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Wildlife

When is a great time to spot wildlife? Wild animals can be found in ecosystems like deserts, forests, rain forests, plains or grasslands. Often wildlife is hidden and difficult to spot. Here you will find the right time and areas where the chance for a wildlife sighting is much higher.

All animals are active at the beginning of the rainy season in December.
The dry season last from April to November. Often Kirindy is not accessible from January to end of March. In October you may see baby lemurs. There are fewer midges at the end of the dry season.

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The Trowunna Wildlife Sanctuary can be visited year-round from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. It's not far from Cradle Mountain. Their significant contribution to the Tasmanian devil is unique. For more than 30 years now they run the conversation breeding programme successful. You shouldn't miss the feeding time of the Tasmanian devil at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.

Devils feeding time at Trowunna

Around December you may see the baby devils as well.

If you like to feed the kangaroos, that's an extra charge of $3. Visit Trowunna already in the morning when they open the park. It starts to get crowded from 10.30 a.m.onwards and the kangaroos start hiding.

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Cradle Mountain National Park is a heaven for wildlife which is plentiful throughout the park. Have a look at the different species to get detailed information when and where you can spot them. Most of them are used to humans and let you watch them as long as you don't get to close. 

  • Wombats
    They are crepuscular and nocturnal. The best chance for a sighting is at dusk and dawn. They also venture out for feeding on cool and overcast days. The famous Cradle Mountain is crowded with day visitors but in the late afternoon it becomes quiet and peaceful, and you may spot several wombats near the Interpretation Center, Waldheim Lodge, and Cabins.
  • Wallabies and pademelons 
    Can be spotted late afternoon and evening especially near Waldheim Lodge and Cabins. Pademelons are also often seen around the self-catering cabins.
    Wallaby at Cradle Mountain
     
  • Echidnas
    Active until the end of summer (March/April) before they hibernate again until late October to mid-November.
    Echidna at the Cradle Mountain National Park
     
  • Tasmanian Devils
    Possible to spot but rare. Unfortunately, cases of devil facial tumor disease are reported recently. Trowunna close to Cradle Mountain is an excellent Wildlife Park to see them relatively close.
    Tasmanian Devil close to Cradle Mountain National Park
     
  • Possums are seen during the night frequently close to garbage bins and around the cottages.
    A possum in the night close to the cabins in the Cradle Mountain Nationalpark
     
  • Platypus is extremely difficult to spot, coming out when it's almost dark. We haven't seen any yet.
     
Weather

Snow in winter usually from July to September with an average day temp of 6°C / 43°F. It can get pretty cold during the night (below 0°C). Snow can occur even in November with a temp of 0°C / 32°F at daytime. More stable weather from December to April with warmer temps. The warmest months are January and February. The coldest months are July and August. Anyhow, the weather is unpredictable in Tassie. Be prepared for 4 seasons in one day even in summer. Autumn from late April to May is an exceptional time with colors ranging from gold to deep red.

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The best months to visit Cahuita are February/March until April and September, October because it rains less compared to the wet season in the rest of the country. The dry season is also the best time for snorkeling.

The leatherback-, green-, hawksbill- and loggerhead turtles lay their eggs at the park's beaches. Nesting season for leatherback is from March to July, the green from July to October, the hawksbill and loggerhead from February to May. Therefore, it's always worth to travel to the east side of Costa Rica.

CR Costa Rica

The Analamazaotra Reserve and the Andasibe-Mantadia National Park are famous for the Indri; the largest lemur still in existence and today classified as critically endangered. The Analamazaotra Reserve is just a three hours drive from Tana, easily accessible and therefore crowded. Although the park is accessible all year, hiking conditions are better during the drier season from April until November. Continue reading to get the most out of your visit.

Black-and-white ruffed lemur in the Andasibe Mantadia National Park
Black-and-white ruffed lemur in Andasibe-Mantadia

Weather and Crowds
  • Dry Season (May to October) - Peak Season
    The weather improves and it gets drier from May onwards. Anyhow, precipitation can always occur in the east for around 210 days each year. Madagascar is a popular destination from May/June to October. Analamazaotra gets pretty busy especially in July and August with visitors from Europe. The best time to visit the entire island is the end of the dry season in September and October. You avoid the heat, and there are fewer mosquitos.
  • Rainy Season (December to March) - Not recommended
    Precipitation increases already in November, but December to February are the worst months and cyclones are likely to happen.  Roads and trails can get flooded. 
  • Shoulder Season (April, May, November)
    The season already starts in April, but April and May are still not too crowded. In November rain increases and crowds thin out. If you can handle precipitation, you experience a much quieter island. Prices are not on the highest level, and plenty of accommodations are available. Different orchids species start blooming when the rain begins until January.

Average Monthly Temperature and Rainfall for Madagascar from 1991-2015

Top Tip to Avoid Crowds

If you are physically fit, and you like hiking a lot visit the Andasibe Mantadia National Park. A 4x4 is recommended to get to this part of the park. There are two existing trails not well developed. You may leave the tracks when following the lemurs to the thick primary forest. It's pure wilderness to hike here, and you may enjoy the lemurs with very few people only. We spent here a whole day hiking, observing lemurs and sweating from the fast pace to follow sifakas and indris. 

Diadem Sifaka in the Andasibe Mantadia National Park
Diadem Sifaka and Baby in September

Where to Stay Close to the Reserve

It's Madagascar, so hotels are commonly below the European standard although some have similar quality. Wifi is not often available. Try to book a hotel where breakfast and dinner are included. Chose wisely where to stay and where you eat your meals. We traveled almost a month through Madagascar, and we saw some people sick from the food. Sometimes we just ate pure rice for dinner only. The Mantadia Lodge Andasibe is the only one we can recommend for 2019. They will spoil you with the best food on entire Madagascar.

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Koalas are in abundance in the Great Otway National Park. They are often spotted along the Lighthouse Road. Koalas start being active from the afternoon onwards. During the day you may see them resting on a branch in the tree. However, they sleep around 20 hours each day. To increase your chance for an unforgettable sighting stay at least one night in the National Park. 

Sleeping koala in the Great Otway National Park

Weather

Lots of precipitation throughout the year deep in the heart of the Great Otway National Park. Warmer and "drier" conditions from November to April however, rain can always occur. Winter is the wettest season.

Where to Stay in the Cape Otway National Park

There are not many opportunities to chose from if you plan to stay in the Cape Otway National Park. Check out the link for the best prices with booking.com for the four different types of accommodations in the Otway. We'd chosen a Standard Cabin with shared bathroom at Bimbi Park all others were fully booked already. 

Basic Cottage in the Great Otway National Park
Bimbi Park - Standard Cabin with shared bathroom

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