Zahamena National Park

Zahamena National Park is a conservation area of 423 sq kilometres (163.32 sq mi) of a total protected area of 643 sq kilometers (248.26 sq mi) declared in 1997 in Ambatondrazaka District, Alaotra-Mangoro Region, Toamasina Province, Madagascar. In 2001, Bird Life International rated 112 avifauna species in which 67 species are exclusively endemic to Madagascar, while babakoto black lemurs with white patches are very special.

Zahamena National Park in the eastern part of the island of Madagascar is part of Rainforests of the Atsinanana that reflects the island's geological history after completing the separation of all the other landmasses over 60 million years ago where plants and animals evolved separately. Rainforests have ecological and biological systems that create unique biodiversity.

Xvlor Zahamena National Park Zahamena National Park

The park is located on the rugged and bumpy topography of the rock surface in Madagascar's hinterland with a height of 254 meters (833 feet) to 1,560 meters (5,118 feet). This field forms the lowland dividing line and is divided into two zones in the east and west by a corridor with villages. The park consists of many valleys and dried by the Sahatavy River and Sarondrina River, while on the northwest side more streams flow into Lake Alaotra.


Zahamena National Park is home to some of the best rain forests in the African region where diverse altitudes create diverse vegetation types in biodiversity with two of the most prominent endemic flower species being kobila (Marattia boivinii) and fanjana malemy (Blotella coursii).

At least 99% of the park is covered by a forest that is generally canopy trees with a height of 15 meters (49 feet) to 25 meters (82 feet). Trees in the lowlands include Tambourissa, Weinmannia, Diospyros, Ravensara and Dalbergia. Bush areas include Cyatheales ferns, Screw (Lindsaea linearis) and Pandanus.

The dense forest vegetation consists of sclerophyllous montane forests and the slopes include more dense bushes with spices (Impatiens, Begonia) and Polystichum ferns. Other flora reported from the park include 60 species of orchids, 20 species of palm trees, and over 500 species of woody plants.


Zahamena National Park is a habitat for 112 species of birds, 46 species of reptiles, 62 species of amphibians and 48 species of mammals including 13 species of lemurs. Prominent species including Babakoto (Indri indri) are black lemurs with white patches, red owl (Tyto soumagnei) or vorondolomena, katsatsaka (Paroedura masobe) are small gecko, Madagascan serpent eagle (Eutriorchis astur), and red-tailed newtonia (Newtonia fanovanae).

Other reported fauna consist of 45 species of mammals including 13 species of lemurs including diademed sifaka (Propithecus diadema), black-and-white ruffed lemur (Varecia variegata), indri (I. indri), hairy-eared dwarf lemur (Allocebus trichotis) aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis) and greater bamboo lemur (Prolemur simus).

The endemic species in the park are Malagasy primates consisting of five families which are lemurs, seven Rodentia genera and six Carnivora genera. At least 46 species of endemic reptiles include Madagascar tree boa (Sanzinia madagascariensis), 25 other mammalian species and many Chiroptera species. The species of fishes and 62 species of amphibians.


The Bird Life International identified the avian area of 731 kilometers (454.22 mi) in 2001 as home to 112 species with 67 endemic species. Important species include Madagascar serpent eagle (Eutriorchis astur), Madagascar sparrowhawk (Accipiter madagascariensis), Henst's goshawk (Accipiter henstii), Madagascar flufftail (Sarothrura insularis).

Madagascar wood rail (Canirallus kioloides), Madagascar blue pigeon (Alectroenas madagascariensis), red-tailed newtonia (Newtonia fanovanae), Madagascar crested ibis (Lophotibis cristata), crested ibis (Nipponia nippon), brown mesite (Mesitornis unicolor), red-breasted coua (serriana), red-fronted coua (reynaudii), Madagascar red owl (Tyto soumagnei).

Blue coua (Coua caerulea), collared nightjar (Caprimulgus enarratus), velvet asity (Philepitta castanea), sunbird asity (Neodrepanis coruscans), helmet vanga (Euryceros prevostii), yellow-bellied asity (Neodrepanis hypoxantha), short-legged ground roller (Brachypteracias leptosomus), scaly ground roller (Brachypteracias squamiger), pitta-like ground roller (Atelornis pittoides).

Rufous-headed ground roller (Atelornis crossleyi), Bernier's vanga (Oriolia bernieri), Pollen's vanga (Xenopirostris polleni), helmet vanga (Euryceros prevostii), nuthatch vanga (Hypositta corallirostris), dark newtonia (Newtonia amphichroa), red-tailed newtonia (Newtonia fanovanae), Ward's flycatcher (Pseudobias wardi), Crossley's babbler (Mystacornis crossleyi), brown emutail (Bradypterus brunneus).

White-throated oxylabes (Oxylabes madagascariensis), spectacled tetraka (Bernieria zosterops), dusky tetraka (Bernieria tenebrosa), grey-crowned tetraka (Bernieria cinereiceps), cryptic warbler (Cryptosylvicola randrianasoloi), Rand's warbler (Randia pseudozosterops), green jery (Neomixis viridis), wedge-tailed jery (Neomixis flavoviridis), forest rock thrush (Monticola sharpei), nelicourvi weaver (Ploceus nelicourvi), and forest fody (Foudia omissa). Zahamena National Park

Xvlor Zahamena National Park

Location: Ambatondrazaka District, Alaotra-Mangoro Region, Toamasina Province, Madagascar.

Routes and public transport: Flight to Ambatondrazaka Airport in Ambatondrazaka City, then drive to Antanandava Town for 40 kilometers, then to Ankosy for 8 kilometers as the park entrance.

Advice: The administrative office of Zahamena National Park in Antanandava and provides English speaking guides. Entrance fees (October 2014):
  • 1 day: 25,000 Ar per person
  • 2 days: 37,000 Ar per person
  • 3 days: 40,000 Ar per person
  • 4 days: 50,000 Ar per person
  • Malagasy nationals: 1,000 Ar per person per day.
  • Children of any nationality: 200 Ar per child per day.

Ankosy circuit is an adventure through the forest to discover lemurs, birds and natural ponds that end with incredible views over Lake Alaotra. This journey has a 14 kilometer trail and takes a full day, so camping is available next to the pool for overnight.

Bemoara circuit is another journey across the forest that ends in a waterfall as high as 80 meters. The trail is much shorter, but visitors usually camp in the waterfalls to enjoy the great scenery and discover more wildlife.

You can combine both circuits and spend 3 days exploring Zahamena's estate. Some very basic accommodation in the nearby villages of Vavatenina and Ambatondrazaka.