Réserve Privée de Berenty

Nature Reserve in The Cape

This well-known private reserve contains nearly one-third of the remaining tamarind gallery forest in Madagascar, nestled between the arms of a former oxbow lake on the Mandrare River. It was one of Madagascar’s first ecotourism destinations, its international reputation once drew nearly 8000 yearly visitors, helped by the friendly ring-tailed lemurs that greet you in the parking lot. Visitors can walk forest paths unguided in search of other lemurs. There is also an excellent anthropological museum that provides unique insights into local Antandroy culture.

Times have changed, however. The worsening road from Fort Dauphin now means that half of a day’s excursion is spent driving, leading 80% of visitors to stay overnight. Meanwhile, a similar reserve has opened in Fort Dauphin, Réserve de Nahampoana, while much of the wildlife here can be seen at other parks. The facilities too feel dated, giving it a sense of a reserve slowly becoming its own museum.

For many years Berenty would not allow admission unless you bought an expensive transfer from their own agent in Fort Dauphin. They have since widened their net to three locations: Chez Gigi in Lavanono, Croix Sud in Fort Dauphin and Hotel Capricorn in Tuléar. Still, why not simply sell tickets at the entrance?