The Menabe Antimena Protected area is famed for its gigantic Grandidier’s baobabs – as well as two of Madagascar’s other endemic baobab species, (Adansonia rubrostipa and the large southern species A. za). The fascinating Kirindy Forest, comprises 10,000 hectares of dry deciduous forest on flat, sandy terrain.
The forest is a 2 hour drive along a variable road to the north of Morondava and along the way, visitors pass through the spectacular Alley of Giant Baobabs, national monument. The nearby Marofandila forest (20 minutes drive away, close to Avenue of Baobabs) is where the NGO FANAMBY has the much enjoyed Camp Amoureux. Closer to Kirindy itself, is the Relais du Kirindy.
Wildlife watching is most rewarding from September to November. It is the best site in which to seek the fosa (fossa), Madagascar’s largest predator, as a few individuals are well habituated and frequent the area around the researchers' campsite where they scrounge for scraps of food at the rubbish dump. Kirindy is the only place where this formidable carnivore can be seen year-round, even in broad daylight.
Lucky visitors may also see the criticaly endangered Giant jumping rat, largest of Madagascar's endemic rodents and one of the subjects of a very successful captive-breeding programme by the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust. Another interesting diurnal mammal best sought here is the amimated Narrow-striped mongoose. Lemurs to be seen by day include inquisitive groups of Red-fronted brown lemurs (see photo) and higher up, the acrobatic Verreaux's sifaka.
In spring and early summer, nocturnal walks can be rewarding and Kirindy’s world record in terms of primate density is largely thanks to its extensive variety of nocturnal lemurs including the smallest of all primates, Madame Berthe’s mouse lemur. Other nocturnal lemurs found here include Red-tailed Sportive lemur, Pale fork-marked lemur, Fat-tailed dwarf lemur (in summer) and two Mouse lemurs (Gray and Madame Berthe's mouse lemurs).
Many of the birds unique to western Madagascar’s dry forests can be seen at this forest. Highlights include White-breasted mesite, Giant, Coquerel's and Crested couas, Greater and Lesser vasa parrots and a variety of Vangas, from the large and noisy Sicklebill vanga to the tiny Chabert's vanga.
Resident reptiles include the enormous Oustalet’s chameleon; the very interesting Labord's chameleon, Collared iguanids and snakes such as Giant hog-nosed snake.
Read more about Kirindy Forest