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.
When to visit:
Kirindy is an excelltent wildlife destination year round. However because of very hot weather and swarms of persistent sweat-bees, we don't recommend visiting it in the rainy season (December to March), unless you are an ardent herpetologist.
Menabe Antimena is Madagascar's most endangered protected area. Driven by drought conditions from sub-arid Southern Madgascar, thousands of Southern people have moved to the Menabe region (central-west) and in the space of a few years, village populations have increased dramatically. The forest is under very severe pressure from people torching tracts of it - even in the core zone of the protected area - to clear land for cultivation of maize and peanuts. Crops are planted on these cleared plots for 3 years and then left once the soil is exhausted. This year (2019) has seen forest fires raging in Kirindy even in midwinter (July-August), which is unusual given that the 'burning season' is ordinarily from September to November. NGOs actively trying to help to conserve this absolutely remarkable tropical dry forest, include Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust.