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Madagascar is an Island that is located in the Indian Ocean East of the East African coast and it is the only country in the world that does not have the big five animals like other African countries. The country has a lot of National parks and today we are going to look at the Zombitse-Vohibasia National Park which is neighbouring the famous Isalo National Park.
Zombitse-Vohibasia National park is located in the south Western part of Madagascar. The park was created in 1997 and it became one of the many preferred destinations in Madagascar. It is the Park can easily be accessed all throughout the year depending on whatever you want to do when you visit the Park. Although the Park was established in 1997, the area had been protected and gazette for wildlife conservation since 1962.
The name Zombitse-Vohibasia is derived from the three reserved areas that are located within the park. Vohibasia means the hill of pistols and it is filled with savannah grasslands. The name hill of pistols came about due t the constant fighting between the Merina people who lived in the central highlands and the people who used to live in the south many years ago.
Zombitse means dense forest and it came about because of the dense forests that are found in the area most of which always become dry during the dry season.
The Zombitse-Vohibasia National Park is divided into three parts and these are the Vohimena, the Zombitse and the Vohibasia and all these three sections make up the whole Zombitse-Vohibasia National Park. It covers over 36.3 kilometres and is filled with savannah and dry grasslands which act as habitants to the wild animals that live in the area.
The park is also found in the same area as the Isalo National park and it is serviced by the Onilahy and the Mangoky Rivers. There are various trails that can be used to gain access into the park and all these can be used when one wants to enter into the Park.
The cultural trip to Zombitse National Park
There are also three different ethnic groups that live near the Zombitse-Vohibasia and these are believed to have been living in the area for many years. These groups include the Mahafaly, the Bara and the Antandroy and these are known pastoralists who rear the Zebu cattle.
When you visit the Park, you will be able to see the different cultural practices that are done by the locals and see the beautiful decorations that are done by them like the coloured graves which are done by the Mahafaly, paintings of stones and the zebu horns. You can also get some souvenirs from the locals like beads, decorated horns and many more. Get to know more about the cultural norms that are practiced by the locals and enjoy the local food that is prepared by them and enjoy the evening stories that are told by the elders around a camp fire.
The Flora and fauna in the Park
The Zombitse National park is commonly known for the unique flora and fauna that is found in the park. Most of these plants and animals cannot be found anywhere else in the world especially the bird species and below are some of examples of the flora and fauna.
Birding in Zombitse- Vohibasia
The park is known for the large number of birds that are habitate from there. If you are a fun of birding, this is the best place to see since the Park has almost half the number of registered endemic birds in the country. Some of the bird species that can be found in the park includes the Lantz’s brush-warbler, the Madagascar hawk owl, the Vangas, Kittliz’s plovers the Madagascar sandgrouse, the Appert’s greenbul which can only be seen here and many more other bird species. The park has almost ninety different species and the best time to see all these bird species is in the morning because this is the only time that the birds will be up and about and can easily be seen unlike in the afternoons and evenings.
The wild life in Zombitse-Vohibasia
The National park has a lot of wildlife that varies from each other and all these are recorded with the national park. Some of these include two carnivores, 33 reptiles, 15 mammals, eight amphibians and 95 registered birds in the Park.
Like any other Park in Madagascar, the Zombitse-Vohibasia does not have any predatory animals unlike other countries in Africa but there are a variety of wild life that is found in the Park and most of them are endemic to the Madagascan Island. The island is filled with a large number of butterflies which makes it a colourful place to visit as the place. The different species of butterflies are attracted to the Park due to the presence of the mineral soils that are found in the area.
Some of the other wildlife that is found in the Park include geckos that come in different colours, the Madagascar Iguanas, there are seven species of lemurs some of which include the Zombitse sportive lemur, western fork- marked lemur and others that can be seen jumping from one tree to the next in the dry forest and other reptiles.
Most of the animals that are found in the Park are not poisonous but you should still be vigilant where you pass so that they don’t bite you never the less.
The plants in Zombitse-Vohibasia
The Fauna found in the area is quite unique and it fills the whole park. It is filled with baobab tree that cover up most of the park and the savannah vegetation which covers the other half. The park also has the Didiraceae, orchid trees and the pachypods some of which are sometimes used as medicine by the local people.
The Infrastructure leading to the Park
When it comes to infrastructure, we are going to look at the transportation and accommodation facilities so that you know what to expect when it comes to visiting the Zombitse Park.
The transport means that are commonly used by both the locals and tourists are road and water transport although road transportation is the most frequently used even for shorter distances. There are some places whish cannot easily be accessed by road and therefore you will need a boat to transport you to your final destination.
The park is located along one of the most visited areas of the country but like any other road in Madagascar, the ride along the roads leading to the park is not as smooth as one expects it to be. The roads are so bumpy and terrible to drive on and that is why it is advisable for one to hire a driver who is well equipped with driving on the roads. And not forgetting even if the distance to the park is not long, it will seem so due to the bad roads.
When it comes to accommodation facilities within the camp, there is nothing there besides some toilets of which they are so old and not well catered for and that is why it is advisable for one to get accommodation outside the park.
Most of the accommodation facilities that are found in the area are just a few minutes away from the park and they are better than those found within the Park.
There is a campsite that is located outside the Park and it is only eight kilometres away from the park while others are located in the next town although they are also just thirty minutes away from the Park.
When you get to the town you will be able to get accommodation facilities that fit into your budget and your needs and therefore you should book early with us so that we help you with all the necessary preparations needed so that you have a comfortable stay as you enjoy the Zombitse- Vohibasia National Park.
The National Park has been encroached on mostly by the locals even though it is illegal. They normally clear and burn the forests so as to create space where they will rear their Zebu cattle from. They also clear the land so that they can plant their rice and this has created a big threat to the endemic wildlife that is found in the Park.
When you visit the Park, there are four trips that are offered around the Park and these can take one hour to five hours and these are offered to mostly a group of six people for each trip. The groups are known as circuits and the smaller the group, the better because it gives you ample time to explore the whole park and get to know the different animals that are in the park.
The whole group pays a little sum of money to the guides who take you through the Park and make sure that you do not miss out on anything.