Ankarana Reserve

Welcome to the enchanting Ankarana Reserve in Madagascar, a natural wonderland that beckons with its unique landscapes and rich biodiversity. Nestled in the northern part of the island, Ankarana Reserve is situated within the Ankarana Massif. This captivating reserve, easily accessible from the town of Ambanja, is renowned for its extraordinary limestone formations, including striking tsingy (karst formations) and deep canyons.

As one of Madagascar’s protected areas, Ankarana is a haven for diverse flora and fauna, offering a glimpse into the island’s endemic species. From lemurs to chameleons, and a myriad of vibrant bird species, Ankarana Reserve promises an immersive adventure into the heart of Madagascar’s natural wonders.

Nestled in the captivating landscapes of Madagascar, Ankarana Reserve is a breathtaking nature reserve that enchants visitors with its remarkable biodiversity and awe-inspiring geological formations. Established in 1956, this protected area spans approximately 182.5 square miles (473 square kilometers) and is bordered by lush forests, winding rivers, and limestone cliffs.

Physical Description

Ankarana Reserve in Madagascar captivates visitors with its distinctive physical features, creating a mesmerizing landscape. Dominated by dramatic limestone formations known as tsingy, the reserve showcases towering needle-like peaks and jagged karst landscapes. These unique structures, shaped by erosion over time, create a surreal and otherworldly environment.

Deep canyons and underground rivers add to the allure, offering a mix of subterranean wonders and surface-level marvels. The reserve’s terrain is also adorned with lush forests, serving as a habitat for a variety of plant and animal species. With its combination of striking geological formations and diverse ecosystems, Ankarana Reserve stands as a testament to the natural beauty and geological wonders found in Madagascar.

Highlights of Ankarana Reserve

Among the highlights of Ankarana Reserve, the towering Mount Mahavavy stands out as a magnificent sight. Rising 1,129 feet (344 meters) above the surrounding plains, it offers breathtaking panoramic views of the reserve and its surrounding natural wonders. The crystal-clear pools of Ampondrabe and the enchanting Ambatoharanana Waterfall further add to the reserve’s allure, providing opportunities for peaceful contemplation and refreshing dips.

Wildlife Opportunities in Ankarana Reserve

Ankarana Reserve in Madagascar teems with a diverse array of wildlife, offering an immersive encounter with the island’s unique ecosystems. The reserve is home to various lemurs, including the crowned lemur and Sanford’s brown lemur, captivating visitors with their playful antics in the lush forests. Chameleons showcase their remarkable ability to blend into their surroundings, adding to the rich biodiversity. The reserve is a haven for bird enthusiasts, featuring endemic species like the Madagascar fish eagle and crested ibis.

Ankarana is also known for its reptilian inhabitants, with Nile crocodiles dwelling in the rivers and caves. The striking fossa, a carnivorous mammal endemic to Madagascar, prowls through the reserve’s diverse landscapes. With its extraordinary mix of flora and fauna, Ankarana Reserve promises an unforgettable journey into the heart of Madagascar’s natural wonders.

Engaging Activities

Amidst Nature’s Splendor Ankarana Reserve presents a myriad of activities for nature enthusiasts to immerse themselves in its enchanting surroundings. One of the most popular activities is hiking, allowing visitors to navigate the trails and delve into the heart of the reserve’s diverse ecosystems. Marvel at the intricate limestone formations, explore hidden caves and witness the wonders of the lush forests along the way.

For those seeking a more adventurous experience, rock climbing is a thrilling option. The limestone cliffs provide an ideal playground for climbers, offering challenges and breathtaking views at every ascent. Whether you’re a seasoned climber or a beginner, the unique geological features of Ankarana Reserve will undoubtedly leave you in awe.

Conservation Commitment

Conservation Ankarana Reserve plays a vital role in the conservation of Madagascar’s unique biodiversity, providing a refuge for numerous endangered species. One such species is the crowned lemur, whose population has significantly declined due to habitat loss and illegal hunting. By protecting their natural habitat within the reserve, conservation efforts aim to safeguard these remarkable creatures and ensure their survival for future generations.

Furthermore, the reserve’s conservation initiatives extend beyond mammals and reptiles. The protection of bird species, such as the critically endangered Madagascar fish eagle and the vulnerable Madagascar crested ibis, is of utmost importance to maintain the delicate balance of the region’s ecosystems. By preserving Ankarana Reserve, we can contribute to the preservation of Madagascar’s natural heritage and support the ongoing efforts to protect these remarkable creatures.


Travelers should explore Ankarana Reserve for an unparalleled adventure into Madagascar’s unique and captivating natural wonders. The reserve’s standout feature is its breathtaking limestone formations, creating an otherworldly landscape of towering tsingy and deep canyons. This is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts, offering encounters with lemurs, chameleons, and rare bird species amidst lush forests. Ankarana’s underground rivers and caves add an extra layer of exploration, revealing the mysteries of the island’s geological wonders.

With its diverse ecosystems and endemic species, Ankarana Reserve provides a rare opportunity to witness the remarkable biodiversity that defines Madagascar. Whether trekking through the surreal karst landscapes or marveling at the rich wildlife, a visit to Ankarana promises an unforgettable journey into the heart of one of the world’s most unique and captivating environments.