Berenty Reserve Travel Guide

Discover the best attractions, activities, hiking and biking routes, where to stay, food and drink scene, local culture and customs, safety and health measures, transportation, and nearby destinations in Berenty Reserve in Madagascar.

Berenty Reserve is a natural haven nestled in the heart of Toliara Province in Madagascar’s East African Islands. The reserve offers visitors an opportunity to experience the beauty of Madagascar’s unique flora and fauna, cultural history, and breathtaking landscapes. In this comprehensive travel guide, we will take a closer look at what Berenty Reserve has to offer and provide you with all the information you need to make the most of your trip here.

Introduction to Berenty Reserve

Berenty Reserve is a privately-owned protected area covering approximately 260 hectares. It was established in 1936 by the De Heaulme family to protect the shrinking forest that was once a vast area of Madagascar. The reserve was later opened to the public in 1966 and has since become a popular tourist attraction in Madagascar.

Berenty Reserve is home to a unique variety of animal and plant species, many of which are endemic to Madagascar. The reserve provides an ideal habitat for lemurs, which are the most iconic animals found in Madagascar. Apart from lemurs, visitors can expect to come across several bird and reptile species, as well as a plethora of natural plant life.

List of Places to Visit in Berenty Reserve

When it comes to exploring Berenty Reserve, visitors will find a variety of cultural and natural attractions to visit. Here is a list of the must-visit destinations within the reserve:

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

  • Museum de Heaulme: This museum showcases the history of the reserve and the De Heaulme family who established it. Visitors can learn about the wildlife conservation efforts and the cultural heritage of the reserve.

  • Museum of Madagascar Spiny Forest: In this museum, visitors can learn about the unique flora and fauna found in Madagascar’s spiny forests. The museum houses a collection of herbarium specimens and bones of extinct fauna.

  • Streets of Berenty: The streets of Berenty comprise the local community of the reserve. These streets provide visitors with an excellent opportunity to learn about the traditional Malagasy culture and their way of life.

Natural Attractions of Berenty Reserve: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

  • Lemur Island: This is a famous island within the reserve that hosts a group of habituated ringtail lemurs. Visitors can get close to these friendly creatures and even feed them.

  • Spiny Forest: Visitors can explore this type of forest, which is unique to Madagascar. The forest is characterized by an array of unique plants that have adapted to the harsh climatic conditions found in Madagascar.

  • Lake: The reserve has a nearby artificial lake which attracts several bird species, including the Madagascar lovebirds, Madagascar kestrels and bee-eaters amongst others.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Berenty Reserve

Berenty Reserve has plenty of beautiful trails to explore. Visitors can either take a hiking or biking trail to explore the beautiful natural landscapes of the reserve. Here are some popular trails:

  • Mahafaly Circuit: This is a popular trail that leads visitors through the beautiful spiny forest and the nearby lake. The trail is about two hours long and is ideal for both hikers and bikers.

  • Mandrinike Circuit: This is a more challenging trail that explores the heart of the spiny forest. Visitors can expect to come across several endemic plant and animal species on this trail.

Best Things to Do in Berenty Reserve: Activities and Tours

Apart from exploring the natural and cultural attractions of the reserve, visitors can engage in several activities and tours, such as:

  • Night Walks: Visitors can take part in an exciting night walk to experience the nocturnal behavior of the reserve’s animals.

  • Birdwatching: Berenty Reserve is home to several bird species that can be spotted in their natural habitat. Bird enthusiasts can take a birdwatching tour to explore the beautiful birdlife of the reserve.

  • Photography Tours: The reserve offers fantastic opportunities for photographers, whether professionals or hobbyists, to capture some truly amazing shots of unique plant and animal life.

Week-Long Itinerary for Berenty Reserve

Visitors who choose to spend a week exploring Berenty Reserve can follow this sample itinerary:

Day One - Arrival, Check-in, and Explore the Museum de Heaulme. Day Two - Bike the Mandrinike Circuit and Night Walk Day Three - Visit Lake and Bird Watching Day Four - Visit Lemur Island and Spiny Forest Day Five - Photography Tour of Reserve Day Six - Cultural Tour through Berenty Streets Day Seven - Departure

Food and Drink Scene of Berenty Reserve

Berenty Reserve is known for its exquisite local cuisine and traditional Malagasy cuisine. Visitors can experience a range of flavors and textures in the reserve. Here are some must-try dishes.

Must-Try Dishes

  • Romazava: This is cabbage-based soup served with beef, garlic, and ginger. This traditional Malagasy dish is a favorite amongst locals and visitors alike.

  • Lasary Voatabia: A Malagasy side dish made from grated green papaya and carrots, mixed with tomato sauce and lemon.

Local Beverages

  • Ranovola: This is a popular drink made from water, sugarcane juice, and vanilla extract. It is a refreshing drink to have on a hot day.

  • Three Horses Beer: This is Madagascar’s most popular beer and a must-try for beer enthusiasts.

Where to Stay in Berenty Reserve: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

Berenty Reserve offers visitors several accommodation options, ranging from luxury hotels to guest houses.

  • Berenty Lodge: This lodge is a popular and upscale accommodation option that offers top-notch hospitality services to visitors.

  • Chez Betsileo: This is a more rustic and laidback accommodation option with a traditional Malagasy feel.

  • Berenty Camping: For visitors who prefer a more adventurous stay, Berenty Camping offers a chance to sleep under the stars.

What to Buy in Berenty Reserve: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

Visitors can take home several souvenirs and local products from Berenty Reserve, such as:

  • Handicrafts: Local artisans make beautiful handicrafts using natural materials found in the reserve, such as wood and bamboo.

  • Vanilla: Madagascar is famous for its vanilla, and visitors can purchase high-quality vanilla in Berenty Reserve.

Local Culture and Customs of Berenty Reserve

The local population of Berenty Reserve has a rich cultural heritage, and visitors can experience the traditional Malagasy way of life. The local culture is heavily influenced by animism and ancestor worship, with a particular emphasis on the veneration of ancestors. Visitors are encouraged to respect local customs and traditions while exploring the reserve.

Best Time to Visit Berenty Reserve

The best time to visit Berenty Reserve is between April and November, which is the dry season. Visitors can experience clear skies, warm temperatures, and dry weather, which is ideal for exploring the reserve’s natural landscapes.

Do’s and Don’ts of Berenty Reserve


  • Respect the wildlife and cultural heritage of the reserve.
  • Hire a local guide to explore the reserve.
  • Wear comfortable shoes and clothing when hiking or biking.
  • Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.


  • Feed the wildlife or disturb their natural habitat.
  • Pick or damage any plants and animals.
  • Venture out alone without a guide.
  • Litter within the reserve.

Safety and Health

Berenty Reserve is a safe and secure place for visitors to explore. However, it is important to take the necessary precautions to ensure visitors’ safety and health.

Safety in Berenty Reserve

  • Visitors should hire a local guide when exploring the reserve.
  • Stick to designated hiking and biking trails.
  • Do not explore the reserve alone or after dark.

Health in Berenty Reserve

  • Visitors should bring their own drinking water.
  • Use mosquito repellent to prevent mosquito bites and the risk of malaria.

Getting to Berenty Reserve: Transportation Options and Logistics

Berenty Reserve is located about 85km from Toliara. Visitors can get to the reserve using the following modes of transportation:

Airports Near Berenty Reserve

  • Toliara Airport: This is the nearest major airport, located approximately two-and-a-half hours’ drive from Berenty Reserve.

Bus Stations Near Berenty Reserve

  • Taolagnaro Bus Station: This is the nearest major bus station, located approximately four-and-a-half hours’ drive from Berenty Reserve.

Other Options

  • Visitors can also hire a private vehicle or take a taxi to get to the reserve.

How to Get Around in Berenty Reserve

The best way to explore Berenty Reserve is on foot or by bike. Visitors can rent bicycles within the reserve to explore the trails and natural landscapes. Alternatively, visitors can hire a local guide to take them around the reserve.

Where to Go Next from Berenty Reserve: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

Visitors can explore several nearby attractions and destinations after exploring Berenty Reserve, such as:

  • Toliara: This is a seaside town known for its beautiful beaches and coastal landscapes.

  • Isalo National Park: Isalo National Park is a natural reserve known for its beautiful landscapes and hiking trails.


Berenty Reserve offers visitors a unique travel experience, characterized by natural beauty, cultural heritage, and an opportunity to experience the traditional Malagasy way of life. Visitors can engage in a variety of activities, explore cultural and natural attractions, and sample local cuisine and beverages. With this comprehensive guide, visitors can plan their trip to Berenty Reserve and make the most out of their time here.