Fort Dauphin’s local “serious” park, Parc National d’Andohahela is a richly varied and mountainous patchwork of three separate districts, or parcelles, in the remote interior. From east to west these are: parcelle I, taking in 630 square kilometres of humid mountain rainforests along the Anosyennes range; parcelle III, a small transitional zone of just 5 square kilometres just to the north of the highway; and finally the 124-square-kilometre arid, spiny forest of parcelle II to the west, in the mountains’ rain shadow. After bandit attacks in the early 2000s, the park was subject to foreign government advisories for a number of years and closed in 2012. Security has improved and the park is open once again, but it is still little visited, and usually only as a day-trip with a Fort Dauphin tour operator as on-the-spot facilities are extremely limited. It is possible to camp if you bring all your supplies.

Wildlife at Andohahela can be a little thin on the ground, though lizards are plentiful enough, and there’s a good chance of seeing ring-tails (Lemur catta) and Verreaux’s sifaka. Hikes include the Tsimelahy trail (roughly 2hr), which passes through the transitional zone between humid and dry forest. You can also hike west of Tsimelahy to the village of Mangatsiaka (8km), which steadily moves out of transition vegetation and into the spiny forest typical of southwest Madagascar.

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