are helpful to assist you.
- There are several circuits in the park to walk. Consult with your guide what your preferences and wishes are.
Hotels near Andasibe National Park
- A good hotel on the edge of the park is Feon’ny Ala. You get a simple but clean and complete bungalow here. The food at the hotel is fine.
- Another recommended hotel is Andasibe Forest Lodge. It is located five kilometres before Andasibe and is relatively new. You get nice bungalows with a small terrace. The complex is in a beautiful park. You can get good food there.
- The village of Andasibe is a 15-minute walk from the entrance to the National Park. It is a nice place to look around and enjoy local life.