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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.

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.

MG Madagascar

Yala is a must if traveling to Sri Lanka. The National Park is popular for the biggest leopards, lots of wildlife and it's birders paradise. Of course, everybody wants to see a leopard at Yala, but to increase the chance of a sighting stay at least two nights! What is the best time to spot them? Read on for our detailed tips:

Big Leopard in Yala, Sri Lanka

Leopards

Yala has the highest density of leopards. The best chance to spot them is around new moon combined with a safari/tour in the afternoon when it’s also less busy. They are more active around dusk during new moon days. 

Jeep congestion while watching a leopard in Yala National Park

Crowds

It’s often very busy with many jeeps. It's super crazy if a leopard got spotted. Avoid weekends and public holidays. The morning safaris are the busiest. You can't enter the park immediately; first, your driver has to queue to get the ticket. Many tourists stay just for one night and leave at midday. The afternoon is much quieter. 

Elephants taking a bath in Yala, Sri Lanka

Wildlife

The best time to spot leopards, as well as other wildlife such as elephants and wild boar, is from May to August. More animals gather around the waterholes during the drier months. From October to December it’s more likely to spot deer, crocodiles, and birds. The park is often closed in September until October (too aggressive animals after a heavy drought). The best time of the day to spot wildlife is either early morning or from afternoon till evening. From late morning until afternoon they usually hide under thick foliage.

Opening Hours and 3 Gates at Yala

The park is open from 6 to 6. Yala is divided into five blocks. Block 4 is not open for safaris. Most visited are Block 1 and 2 with two entrances. Hundreds of jeeps seek for a leopard in Block 1.

  1. Palatupana: Main entrance for Block 1 and 2 is the busiest - waiting time up to one hour in the morning.
  2. Katagamuwa: This entrance to Block 1 and 2 is far less crowded.
  3. Galge: Entrance for Block 3 and 5 and less known. Therefore, you do not need to queue at the Galge entrances.
Our driver was checking the depth of a waterhole
Our driver Amare was checking the depth of a waterhole. 
Weather

In general, you can visit Yala year-round. It's never really bad. The dry season runs from May to September. Increasing precipitation in October. The ‘mild’ rainy season runs from November to January and some more rainfall again in April.

Weather Yala from 1991-2015
Average Monthly Temperature and Rainfall for Yala from 1991-2015

Top Tips Where to Stay

First of all stay at least two or three nights to increase the chance of spotting a leopard. Choose an accommodation which is nearby. Pro; you can go on safari in the morning and afternoon and spend the lunch break at your hotel. 

LK Sri Lanka