If you're travelling on the RN7 between Isalo National Park and Toliara, do make sure you make time to stop at Zombitse-Vohibasia National Park. It is a small park and only takes about an hour or so to get around but is well worth the visit and a great way to break up the journey. Being located on the RN7, it is also very accessible; just pull over on the side of the road by the sign and a guide will greet you and show you around. However, most visitors don't actually realise that it's there and drive on by, missing the fantastic flora and fauna here.
Zombitse-Vohibasia National Park is composed of three separate areas and split into two halves either side of the road. It represents a transition between the great limestone massifs of Isalo Natinonal Park and the dry spiny forest to the south. Compared to some of the other more well-known national parks in the country, it is fairly quiet and we hardly saw any other tourists during our visit.
Verreaux's sifaka at Zombitse-Vohibasia National Park, Madagascar
Oustalets's chameleon, Madagascar
This national park is probably one of the best places to see the Verreaux's sifaka or white lemur and several groups live here. Having visited this place twice now, I was lucky enough to see these lemurs both times. They appear quite chilled and used to human presence, happily going about their daily business of leaping through trees, munching on leaves and sleeping on branches. In addition, a number of nocturnal lemur species can be found at Zombitse, such as the Hubbard's sportive lemur. Although nocturnal, it can frequently be seen resting within tree hollows during the daytime.
Zombitse-Vohibasia National Park separated into two halves by the RN7 Hubbard's sportive lemur, Zombitse-Vohibasia National Park
You are also likely to encounter a range of other wildlife during your visit here. It is a brilliant place for birdwatching as nearly half of the country's endemic birds can be found here and you can observe some rarities here including Appert's greenbul (which can only be found in this place and nowhere else in the word), Coquerel's coua, white-browed owl, black parrot and blue vanga . If you are planning on coming here for the birds though, make sure you head out early (between 6am and 9am is best) to give yourself the best chance of seeing the birds when they are most active, before it gets too hot. If you are planning an early start, there is accommodation nearby; Zombitse Ecolodge is just 7km down the road and the only place to stay in the vicinity of the park.
Look out for the huge Oustalet's chameleon, one of the largest species of chameleon in the world, but also very tricky to see due to their impressive camouflage. There are also numerous standing's day gecko dotted around the park; the park sign seems to be a favoured location so look out for these colourful lizards as you walk past. The flora is also fascinating and there are some massive baobab trees, some of which are around 600 years old.
Standing's day gecko at zombitse-vohibasia national park, Madagascar
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