Madagascar Anja Nature Reserve, shorted Anja Park, is a forest area and a freshwater lake located under large cliffs. Anja is dominated by boulders, but there are also two small caves that provide a habitat for bats and owls.
The reserve was established with the help of the UNDP (United Nations Development Program) in 2001, with the intention to help preserve the local environment and wild animals. During those times, half of the original forest was already destroyed due to extensive cutting and burning of the trees. The reserve is entirely an initiative of the local community and is extremely successful, as it has created jobs and income for local residents.
Anja Nature Reserve Madagascar starting point
Most travelers only visit Anja Park for a short visit, which is usually a couple of hours. We think you should spend at least one day (sleep at least one night, if not two) in this part of the country. The starting point for visiting Anja Park is the cute town of Ambalavao, which lies in the middle of a beautiful mountainous landscape at 1,500 m above sea level.
We stayed two nights in Ambalavao. The first evening we walked around the city and received attention from all directions, and the next morning we visited Anja Park. Ambalavao is famous for being the largest zebu market in the country. We didn’t manage to visit it, but it is well worth a visit. If you like that kind of thing, of course.
A visit to Anja Park
Anja Park is located 12 km south of Ambalavao, the park is managed by the local community, the Betsileo tribe. This beautiful little reserve covers only 370,000 m2. Beautiful rocks rise above the park, which immediately took our breath away. The lower part of the park is mainly overgrown with trees, the higher we go, the rockier it becomes. The park is best known for ring-tailed lemurs, which we all know from the cartoon Madagascar. If you go there in the morning there is a high probability that you will see them. We saw them just during feeding, after which they went to rest (siesta). In the park, you can also see chameleons, rare birds, interesting plants…
Visitors must be accompanied by a local guide throughout the visit. You can choose between different routes to visit. With the shortest one, just walk through the forest, where you will have the opportunity to see lemurs, reptiles, and various birds. On the longest route, you climb the cliff, from which you have wonderful views of the surroundings. The entire hike takes 4-6 hours.
The entrance fee to the park is 20,000 MGA (€4.2) per person. The price of the guide depends on the tour you will take. For easier transparency, the official price list of Anja Park is attached. If you decide to do the longest tour (which we highly recommend!), start very early, and don’t forget a hat, sunscreen, and plenty of water. The sun is very strong. It will be hot.
When we arrived at our hotel, a very friendly guide was already waiting for us at the reception. He offered us a tour, but we didn’t decide on it because of the price. If we had trusted him, we would have paid 80,000 MGA (€16.8) too much, which is not a small amount of money for Madagascar. We found out that, unfortunately, this is a regular practice in Madagascar. Those who don’t know the prices trust the guide who pounces on tourists as soon as they enter the hotel and then overpay for the service. We recommend that you always hire a guide at the entrance to the park you want to visit. We recommend the guide, Daniel!
Anja Nature Reserve Madagascar – one of the highlights of our trip
The park itself is quite small but very interesting. Or says that this was his top experience of the entire trip. We had a great time, besides cute lemurs we also saw chameleons, birds, and rare plants. In addition to everything, we had a lot of fun with our guide Daniel, and this day will stay in our memories forever.