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Helen Kennedy
Helen Kennedy Africa Travel Specialist
"You can’t help but be enchanted by the amazing wildlife – from the 'dancing' Sifaka (lemurs) to a plethora of chameleons, some measuring 2 feet in length and others as small as your fingernail."

Berenty Private Reserve Holidays

Berenty Private Reserve is the easiest place to see Ringtail lemurs and ‘dancing’ Verreaux sifakas in a natural setting and, consequently, probably the island's best known nature reserve. Created some 80 years ago by the de Heaulme family, which still owns and runs it, Berenty Reserve is a small area of Tamarind woodland and spiny bush in the middle of a sea of sisal fields. Dr. Alison Jolly’s Lords and Lemurs is a vivid account of the creation of Berenty and relations between the de Heaulmes and post-colonial Madagascar.


West of the Ranopis Mountains, which mark the transition zone between the semi-arid southern domain and the permanently humid eastern domain, Berenty is a small reserve on the banks of the Mandrare River. Its roughly 257 hectares encompass spiny forest and, closer to the river, dry Tamarind gallery woodland. Due to its floral composition, the spiny forest at Berenty looks quite different from that at Ifaty. The arboretum near the Berenty restaurant contains a collection of the extraordinary flora of the spiny forest, all identified, and may enrich your exploration of this threatened habitat.

There is a network of broad, well-maintained trails along which independent exploration is permitted.


By day, you will see numerous Ringtail lemurs and Verreaux' sifakas, as well as some hybrid Brown lemurs, which were introduced to Berenty. At night, look for White-footed sportive lemur, Grey mouse lemur, the newly recognised Red-and-grey mouse lemur, and Common and Lesser hedgehog tenrecs.

Reptiles are prolific, including Warty and Jewell chameleons, various skinks and lizards and snakes such as the Madagascar ground boa. The critically endangered Madagascar radiated tortoise, Geochelone radiata, and the Spider tortoise, Pyxis arachnoides, are both found in the reserve and in enclosures. The latter were rescued from markets or bred in captivity. Remember that all endemic Malagasy tortoises are threatened by the illegal trade in reptiles.


Birding is good and around 100 bird species have been recorded at Berenty. Among the most sought-after resident species are Madagascar cuckoo-hawk, the stately Giant coua, Crested coua, White-browed owl, Sicklebill, Hook-billed and Chabert's vangas, Common newtonia and Madagascar mannikin.

When to go

Berenty can be visited year round. It has cold, dry winters and hot summers (Nov– Feb), when temperatures can exceed 40°C and heavy thunderstorms can occur. Ringtails generally give birth in Sept/Oct, at the end of the dry season, enabling them to wean their young in February/March, the season of abundance.

You should be aware that around 8,000 people visit Berenty each year and it is an obligatory stop on virtually every package tour. If you wish to spend more than a night at Berenty, plan your trip well in advance.


Berenty is west of Fort Dauphin, about 4 - 5 hours’ journey along a deteriorating road. You will know you are close to Berenty when you arrive at the monotonous sisal plantations surrounding the reserve, redeemed only by some splendid specimens of the large baobab, Adansonia Za.

Read more about Berenty Private Reserve

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Wildlife of Madagascar
  • Wildlife
From £4665 per person
14 day holiday
Flights included
See the full trip
On this private guided tour which can be adapted to suit your specific interests, you visit four of the most wildlife-rich forests of Madagascar: Andasibe (Analamazaotra aka 'Perinet') and the nearby Mantadia National Park in the humid eastern rainforest band, Kirindy and Marofandilia Forests in highly threatened tropical dry deciduous forests of the western lowlands and Berenty Private Reserve in the arid south. The sequence of protected areas can be slotted according to lodge availability: currently we strongly recommend ending the tour at Andasibe-Mantadia as no domestic flights are involved in reaching this park.
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