Tsingy de Bemaraha is a nature reserve situated 70 km inland from the west coast. The reserve is a landscape of towers, rifts and canyons forming limestone cathedrals. This is an area for hiking. In the local language, ‘Tsingy’ means ‘walking on tiptoes’, the feeling one has of navigating the jagged formations below your feet.
The area is listed as a World UNESCO Heritage site for its unique geological formations as well as its range of diverse and endemic species of both plants and animals. A large river flows through the reserve; the Manambolo, an important life source for wildlife. Other important water catchments include undisturbed lakes and mangrove swamps, homes for resident lemurs and birds, many on the rare and endangered list. The landscape of Tsingy de Bemaraha is characterized by its extraordinary limestone formations, which create a surreal and otherworldly atmosphere. The word “Tsingy” originates from the local Malagasy language, and it translates to “walking on tiptoes.” This name aptly describes the experience of navigating through this rugged terrain of pointed towers, deep rifts, and narrow canyons, where visitors often have to tread carefully and precisely to avoid injury.
These natural formations, often referred to as “limestone cathedrals,” have been sculpted over millions of years by erosion and weathering processes. The result is a stunning and labyrinthine landscape that is unlike any other on Earth. The unique topography of Tsingy de Bemaraha supports a rich diversity of flora and fauna, with many species of plants and animals specially adapted to thrive in this challenging environment. Tsingy de Bemaraha is a paradise for hikers and nature enthusiasts. The reserve offers various hiking trails that allow visitors to explore its magnificent terrain while immersing themselves in the unspoiled beauty of Madagascar’s wilderness. As you trek through the reserve, you’ll encounter breathtaking views, hidden caves, and fascinating wildlife, making it a once-in-a-lifetime experience for those seeking adventure and natural wonders.
Due to its ecological significance and fragility, the Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park has strict conservation measures in place to protect its unique ecosystem. Visitors are often required to follow designated paths and guidelines to minimize their impact on the delicate limestone formations and the surrounding environment. If you ever have the opportunity to visit Tsingy de Bemaraha, be prepared to be amazed by its extraordinary landscapes, geological wonders, and the feeling of “walking on tiptoes” as you traverse the jagged formations beneath your feet. It truly is a place of wonder and an example of the incredible diversity of the natural world.
Best known as the Stone Forest
Tsingy de Bemaraha is often referred to as the “Stone Forest” due to its extraordinary landscape of jagged limestone formations resembling a forest of stone towers, canyons, and rifts. Over millions of years, erosion and weathering sculpted these unique formations, creating a surreal and otherworldly environment. The term “Tsingy” itself translates to “walking on tiptoes” in the local language, perfectly capturing the feeling of navigating through the sharp and pointed rocks, as if one were delicately treading through a forest of stone spires. The name aptly conveys the awe-inspiring and otherworldly nature of this exceptional natural reserve in Madagascar.
Wildlife to spot at Tsingy de Bemaraha
Verreaux’s Sifaka: This charismatic lemur is one of the most iconic species in Madagascar. Known for its striking black-and-white coat and leaping locomotion, the Verreaux’s Sifaka is a joy to watch as it gracefully moves through the trees.
Decken’s Sifaka: Another sifaka species found in the park, Decken’s Sifaka, also known as the Decken’s or Deckenii’s black lemur, has a striking black coat and distinctive white fur around its face.
Red-fronted Brown Lemur: These medium-sized lemurs with reddish-brown fur are commonly found in the forested areas of the reserve.
Tsingy Wood Rail: This rare and elusive bird is endemic to the Tsingy de Bemaraha region, making it a sought-after sighting for birdwatchers.
Madagascar Fish Eagle: An impressive bird of prey endemic to Madagascar, the Madagascar Fish Eagle can occasionally be spotted near water sources.
Madagascar Ground Boa: This non-venomous snake is native to Madagascar and can be found slithering through the forest floor.
Madagascar Hissing Cockroac): While not as glamorous as some of the larger species, these large hissing cockroaches are interesting to observe, and they play a crucial role in the ecosystem’s decomposition process.
Various Chameleons: Madagascar is home to numerous chameleon species, and you might come across various types during your visit to Tsingy de Bemaraha. Keep an eye out for the colorful and well-camouflaged creatures.
Various Insects and Butterflies: The park boasts a rich diversity of insects and butterflies, adding to the overall biodiversity of the region.