Situated on the western coast of Madagascar, Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park is known for its breathtaking limestone formations. Read on to see what makes this park a must-see on your next trip to the country.
Ever heard of Tsingy De Bemaraha in Madagascar? If you love nature, you will definitely appreciate this park’s natural beauty. While the country is known for lemurs, birding, baobab trees, and jungles, Tsingy De Bemaraha provides tourists with a little different experience.
The sheer diversity of its landscape, marked by sweeping canyons and gorges and grand waterfalls will give even the most seasoned traveler goosebumps. It’s that beautiful.
Home to the most mind-blowing and unique geological formation in the world, the Tsingy are marked by gigantic limestone stones with jagged peaks. But that’s only the start.
This mind-blowing 583 Kilometer square park lies on the western coast of Madagascar and derives its name from the Malagasy word Tsingy, meaning, ‘’where one cannot walk barefoot, or walk on tiptoes’’
This name make sense after you see the spiky nature of the multiple surroundings around the park, marked by a labyrinth forest of gigantic limestone needles.
These resulted from decades of erosion forming a dense network of dazzling crevices, canyons, faults, etc. Tsingy De Bemaraha is located on the northern part of the pricky peaked area, and is surrounded by a seasonal river known as the Manambolo.
Due to its uniqueness, the park was declared a UNESCO heritage site in 1990. The reserve displays breathtaking fauna and flora marked by gorges, canyons, mountains, lakes, and mangrove swamps. But while these formations are breathtaking, they offer a secondary benefit.
The unusual and unforgiving landscape of the area has made it an excellent habitation for various endemic species of plants and animals. The western part of the park is covered by deciduous dry forests which are particularly suited to the area’s constantly changing climate.
Serene grassy savannas and lowland bushes make up the eastern portion. Since it’s very humid among the tall Tsingy formations, areas of breezy tropical forests and lianas can be found within the canyons.
If you like lemurs, you will enjoy seeing 11 mind-boggling species in this park. The fat-tailed dwarf lemur, decken’s sifaka, Cleese’s woolly lemur, grey mouse lemur, red-fronted brown lemur, and Sambirano lesser bamboo lemur are among the species that are exclusive here.
The tiny carnivorous falanouc and ring-tailed mongoose, as well as some bats, are also inhabitants. The park is home to more than 100 eye-catching bird species, including the severely endangered Madagascar fish eagle and crested ibis, Madagascar wood rail, giant coua, and conquer’s coua.
The Madagascar iguana and the native long-tailed skink are among the notable reptile species found in Tsingy De Bemaraha.
Things to do
There are a number of things you can do while in Tsingy National park. These include:
Tsingy’s landscape will give you a thrilling hiking experience. Trekking can be done on a variety of routes and hiking trails, but you must be well prepared before embarking on it. The two trekking trails are:
The Andamozavaky trail: This provides a spectacular view of the Tsingy’s stony pinnacles. The trail winds through the woods and emerges in the heart of the numerous pinnacles.
The Manambolo gorge trail: Referred to as the Ranotsara, this takes you out of the forest to a spectacular view of the numerous limestone rocks found in the area. To use this path, you will need a canoe to take you past the gorge.
Hop on a boat or canoe for a relaxing boat riding expedition along river Tsiribihina. You will enjoy the natural landscape including the river banks, savannas, and the animals roaming the area.
You can as well enjoy fishing in the amazing Manambolo river.
Visit the locals
Various ethnic groups live around the Tsingy. Visiting the area will allow you to learn about the various cultures and customs that are practiced there.
A Three Day Visit to Tsingy De Bemaraha
Day 1: Visit the petit Tsingy and the gorge of the Manambolo river
Morning: Tour of the Manambolo River
Begin your first morning with a dugout canoe tour of the Manambolo Gorge. Stalagmites, caves, stalactites, the famous family tomb of the famous Vazimba, who lived in the Tsingy in the 17th century, and the breathtaking gorge of limestone pinnacles are among the sights to behold.
Afternoon: Exploration of the lovely tiny Tsingy
Here you will be treated to a limestone maze, two viewpoints on the limestone pinnacle formation, red-fronted brown Lemurs, bird species, Decken’s Sifaka, Madagascar’s largest Sifaka.
Day 2: Visit the Grand Tsingy
Start your day with an early morning drive of about an hour to the big Tsingy, and then spend 4-5 hours hiking this unending area. This half-day tour takes you into the heart of the limestone forest, going through several hanging bridges, and past the park’s most beautiful karstic formations.
Evening: Go for an evening walk
Take a nocturnal walk in the evening with a local tour guide. You will see chameleons, and several species of nocturnal lemurs, especially the rare mouse and the fork-marked lemurs.
Day 3: Visit the Avenue of the Baobabs
Morning: Drive to the dry forest
In the morning, drive to the deciduous dry forest where you will see different bird species, lemurs, rodents, and other animals.
Afternoon: Visit the Avenue of Baobabs
After lunch, slow drive to the Avenue of Baobabs (the strange-looking trees for which Madascar is popular) for a sunset photography session.
The fastest but expensive way to get to Tsingy De Bemaraha is via chartered plane. However, that can be quite expensive, especially if you’re on a budget.
Alternatively, you can arrange for transport from the capital of Antananarivo (Tana) to a town called Morondava. There are several shared taxis departing on a daily basis to the town which will cost you about 175 Ar.
In case you are traveling using a car from Morondava, use RN8 road till you reach Belo-Sur-Tsiribihina. Once you cross the river, head northwards to Bekopaka where the entrance to the park is located.
A taxi-brousse (bush taxi) link runs daily between Morondava and Belo-Sur-Tsiribihina, and several times a week between Belo and Bekopaka. The local park office at Bekopaka has well-prepared guides to take around the park.
Where to Stay
There are a few accommodation facilities in the next village neighboring the park where you can take your rest plus 3 camps inside the park. These hotels and camps include:
The Tsingy Lodge
This consists of self-contained bungalows built with the best local materials from the walls to the roofs. Owned and run by a local couple, the lodge offers top-notch services including delicious local cuisine and round-the-clock customer service.
It’s located in a safe and quiet area, allowing you to get the best rest possible. The hotel is suitable for all types of visitors including families with kids and couples.
The Tana Ankoay
This offers self-contained rooms with hot running water in a pleasant atmosphere. They serve good food and provide transportation to the park as well as a tour guide to accompany you. This matters more than you’d think, as park guides can often be a little pushy.
They have different pricing for the different rooms depending on the type that you choose. The hotel offers various facilities including parking, WiFi, etc, and is suitable for families, solo and group visitors.
The L’olympe du Bemaraha
It has a range of bungalow rooms ranging from single rooms to quadruplets, which come with varied prices depending on the one you pick. It’s next to Manambolo river with a wall fence around it.
It offers various facilities including a massage room, bar, and restaurant with free WiFi, swimming pool, library, games chalet among others.
The three camps are:
The ANGAP Camp
This is the most affordable camp in Tsingy. They have shared bathroom and toilet facilities, but you will have to bring your own personal belongings like soap, toothpaste, toilet papers, etc.
The only upside to using ANGAP is that it provides convenient access to Tsingy National Park, as you do not need to cross the river to get there.
Located near the ANGAP camp, it has shared toilets with hot running water. Despite its shared toilet facilities, it offers good food, which consists mainly of local cuisines.
They have huge tents that can fit large groups, but it costs 150 Ar to set up your own tent. It has 20 stilted huts each with 2 single beds and mosquito nets. It costs 211 Ar for a single bed and 262 Ar for two beds.
This is located next to ANGAP camp and provides one simple room and delicious food. They also have a nice view of the park and you can rent a tent at a reasonable price. You can also bring your own.
The pleasant atmosphere here is something to look forward to. Just like the ANGAP camp, this camp is quite affordable. We think this is the best option for solo travelers.
Telephone: 033 11 507 56/ 032 41 051 00
Email: email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org tsingylodge@yahoo
Seated in a quiet and lovely atmosphere, the bungalows are a true representation of environmentally friendly tourism.
Price ranges between 203 Ar and 275 Ar.
Tel: 033 13 658 45/034 18 251 93
032 02 226 62
The lodge has 8 nice and spacious bungalows which range between 203 Ar and 380 Ar. The atmosphere is pleasant and the staff courteous. We highly recommend this lodge.
L’Olympe du Bemaraha
Tel: +261 (0) 32 07 202 46/ (0) 32 05 21 605
Email: email@example.com/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Built on a hill with great views over the Manambolo river, a brand new collection of 20 cozy, stunning, and high-standard bungalows and various types of rooms. The price ranges from between 203 Ar and 2050 Ar per night.
Without question, Tsingy De Bemaraha is among the best tourist destinations in the world. The unusual landscape marked by gigantic razor-sharp limestone peaks and diverse plant and animal species is a sight to behold. Be sure to include a visit to the park into your next itinerary. Happy touring!