The Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park and the adjacent Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict Nature Reserve is a UNESCO listed site in northwest Madagascar. They are located in the Melaky region and expand over 1500 sq km. The word Tsingy from the Malagasy language translates as, ‘where one cannot walk barefoot’, and once you arrive at the place, you will know why.
You can visit the Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park during the dry season – April to November, as the roads are impassable and the trails are slippery during the rainy season. The best way to visit the park is on a tour but you may also hire a vehicle and drive by yourself, from the towns of Morondava or Antananarivo. The roads are very muddy and bumpy and the journey here can be strenuous. The Manambolo River runs through this region and you can also reach the park by opting for boat or canoe rides. You can be sure to meet crocodiles while you’re on the waters, so keep your eyes peeled! Another (expensive) option is flying here on a charter plane.
The unique terrain of this region is defined by rugged karstic limestone formations, that is unlike anything else on the planet. These sharp peaks can reach up to 100 metres and can easily cut through flesh! This otherworldly landscape is a stunning work of nature which began almost 200 million years ago when the seabed rose and created a limestone plateau. Over the centuries, the plateau was continuously eroded, adopting dynamic forms including caves and ravines, and reached the needle-like peaks we see today. This terrain is dominant in the Great Tsingy and the Little Tsingy regions which are located in the centre of the park.
Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park’s distinct landforms have given way for a thriving endemic ecosystem. More than 80 percent of the life here is endemic to the nation and almost 50 percent are endemic to this region alone. The most popular residents of the park include 11 different species of lemurs, ring-tailed mongoose, over 100 bird species like the endangered Madagascar fish eagle, Tsingy wood-rail and crested ibis and 45 species of reptiles and amphibians including the endangered Antsingy leaf chameleon.
Apart from the rugged landscape, the park also encompasses dry deciduous forests and patches of low grasslands and tropical forests.
Visitors can access the Tsingy National Park and explore the region by following circuit routes that pass through incredible viewpoints, underground caves, peaks, forest patches and streams. All the routes generally include a combination of hiking, trekking, climbing, abseiling and traversing suspension bridges. There are various routes to choose from, like the two-day Anjohimanintsy Trail or half-day trails to the Great and Little Tsingys.
Make sure you wear sturdy shoes and comfortable clothes that are suitable to conquer this rocky landscape. Carry enough food and water and stick to the prescribed routes and directions of your guide.
Madagascar is known for its distinct landforms, and the Tsingy National Park is a fine example. A trip to the park will surely delight adrenaline junkies and outdoor enthusiasts who love challenging adventure trails. And not just them, if you are someone who is fascinated by the wonders of nature, then this park will not fail to impress you with its surreal landscape.
Though getting here might be quite difficult, you will leave with absolutely no regrets.
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