Madagascar has some of the most beautiful and biodiverse sites and offers visitors a chance to see some exceptional wildlife. Madagascar has 5% of the plant and animal species in the world (80% of which are found nowhere else on Earth), and this island is a nature lover’s dream come true.

The island is off the southeastern coast of Africa, the fourth largest island in the world. Its area is 587,000 square kilometers, and its population is around 27 million. The country has a tropical climate, with two seasons: a warm, wet season from November to April; and a cooler, dry season from May to October.

Madagascar is also home to several national parks, which protect its unique ecosystems and species.

Here Are Some Of Our Favourite National Parks In Madagascar

1. Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park

Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park is located in northwestern Madagascar and is known for its unique landscape. The park has massive limestone formations (known as tsingy) that have been eroded over time by wind and rain. The tsingy is a sight to behold, and the park offers several hiking trails that allow visitors to explore them.

Tsingy de Bemaraha is one of the top national parks of Madagascar where you can see lemurs, chameleons, snakes, and other types of wildlife up close. Visitors can explore the park by foot, boat, or 4×4 vehicle.

Baobab tree forest at sunrise - The top national parks of madagascar
Avenue de Baobab, Tsingy de Bemaraha | @unchartedbackpacker

What to do?

Hiking its several trails is the best way to see Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park, and there are different routes for different levels of ability. It has three main trails – all promising breathtaking landscapes and the opportunity to observe the park’s unique flora and fauna. One of them is Anjohimanintsy Trail, a two-day hike that may include overnight camping. It is part of the Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park that will take you through giant limestone cathedrals above ground and visit an underground cave, discovering the area’s rich geology and wildlife.

The park also offers zip-lining, canyoning, and rock climbing for those looking for a more adventurous experience.

2. Isalo National Park

Isalo National Park is located in southern Madagascar and is known for its dramatic sandstone formations. The park’s landscape includes canyons, gorges, and rivers, and its vegetation is mostly plants adapted to the dry climate.

Isalo National Park is home to several species of lemurs, chameleons, lizards, and snakes. The best way to explore the park is to reach several guided hikes on foot.

A man admires a waterfall from the pool below
Discovering hidden waterfalls in Isalo National Park | @robertmichaelpoole

What to do?

There are many different trails available in Isalo National Park that range in difficulty from easy to strenuous. One of the most popular is the Piscine Naturelle Trail, which is a 3.5-kilometer hike that leads to a natural swimming pool at the base of a sandstone cliff. It is decorated with old pandanus trees and offers a refreshing place to take a dip.

For those looking for a more strenuous hike, the Canyon des Singes Trail or “Canyon of the Monkeys” is a 10-kilometer trail that is considered to be one of the most difficult trails, but rewards hikers with multi-coloured canyon walls and the chance to see ring-tailed lemurs.

Another gem of this park is the Portuguese Caver Route. It is a four-day moderate hike going through canyons and gorges to reach a natural cave used as a refuge by the Malagasy people during wars with the neighbouring country of Sakalava. This place will awe you with its magnificent landscape and rare species of plants and animals.

3. Andasibe-Mantadia National Park

Andasibe-Mantadia National Park is located in eastern Madagascar and is known for its flourishing rainforests. The park includes two separate reserves: the Analamazaotra Reserve and the Mantadia Reserve.

The Analamazaotra Reserve is where you can naturally find Madagascar’s largest lemur, the Indri, and 11 other species of lemurs. The Mantadia Reserve dwells several rare birds, including the Madagascar Pochard and the Pitta-like Ground Roller.

A lemur mother and baby clutching a tree - The top national parks of Madagascar
Lemur mother and baby in Andasibe-Mantadia National Park | @pattyn,david

What to do?

The Andasibe-Mantadia National Park has remarkable waterfalls, including the sacred Vakona Forest Lodge Waterfall and the breathtaking Andasibe Waterfall, the tallest in the park.

However, the best way to experience Andasibe-Mantadia National Park is by going on a night walk. This is when most of the lemurs are active, and you might even see species that are only active at night such as the Aye-Aye, the world’s largest nocturnal primate.