Ranomafana appears after a fantastic entrance through a dry rocky valley, and after a long day’s travel, it feels like you've reached a mysterious island. The air is fresh and cool and the forest, with all of its strange sounds, alluring. Created in 1991 to largely protect two rare species of lemur – the golden bamboo lemur and the greater bamboo lemur – the park contains 400 sq km of oddly shaped rolling hills carpeted in jungle and fed by rushing streams.
Parc National de Ranomafana is known for its diverse wildlife, although some of it is quite elusive. There are 29 mammal species, including 12 species of lemur. On a typical day’s walk, you are likely to see between three and five species, including the famed golden bamboo lemur (Ranomafana is one of its two known habitats – a handful of individuals are now well-accustomed to the presence of visitors).
The forest abounds with reptiles and amphibians, and the birdlife is exceptional, with more than 100 species, of which 68 are endemic to Madagascar. Although most visitors come for the animals, the plant life is just as impressive, with orchids, tree ferns, palms, mosses and stands of giant bamboo.
The gateway town for the park is Ranomafana, which is 6km east of the park entrance on the RN25.