If you are staying in Antananarivo but don’t have time to venture into real nature away from the capital, you can experience Madagascar’s lemurs at Lemurs’ Park. Despite the name, Lemurs’ Park is actually a private zoological and botanical garden.
Lemurs’ Park is located only 22 km southwest of Antananarivo city centre, between Fenoarivo and Imerintsiatosika. It can be easily reached by taxi via the RN1 in the direction of Ampefy. It takes about two to two and a half hours to drive by taxi from the city centre, depending on traffic. Those who like it more uncomfortable and slower, but cheaper, can even take a taxibrousse (from Anosibe in the direction of Imerintsiatosika). There is also a shuttle service from the zoo for groups of two or more that leaves from in front of the Carlton Hotel at 9 am on request.
Info about the zoo:
Lemurs’ Park has a very small area of 0.05 km², entirely between the Katsaoka River and the RN1. It was founded in 2000 by French musician Laurent Amouric and Maxime Allorge. Allorge is the grandson of the founding director of Tsimbazaza Zoo, also in Antananarivo. Around the year 2000, there was a wave of confiscations of lemurs illegally kept as pets in private hands. However, Tsimbazaza Zoo had insufficient accommodation facilities for these lemurs. So the idea came up to set up a separate area just for the lemurs as a small zoo. The original aim was to reintroduce the lemurs into the wild later. However, due to incorrect imprinting, malnutrition, and other problems, this is not possible in all cases.
Today, Lemurs’ Park is a limited company and finances itself through entrance fees and donations. The employees come almost exclusively from the surrounding villages. The zoo is open daily all year round from 9 am to 5 pm in the afternoon. Last admission for visitors is at 4 pm. The obligatory guide for the visit can be hired on-site and explains a lot about animals and plants.
The financial support of the construction company Colas Madagascar and the oil company Total Madagascar makes it possible for primary school children from the surrounding area to visit Lemurs’ Park. Many children see lemurs for the first time ever. During the visits, trees are regularly planted within the park to preserve the tree population.
Due to its proximity to the capital, the infrastructure is very good. Hotels for every budget can be found in Antananarivo, as well as supermarkets and transport options. Lemurs’ Park is therefore very suitable for a day trip. Lemurs’ Park itself has a small restaurant and a souvenir shop. Both are closed for days during the rainy season.
Flora and Fauna:
As the name suggests, the focus of the small zoo is on lemurs. Nine different species are currently kept, seven of which roam freely on the grounds. The zoo is home to Ring-tailed Lemurs, Mongoz’ lemurs, black-and-white ruffed lemurs, grey bamboo lemurs, Crowned Sifakas, Coquerel’s Sifakas and Brown Lemurs. The Coquerel’s sifakas have been part of a breeding programme since 2007. A total of over 50 lemurs jump around the grounds. Show feedings take place every two hours every day. The nocturnal lemurs, mouse macaws, live in relatively small separate enclosures. Madagascar iguanas and radiated tortoises are also kept in a kind of vivarium. Madagascar’s giant chameleon can be found free on the grounds. Part of the zoo is laid out in the form of a botanical garden and displays a variety of endemic plants from thorn forest, dry forest, rainforest and highlands.