Ankarafantsika National Park
Ankarafantsika National Park is largely a dense dry forested eco-system crisscrossed by a series of water streams, lakes and other habitats for major endemic Madagascar fauna. The park occupies an estimated 13500sq km in the region of Boina. It is bordered by Mahajamba River in the east and River Betsiboka in the west.
More than 820 species of plants are found in the dry forest of which 70% are endemic to Madagascar and almost 0.9 of trees in the park are woody species.
Some of the notable species in the park include the Mpanjakabenitany-an endemic bush 15m high with deeply pierced flutings bearing fruits in September and May. Katrafay Malagasy (Cedrelopsis grevei) tree measures 5 to 22m high with a rough brownish peeling. Its wood is yellow and hard often used for aesthetics and construction purposes. The tree blooms in September to December. Other important trees in the forest park include Sakoanala and Lohavato trees.
This Madagascar National park is located in north western region- 450 km from Antananarivo and 115 km from Mahajanga. The National Road N°4 crosses through the park.
Like other parts of Madagascar, Ankarafantsika National Park is home to lemurs and many other species of plants. Eight species of lemurs are recorded in Ankarafantsika: one strict diurnal species, two cathemeral species, five typically nocturnal species of which the famous Microcebus, the smallest in the world.
More than 120 species of birds live in the forest of Ankarafantsika. More than 70 of the birds in the park are endemic to the forests and lake shores. Examples of the birds in the park include the Rufous vanga Schetba rufa which is an endemic bird, Madagascar fish eagle which considered critically endangered species of raptors and the Van Dam Vanga-a rare species of threatened vanga. The best time to go birding in Madagascar is during the rainy season. Lake Ravelobe near the npark entrance is a breeding ground for fish eagles and other water birds in Madagascar. Other birds in the park include the banded Kestrel.
Camping is allowed in the park although visitors are encouraged to carry private camping equipment, tents, food, supplies and other material. Warm blankets are recommended for nights while a flash light or torch is needed for nocturnal tours in the forest.