Reniala Private Reserve – an outstanding forest
Reniala Private Reserve, which is also called the Domergue reserve, is a small protected area of only 60 ha. The reserve is located less than 1km from the Mozambique Channel near the village of Ifaty-Mangily. Of extraordinary richness, the biodiversity of the fauna of the Reniala reflects the biological magic of Madagascar. It shelters an amazing, bizarre and unique ecosystem which only occurs in the southern part of Madagascar: the spiny forest. The towering spiny bushes are home to more than 2000 plants species (many of them local endemic), some spectacular and very old baobabs (there is a giant baobab of 13 m diameter, local people fondly call it “tea pot” due to its appearance. It is told to be 1500 years old) and a complete endemic plants family, the Didieraceae. In Reniala reserve, you can admire many endemic plants of the spiny forests, among the famous baobabs (Adansonia rubrostipa), Pachypodium, Euphorbia and other outstanding growths. Reniala includes a botanical trail and a bird sanctuary.
Meanwhile the spiny forest belongs to the last pieces of primary forests of the South. Nothing was changed here besides some carefully created paths inside area. For several years, there have been efforts to settle several groups of ring-tailed lemurs inside the reserve, financially supported by European organizations. The animals come from the Lemur Rescue Center of Reniala reserve, which was founded in 2011. It hosts confiscated animals, prepares them for reintroduction into the wild and thus is the first of its kind all over Madagascar, working close with scientists. Reniala works together with some universities of Madagascar and offers scholarships to students and scientists.
Reniala Reserve is a paradise for birders. As ornithological park, the reserve offers plenty opportunities to discover and watch animals especially for bird lovers. With a little patience you can for example see the Madagascar harrier-hawk (Polyboroides radiatus) or find the sickle-billed vanga (Falculea palliata), the white-headed vanga (Artamella viridisa) and Madagascar buttonquail (Turnix nigricollis), and very rare endemic species, such as the long-tailed ground roller, the subdesert mesite, the red-capped coua in their natural habitat. There are 65 bird species in total within the reserve.
You can also spot mammals including the grey-mouse lemur, one the smallest primates, and some carnivorous. Furthermore, Reniala is home to many reptiles only occurring in Madagascar’s south. A big population of the rare radiated tortoise and the smaller spider tortoise (Astrochelys radiata and Pyxis arachnoides) lives on the sandy ground and shares its territory with many Madagascar iguanas (Chalarodon madagascariensis). In spring, you can find colorful chameleons (Furcifer antimena and verrucosus, less often Furcifer major) in bushes and shrubs and one or another snake (Acantrophis dumerili, Leioheterodon geayi) will perhaps cross the visitors’ path.
Guided nocturnal walks can be organized to meet the smallest mammals of the park: The mouse lemurs (Microcebus murinus and griseorufus), Lepilemur hubbardi.
Guided walks through the botanical trail in the Baobabs forest are organized to make known to a wide public the remarkable forms of trees: Delonix, Pachypodium, Baobabs ("dwarf", "corsage", "hexagon", "rhinoceros", "twins", "giant": more than 13 m of circumference), Givotia, etc., of the biodiversity of the flora Madagascar, the need for its conservation and the interest of research conducted in this direction. During the visit, you stop at the endemic tortoises park of the Malagasy south. We will tell you information about plants and trees, about their Malagasy name and scientific name, the main botanical characteristics and their relations with humans (use in medicine traditional or everyday life). Our guide will also answer your questions about all visible plants on the trail.
The duration of the visit to depends on the interest that you evince to plants and the time you have.
You can rent a simple room at Reniala reserve to stay some nights inside the spiny forest. Located in the forest of Baobabs and Didieracées, the inn “Auberge de trois makis”, accommodates you for moments of calm shared. The calm and relaxing environment of reserve is the guarantee of successful holidays, family atmosphere and a convivial mood...
Private Baobab party for our guests it is an unforgettable moment during journey. Private dinner in the Reniala reserve at the foot of the big millennial baobab at sunset offer you fish-grill, traditional Malagasy dishes, creole and European cuisine.
For those nature lovers who want a more in-depth acquaintance with the spiny forest of the South, we offer a new program: NATURALIST STUDIES SNSpé code - SNC code RENIALA - 2 days.
Watch more photos about Reniala Private Reserve here.