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Kirindy Private Reserve

Map Kirindy Reserve

Kirindy, 50 km northeast of the town of Morondava, is a privately managed forest by a Swiss company dedicated to a selective and sustainable logging (Centre de Formation Professionelle Forestière). It comprises one of the most outstanding and threatened wildlife habitats in Madagascar: the dry deciduous forest, whose extension has been reduced to 3 per cent of their original extent. Dominated by majestic baobab trees and a forest canopy of even 14 m altitude, this protected area of approximate 100 square kilometres is the only place where the world's smallest known primate, the giant jumping rat, occurs. This animal can hop like a miniature kangaroo, but is also seen walking on all four limbs. The Sakavala people living here are mainly proud zebu holders.
Kirindy is the best place in the whole island to observe fossas, specially during the mating time between October and December. It also home to seven species of lemur. The most common are the common brown lemurs and the Verreaux's sifakas. These long-legged, seven-pound lemurs, white with dark patches, leap among tree trunks high in the canopy, propelled by their powerful hind legs but continually maintaining an upright posture. The remaining species are nocturnal: the rare Coquerel's giant mouse lemur and pygmy mouse-lemur, fork-crowned lemur, Gray mouse lemur, western fat-tailed dwarf lemur and red-tailed sportive lemur. Several bats, tenrecs, mongooses  and rodents complete the mammal population.
40 bird, 50 reptile and 15 amphibian species are also found in this magnificent forest.
grey mouse lemur
 The grey mouse lemur is the biggest
 of
all nocturnal lemurs
 
© Madagascar Travel Guide 

The flora is also quite unusual and contains several locally endemic plant species. The two species of baobabs of Kirindy reach here simply unbelievable sizes. Baobabs are believed to be sacred by the locals. A local tradition says that baobabs were the first trees that the gods planted. Due to the gods inexperience they planted them upside down, which justifies the bizarre look of these amazing trees.

There is a good network of paths in the reserve and the staff will help you with your explorations. The night-walk is a highlight to every visit to this area. Visitors can spot nocturnal lemurs, fossas, the giant jumping rat, reptiles, frogs and rare insects.

There are two differentiated seasons in this part of the island. The rainy season is very hot (up to 40°) and lasts from December to March. Due to the rain Kirindy is often not accessible during the last part of the rainy season and it can be closed depending on the amount of rain. The best time to visit the Reserve is at the beginning of the rainy season, since the forest is green, all the animals are active and the road is still “Ok”. The bad point is that it can be crowded during this life explosion.
The rest of the year (end of March until the beginning of January) temperatures are milder (25° to 15°) and it rains almost nothing. During this long dry season the forest is leafless and many reptiles and small mammals hibernate.

Fossa
The fossa, the largest predator of Madagascar   © Madagascar Travel Guide 

Kirindy Reserve is only a two-hours drive from Morondava with a jeep. This makes it an ideal one-day- trip, which most visitors actually do. Nevertheless, if you do not stay overnight you miss the very rewarding night walk.
There is a daily taxi-brousse from Morondava to Belo-sur-Tsiribihina which takes around 4 hours and drops you at the main road, a pair of km from the reserve entrance.

In recent years visitor facilities have improved. At the Reserve entrance there is a small office and a restaurant serving local dishes. There are also several bungalows with mosquito nets, shared or private facilities, shower and even electricity during a couple of hours a day (40,000 to 52,000 Ar) and a cheaper dormitory with communal facilities.
Camping is no longer possible since there have been some fossa attacks recently.

Entry fee is 20,000 Ar a day per person. The guide during the walks costs 12,000 Ar per hour, and 20,000 Ar for the night walk.