Andringitra National Park. A wild mountain range
With sumptuous landscapes punctuated with massifs of granite, Andringitra National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. One of the most beautiful parks in Madagascar, the Andringitra massif offers an incredible natural wealth. It is open to all, and large spaces’ and moutain walks’ lovers won’t be disappointed as a panoramic view awaits them! The park offers an exceptional wet rainforest and the opportunity to climb the Peak Boby which culminates at 2 658 m (2nd highest on the island). Pic Boby d’Imarivolanitra is the island's highest accessible peak and provides a dramatic backdrop to the barren plain; it is a mecca for rock climbers, who consider it to be one of the world’s most challenging climbs. The Pic Boby hiking is a must-do when you go to Andringitra. The next peak is called Peak Bory culminating at 2630m.
The tourist interest of its national park comes from following activities: hiking, trekking, excursion, climbing, discovery, panoramic sight since the top, and it all thanks to 100km of tracks for walk fitted out in a picturesque decoration of mountains. The 311 km2 of Andringitra offers many landscapes: meadows, forests, thickets and large expanses, high mountains, deep valleys, and ridges. A breathtaking show punctuated by an exceptional surprise: the Riambavy, 300 m high waterfall.
The Andringitra mountains are a granite outcrop in south-highlands Madagascar. Explorers in the early twentieth century recognized the ecological importance of the massif and, in 1927, the central part of the mountain range was declared a Strict Nature Reserve and is one of the most biologically diverse areas in Madagascar. Andringitra is extraordinarily rich in wildlife, with 13 species of lemurs, more than 50 other mammals, 106 species of birds, 35 reptiles, no fewer than 57 species of frog and at least 1000 species of plants and trees. It is also an important central link in the longest unbroken chain of rainforest remaining in Madagascar, which stretches 180km from Ranomafana National Park in the north connecting to Pic Boby in the south. Andringitra contains three separate ecosystems: low altitude rainforest, montane forest and high-altitude vegetation. Together these constitute an essential link in the longest remaining unbroken section of rainforest.
ENJOY THESE... Walks the slopes of Andringitra. A miraculous refuge for plants and animals, Andringitra is best known for its hiking trails, climbing walls, and rocky landscapes. You can choose between several routes, each with specific characteristics and different levels of difficulty. The park offers some of the most scenic trekking in Madagascar. For the most adventurous, the site offers climbing. A sporty trip, rich in adventure and discovery. Note that you also have the possibility to bivouac under tents. The trails are mostly in good condition, but they’re long and quite arduous. But on difficult patches of the paths one has created solutions, so everyone who is fit can make the hike. Go on trek for 2-3 days in an exceptional setting. The massif offers various activities to do including trekking, in an exuberant and incredible nature. Camping, birdwatching, and trekking are the main activities to do in the park. The Pic Boby climb is also a must-do when you go to Andringitra. The majority of visitors do the 3-day/2-night Peak Boby trek.
Most of the park circuits start at the Namoly Gate in the east. Walks in the west mostly take place outside the park proper but give you great views and ring-tailed lemur encounters. Walking west to east (from the Morarano Gate in the west to Namoly) or vice versa takes a minimum of two days in each direction. Usually, the six hiking trails hereafter are offered (but not only): Hiking in Andringitra for one day: Circuit Asaramanitra - is the easiest; Circuit Imaintso (or greenery), the trail leads to the east; Circuit Isahavato (or Stone fields): Isahavato is the name of a high altitude western plateau where some rare palm tree species grow up. Circuit Diavolana (or full moon) takes you through wild meadows of flowers, and orchids to a lunar landscape which deserves its name well! Circuit Imarivolanitra (or close to the skies): a 28km 3-days journey, it is the climbing of the peak Boby and the meeting with its high altitude inhabitants after crossing the grassy savannas. The Pic Boby hiking is a must-do when you go to Andringitra. Circuit ZOMANDAO. This region of the Andringitra Massif is awe-inspiring, with challenging and thrilling hiking terrain. However, just a handful of visitors ever venture into this isolated region.
After a few hours of walking you can reach the neighbouring valley of Tsaranoro, which is world famous for climbers and adventurous souls. There, you will come across authentic landscapes and villages with deep-red earthen houses whose inhabitants will welcome you warmly.
WHAT OF WILDLIFE YOU WILL SEE? You’ll discover an unsuspected wealth in this region of the Andringitra. Lemurs, many non-venomous snakes, chameleons and many birds with flamboyant colors. Although the park is extremely biodiverse, its wildlife isn’t always easy to see and the greatest number of species is found in the eastern rainforest. Andringitra’s most emblematic species is the ring-tailed lemur (Lemur catta). Other lemurs – all found in the eastern forests – include rufous mouse lemur (Microcebus rufus), greater dwarf lemur (Cheirogaleus major), small-toothed sportive lemur (Lepilemur microdon), southern bamboo lemur (Hapalemur meridionalis), golden bamboo lemur (Hapalemur aureus), greater bamboo lemur (Prolemur simus), brown lemur (Eulemur fulvus), red-fronted brown lemur (Eulemur rufifrons), red-bellied lemur (Eulemur rubriventer), Peyriéras’ woolly lemur (Avahi peyrierasi), Milne-Edwards’ sifaka (Propithecus edwardsi), and aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis). The Critically Endangered southern black-and-white ruffed lemur (Varecia variegata editorum) formerly occurred here as well, but has not been reported in recent years.
Outstanding birdlife includes the handsome and relatively common Madagascar blue pigeon (Alectroenas madagascariensis), with its distinctive red tail, and the much less easily seen, hook-billed and stump-tailed yellow-bellied sunbird-asity (Neodrepanis hypoxantha), which is like a diminutive flying lemon, flashing through the high forest, the Salomon’s souimanga with its long hooked bill, the small fody whose plumage turns into bright red during mating and breeding season from November to March or the Atelonis ground roller.
Andringitra’s most notable chameleon, found in bushes in the high-altitude grasslands, is the unmistakeably jewel-like Campan’s chameleon (Furcifer campani), with its three lateral stripes and multicoloured scales. Above the tree line, look out for two Andringitra endemics – the mottled mountain climbing frog (Anodonthyla montana), which breeds in rainwater puddles in the granite and can often be found tucked under stones, and the prettily green-patterned Andringitra bright-eyed tree frog (Boophis laurenti), which makes do with heather bushes for trees and breeds in fast-flowing streams above 2000m. FLORA: very rich in endemic species. It is the case for orchids of which about thirty species were inventoried.
In addition to the natural attractions, Andringitra has many sacred places and fascinating customs, making it a mystical and picturesque area to visit. The surroundings of Andringitra Park also offer a rich cultural itinerary that will make you discover endearing people anchored in ancestral traditions. Christianity seems little to have penetrated in the area, which explains the survival of various traditions sometimes considered to be pagan by the missionaries and pastors of the Lutheran faith. However, the natural resources and the biodiversity are precisely protected by spiritual beliefs like by various taboos. (Mystical Lakes and waterfalls that it is forbidden to pollute or profane, sacred forest whose plants should not be gathered…)
Climates range from humid tropical in the eastern lowland rainforests to extreme temperatures at higher elevations, which can descend to -8°C. Three various climates reign on Andringitra. Material conditions: good walking shoes are required on rocky ground, rain gear, hat. No need to take tents or sleeping bags which are available on the spot. You should wear warm clothes because it can be very cold when the night comes out.
Watch more photos about Andringitra National Park here.