The Botanic Garden of Reserve de Nahampoana, which was constructed
in 1901, can be found at the foot of St. Louis peak, seven kilometres east of Fort Dauphin.
The road from Fort Dauphin leads through small villages, passing
the beach of Dauphin's bay and Lake Lanirano. The well
maintained garden, formerly named Garden of Acclimatisation, encompasses
an area of 50 hectares. Good hiking trails wind through
vegetation typical of the east and south of Madagascar. Amongst the many
exotic plants that can be found in the park are the Ravenala Palm,
Pachypodium, Madagascar Pitcher Plant, Oil Palm, Canela Cinnamon, Lemon
Eucalyptus, young Baobab Trees and the
conifer Arokaria, as well as the Triangle Palm Tree which can be found only in Fort
Dauphin and nowhere else in Madagascar.
A short pirogue ride along a fairytale like river, tunneling 800 metres
through thick vegetation with Giant Elephant Ear plants both on the riverbanks
and in the water is a rewarding experience. Innumerable frogs give their
best performance for visitors with their frog concerts during
this 30 minutes excursion. A natural swimming pool and a small waterfall
are additional highlights of the park.
Nahampoana Reserve is ideal for lemur spotting. Every lemur species
native to the south of Madagascar lives in this
park. During the early morning hours various groups of lemurs,
such as Verreaux's Sifaka, Ring-tailed Lemur or Brown
Lemur, usually play in the trees and on the ground near the old colonial house.
Other animals which can be observed include
chameleons, tortoises, crocodiles and a wide variety of birds.
To give visitors an insight into the unique flora and fauna of this part
of Madagascar, guided day as well as night walks are available and can be arranged
directly at the park. The entrance fee including an expert guide is EUR 8,-
Visitors planning to stay overnight in the park can choose from
two accommodations. In the old colonial house there are 3 double rooms.
This house, which was constructed in 1912, is full of charm
and has direct access to the restaurant. Additionally, there are 5
newly built double rooms located in the garden
about 100 metres from the colonial house. All rooms are modern in design and
have shower/WC, mosquito net and terrace.
The park restaurant serves local cuisine on the terrace of the colonial house,
including organic vegetables farmed in the gardens. The management
plans to sell essential oils produced at the reserve, as well as lychees
and mangoes. The park is not fenced and people in the nearby village use
some of its renewable resources.