A Lemur in the Berenty Reserve © David Dennis
Meaning 'Big Eel', Berenity Reserve is a small private reserve set along the Mandrake River in the far south of Madagascar in the Fort Dauphin region. It features gallery forest and a fantastic array of indigenous wildlife and birds, such as ring-tailed and sifaka lemurs, White-browed Owls and Giant Couas. There is a guest lodge in the reserve for those who are keen to visit for a few days, while others can enjoy a short day-trip to experience all that the Berenty Reserve has to offer including the popular walking trails. Although the reserve has a lot to offer, people come primarily because it is possibly the best place in Madagascar to get close to lemurs, which are plentiful in the reserve and often so tame that they can be pests; the comical animals can often be seen dancing around from your accommodation, they will pop in for a visit if you don't close doors and windows, and they have no qualms about sitting next to you at the table. Berenty is one of the most tourist-friendly attractions in Madagascar and the facilities are comparatively very good. There is a small reptile zoo and a really worthwhile ethnological museum exhibiting local artefacts and detailing the culture and history of the Antandroy people that live in the region. Also be sure to go on a night walk if possible because the nocturnal animals in the reserve are fascinating. Visitors should make sure they take malaria prophylaxis and have mosquito nets in their accommodations.