Overview – Zombitse-Vohibasia NP

Philip Briggs
Expert
By Philip Briggs

Philip is a renowned Africa expert and author of many guidebooks to African destinations, including the Insight guide to Madagascar.

Philip is a renowned Africa expert and author of the Insight Guide to Madagascar.

Philip is the author of the Insight Guide to Madagascar.

The little-known and rarely visited Zombitse-Vohibasia National Park (Parc National Zombitse-Vohibasia) is of particular interest to birders. It is the best place to see one of Madagascar’s rarest endemics, the localized Appert’s tetraka. The park is most suited to a day visit and there are three trails to choose from. Two very short trails cater to birders specifically and the longest trail, which is only 3km/2mi, offers a better chance to see lemurs and chameleons.

Best Time to Go August to November (Whale migration)
High Season July, August and December (The reserve never gets busy)
Size 368km² / 142mi²

Pros & Cons

  • Excellent birding destination
  • Unique habitat of transitional moist-spiny forest
  • Very accessible on the RN7
  • Easy, flat hiking trails
  • No accommodation in the park and only one option outside park
  • Very short trails, mainly catering to birders

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Wildlife

Lemurs to look out for in the daytime are the red-fronted brown lemur, Verreaux’s sifaka and ring-tailed lemur. There are five lemurs that are active at night, but they are rarely seen as night walks are not permitted. However, the Hubbard’s sportive lemur can sometimes be seen during daytime, resting in the fork of a tree. There are lots of reptiles as well, and of particular interest is the locally endemic Standic day gecko.

Scenery

The park protects three pockets of transitional moist-spiny forest. There are several baobab trees to be seen on the trails, as well as some impressive strangler figs. During the Wet season, you might also see some blooming orchids, including the very localized Spectacular Grammangis.

Weather & Climate

Zombitse-Vohibasia is located in a transition zone between dry and wet forests. There is rarely any rain in the Dry season months from April to October and the average daytime temperature is 29°C/84°F. The Wet season months from November to March are hotter and see more rain, but never a great deal. The average daytime temperature during these months is 33°C/91°F. Nighttime is considerably cooler with temperatures around 17°C/63°F.

Best Time to Visit

Zombitse-Vohibasia National Park can be visited at any time. The park is primarily a birding destination and bird watching tends to be best from October to April (spring and summer). At this time birds are most vocal and are therefore easier to spot. Reptiles and amphibians are also more active during these months. Keep in mind though, December to February tends be hot and humid.

Getting There

Although rarely visited, the national park is very accessible as it straddles the Route National 7 between Toliara and the popular Isalo National Park. It can easily be visited en route between these two destinations. The distance from Toliara is 150km/93mi and 90km/56mi from Isalo National Park. Bird watchers should consider staying the night at Zombitse Ecolodge, the only nearby accommodation, to get to the gate early.

Health & Safety

Please read our vaccinations and malaria page for Madagascar, and our general wildlife viewing safety precautions page for more info:

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Zombitse-Vohibasia NP Safari Reviews

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  • User Rating
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Most Helpful Expert Review
A forest oasis rich in birdlife
3/5

Surrounded on all sides by sweeping grasslands and cleared fields, Zombitse-Vohibasia is an oasis of protection for a surprising number of species. The park’s numbers are easy to state: 72 bird species and eight species of lemur call this...