This is the most popular park within Parc National Andasibe Mantadia. The real draw of this reserve is the rare indri, Madagascar’s largest lemur, whose unforgettable wail can be heard emanating from the misty forest throughout the day, most commonly in the early morning. There are about 60 resident family groups of two to five indris each.
In addition to the indris, you may also see woolly lemurs, grey bamboo lemurs, red-fronted lemurs, black-and-white ruffed lemurs and diademed sifakas (one of the largest lemur species). In 2005 the Goodman’s mouse lemur was discovered here and identified as a distinct species. Eleven species of tenrec, the immense and colourful Parson’s chameleon and seven other chameleon species are also found here. Over 100 bird species have been identified in the park, together with 20 species of amphibian. The park is also home to the endemic palm tree Ravenea louvelii, found nowhere else on the island.
Because the reserve is small, most of it can be covered in short walks, including two small lakes, Lac Vert (Green Lake) and Lac Rouge (Red Lake).
There are four organised walking trails, all of which are generally easy going. The easiest, most popular trail is the Circuit Indri 1 (for four Ar20,000, about two hours), which includes the main lakes and the territory of a single family of indris. The moderate Circuit Indri 2 (for four Ar30,000, three hours) visits the lakes and encompasses the patches of two separate families. The Circuit Aventure (for four Ar40,000, four to six hours) does all of the above, plus some more strenuous walking. Join these circuits together for an 8km trail of about six hours. The Palmier Circuit (2km, one to two hours) is specially designed for children and takes in palms, orchids and two indri families.
The best time for seeing (and hearing) indris is early in the morning, from 7am to 11am. The park tends to fill up from July to October, Madagascar’s tourist high season.