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Berenty Private Reserve

Map Berenty Berenty Reserve lies 90 km western from Fort Dauphin and is a small private reserve set in the semi-arid spiny forest of the middle of what used to be spiny forest, but is now largely a sea of sisal fields. The reserve was created 70 years ago by the de Heaulme family as a private park to protect 250 hectares encompassing spiny forest and dry tamarind gallery woodland along the Mandrare river. The reserve is home to six species of lemur and the south’s largest colony of Madagascar fruit bats. The easiness to observe sauntering ring-tailed lemurs and ‘dancing’ Verreaux sifakas has turned this small protected area into one of the prime Madagascar’s primary destinations. 

The arboretum near the Berenty restaurant contains a collection of the extraordinary flora of the spiny forest. In the area you will also find an ethnological interesting museum, which depicts the life of the local tribe, the Antandroy, as well as a re-built Antandroy village.

Verreaux sifaka
      Verreaux sifakas move jumping from one branch to another © Gail Johnson

Berenty can be visited all year round. It has cold, dry winters and hot summers (November to February), when temperatures can exceed 40°C and heavy thunderstorms can occur. Ringtails generally give birth in September/October, at the end of the dry season, enabling them to wean their young in February/March, the season of abundance. Be aware that around 8000 people visit Berenty each year, so if you are planning to come here, plan your visit well in advance.

The large amounts of visitors and the very much habituated lemurs have unfortunately added naturalness to the “wild” setting of the reserve and imprinted it with a “zoo” character. However, walking on your own through the network of broad, well-maintained paths is, even despite the high admission prices, still a rewarding wildlife experience. By day, you will see the stars of the reserve, its numerous ring-tailed lemurs and Verreaux sifakas, as well as some red fronted brown lemurs, which were introduced to Berenty. At night, look for white-footed sportive lemur, Grey mouse lemur, the newly recognised red-and-grey mouse lemur. 
Walking through the reserve will also grant you the opportunity of seeing some of the 103 bird species, 56 of whom breed here, and observe many prolific reptiles (various chameleons species, lizards, the endangered radiated and spider tortoises and the Madagascar boa).

ring-tailed lemur
  Ring-tailed lemur by daily sunbathing   © Gail Johnson

If you stay overnight, there is no other choice than the Heaulme family’s company (SHTM) owned Berenty Lodge. Transfers between Fort Dauphin and Berenty undergo also the monopoly of the same company. For further information enquire at the hotels Le Dauphin, La Croix du Sud, Vinanibe Lodge or Le Miramar in Fort Dauphin. Transfers are expensive, as the reserve also is.