Midongy du Sud NP – a tourist destination just for hardcore nature lovers
Midongy du Sud National Park in southeastern Madagascar provides opportunities to view several lemur species, though only the well-seasoned traveler should attempt this journey and then only during the drier months. Species of lemurs that may be found here are an undescribed form of mouse lemur (Microcebus), greater dwarf lemur (Cheirogaleus major), southern bamboo lemur (Hapalemur meridionalis), red-collared brown lemur (Eulemur collaris), Peyriéras’ woolly lemur (Avahi peyrierasi), aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis), and perhaps Andohahela sportive lemur (Lepilemur fleuretae).
The park is also an Important Bird Area overlapping with the national park. Rare birds like the Madagascar Coucal, Scaly Ground-roller or Stripe-throated Jery, Madagascar Flufftail, Pollen's Vanga. Meller's duck (Anas melleri) is endemic to south eastern Madagascar. This species is listed as an endangered species by the (IUCN) red list.
Midongy du Sud (also called Midongy-Befotaka) National Park is located about 90 km south-west of Vangaindrano in the South East of Madagascar. This area has been protected since 1953 but it reached the status of National Park in 1997. Midongy covers a surface of 1920 km² and it is divided into two main sections: the Soarano and the Befotaka Forest. The landscape is rugged, formed by steep mountains and deep valleys covered by a luxuriant humid rain forest, and marshes and rivers in the lowlands. Indeed this is one of the most humid regions of Madagascar and it rains almost every day. Due to this climatic conditions and its craggy orography, Midongy du Sud shelters the second biggest rain forest of the island. The altitude varies from 700 to 1680 m at the highest point, the Mount Papango.
There are some beautiful natural places outside the National Park, such as the Kotavo cave in Befotaka (40 km south from Midongy Atsimo and the second biggest town around), the thermal source in Telorano or the natural pool in Andranolaly.
These dense rain forests are covered with a wide number of tree species, including palm trees, orchids, precious woods as ebony or palisander and at least 15 threatened species and 50 medicinal plants. They include kooboo-berry (Mystroxylon aethiopicum), which is said to help with injuries, and the sap of Medinilla sp, is used for coughs.
There are some local endemic reptiles - leaf-tailed geckos and warty chameleons.
The endemism rate is notable among mammals, birds and reptiles. Surveys, which have led to the discovery of new species, are currently being carried out.
The climate is extremely humid during all the year, and the temperatures are cool (yearly average is 18°C). Due to the constant rainfalls leeches are pretty common at Midongy du Sud. Nevertheless they are quite small and not dangerous. A suitable raincoat and a waterproof equipment are necessary!
Apart from the unpleasant weather, the difficult access makes Midongy a tourist destination just for adventurous travellers and hardcore nature lovers. The Park is “accessible” by road only from June until late November, and a good jeep is compulsory. Once in Vangaindrano (the final stop of the road RN12, that is in bad state during the last 100 km), travellers must take the terrible road T18 for another 100 km until the town of Midongy Atsimo.
You also may discover this park and the whole South-east coast with our seasonal offer a hard trackless tour (a 4x4 cross-country vehicle or motorcycle) "The venture into the unknown Côte Est of Madagascar" and enjoy the roads less traveled.
Watch more photos about Midongy du Sud National Park here.