Kirindy Mitea National Park
|Kirindy Mitea is a great, varied, extensive and little visited National Park (722 km²) that lies 90 km south from Morondava and next to Belo-sur-Mer, on the western coast of Madagascar. It is one the “youngest” protected areas of the island (it was established in 1997 and opened to visitors in 2006). It includes a wide diversity of ecosystems and claims the greatest density of primates in the world. Due to its location, just at the point where the western and southern biotopes converge, visitors can explore tropical, dry deciduous (the largest of the island) and littoral spiny forest, coastal mangroves, grassy dunes, lakes, amazing beaches and coral reefs, all during the same day!!|
11 mammal species are found inside the park, including the Verraux sifaka, ring-tailed lemur, red-tailed sportive lemur and pale fork-marked lemur. Amphibians (10 species), reptiles (more than 20) and butterflies (90 species) are quite common.
Apart from that, more than 50 bird species complete the richness of the land fauna. Some of them are very vulnerable such as pink flamingos, Lesser flamingo, Bernier´s teal or Malagasy kingfisher
There are three baobab species, which are unusually frequent, and 7 mangrove species as well.
The marine area includes 7 small islands, where tourist facilities are currently being improved in order to admire the underwater world and create a both terrific land and sea combination.
|Dancing Verraux sifaka © j_fi|
Since the creation of the National Park, several development projects are carried out in order to improve the life quality of the Sakavala communities living within the Park. The Park management tries to replace the slash and burn agriculture with new crops like peas and yams. Some schools and a dam for irrigation are being built thanks to the developing tourism in this beautiful region.
Kirindy Mitea is a place of extreme seasonal changes. Same as in Kirindy Private Reserve, there is a hot rainy season (December to February), when temperatures can reach 40°C. During this short wet season the forest turns green and all the reptiles and amphibians become active. After this life-explosion there are nine months with warm temperature and little rain, when many animals are in hibernation.
At present there is a pair of trails through the Park.
One circuit goes through the majestic sand dunes to the Sirave and Ambondro Lakes. Here you can admire the different types of forests and the huge baobabs, spot waterbirds and reptiles and of course take a bath on one of the wonderful beaches.
Another trail leads through the dry thick forest looking for lemurs, birds and baobabs.
It is also possible to explore the mangroves with a canoe spotting waterbirds and some bats
Huge baobabs grow between sandy plains and spiny forests © Madagascar Travel Guide
If you are travelling by car, the road from Morondava to the
Park is a
secondary one not really bad, depending on the season and the last
rains. It is only practicable during the dry season
Some people prefer to make this transfer from Morondava by motor boat or by canoe. The trip lasts from 3 to 5 hours and it is possible all year round.
Most visitors stay at Belo-sur-Mer,
where there are several beach hotels and bungalows.
Some new accommodations are currently being built in the village of Manahy, where the main Park entrance is.
It is possible to camp inside the Park but you must bring your own equipment.
The Park office is in Morondava. In Belo-sur-Mer there is a small local bureau where you can meet the local guides. If you are lucky, the English speaking one will be around.