In 2002, two parks bisected by the NR 4 highway in the Boina region of Madagascar were combined into what is now known as Ankarafantsika National Park. Spread on a surface of almost 1,350 km², Ankarafantsika’s dense, dry forests and numerous lakes are the sanctuary of various highly endemic flora and fauna. The park is closest to the city of Majunga (115 km or 0.62 miles north) and offers a stunning vista of thick forests, marshes with raffia and savanna.
Ankarafantsika National Park derived its name from the word “garafantsy” meaning “mountain of thorns.” Although the park only used to spark terror among locals, Ankarafantsika is now known as a place of delight and adventure because of its natural ecological wealth.
Ankarafantsika is the last refuge of the golden-brown mouse lemur and the greater big-footed mouse (Macrotarsomys ingens) which does not occur anywhere else. Daytrips around the park are made exciting by the delightful coquerel’s sifaka and various species of geckos and chameleons including the rare horned chameleon and dwarf chameleon. Birders and botanists will also rave at the sheer diversity of birds and plant life in the park. Highlights include bird species such as the Madagascar fish eagle, Van Dam’s Vanga, Rufous Vanga and banded krestel and plant species such as the Cedrelopsis grevei, Lohavato and baobabs.
Night walks around Ankarafantsika are very rewarding with the presence of nocturnal mammals, reptiles and birds. Evenings in the park serve the perfect opportunity to spot the grey mouse lemur, Milne-Edwards's sportive lemur and Western fat-tailed dwarf lemur. Other fascinating attractions include the small duck of Madagascar and the Madagascar nightjar.
There are various lodging options inside and around the premises of Ankarafantsika National Park – camping sites, bungalows and hotels. Visitors can also choose the difficulty, nature and length of their trips from the different tours or circuits available in the park.
Roads leading to the park are generally in good condition and are accessible anytime of the year. The hot and dry period runs from April through November, and is followed by a wet season. The temperature falls from 24°C - 29°C (71.6 ºF - 84.2 ºF), and in April-October, it can be extremely hot. Sun protection and light clothes are generally recommended to visitors.