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Ankarafantsika is one of western Madagascar's most popular and rewarding parks: wildlife and bird life is abundant and easy to spot. The last piece of dry western deciduous forest in Madagascar, the vegetation consists of low and scrubby deciduous forest with pockets of dryland plants such as aloe and Pachypodium (or elephant's foot') as well as baobabs and orchids. The park is home to eight lemur species, many easily seen, including Coquerel's sifaka and the recently discovered Golden-brown mouse lemur. There are also brown lemurs and four nocturnal species: sportive, woolly, grey mouse and fat-tailed dwarf lemurs. More elusive is the rare mongoose lemur, which is observed almost exclusively here. Bird-watching is also a treat: there are 129 recorded species including the rare Madagascar fish eagle and the raucous sickle-bill vanga.
Although the driest time to visit Ankarafantsika is between May and November, wildlife-viewing is often better during the early part of the December -to-April wet season, when rainfall is still relatively light. The best way to explore the park is by foot; there are many half-day hiking trails.