I’m starting a series of posts about parks and locations I’ve been to in Madagascar.
Why Visit: Anja Park was established in 1999 and run by the community instead of being a national park. The park is approximately 75 acres and has one of high population densities of ringtail lemurs in the country. The park also have beautiful granite peaks and amazing views of the surrounds hills and countryside. There are a variety of chameleons, birds and other insects and if you are lucky you might spot a crocodile in the park’s lake.
Where is it: Anja Park is located 12 km south of Ambalavao, about 60 km south of Fianarantsoa.
Getting There: The park is about 400 km south to the capital. It takes a full day to drive from the capital to Finaranatsoa or Ambalavao. If you are staying in Ambalavao you can arrange a guide there who will take you on a brousse to the park and back. If you have a private car you can either go from Fianarantsoa or Amabalavao and set up your guide in Ambalavao or once you get to the park. I also know a couple who just showed up at the park entrench on their own after taking a taxi from Ambalavao. The road from Fianarantsoa is one of the best in the country.
Cost: The cost for those living in Madagascar is 5,000 ariary (ar). The price for visitors is 10,000 ar, but on my resident pass it did also say it was for students so be sure to ask if that discount is available to you. You will also need a guide. Guide fees are standard and increase depending on how long you plan to spend in the park. They guide fee can be spilt for up to 4 people. When we went we picked the longest hike and the total guide fee was about 100,000 ar. You can find guides who speak French, English, or Malagasy.
When to go: To avoid the rainy season the best time to go is between May and November, but be aware that the highlands are chilly during that time and can be downright cold at night. We went during January and didn’t have any problems, but it was also a drought year. The sun is also strong year round in this part of the country so be sure to stock up on sunscreen!
Time and Trails: There are a number of hikes to choose from, but the entire park can easily be seen in one day. If you are mostly interesting in lemurs and not the best hiker the shortest hike is only an hour or two on mainly flat ground and full of lemurs. The longer hikes take you up into the mountains to see more animals, amazing views, and Betsileo burial sites. The trails aren’t what you think of when you think of hiking trails in the States so you might want to be a little more cautious than normal, but overall the long hike is only moderately difficult. If you go on the longer hike expect it to take 4-6 hours. Food in permitted in the park, just make sure not to feed the lemurs or leave any trash behind.