A forest of limestone needlesMelaky Region, northwest Madagasca
Sculpted by water over many millennia, gouging the earth’s rock and soil, Tsingy de Bemaraha is a forest unlike any other. Vast caverns and jagged limestone karst towers pucker the land, some peaking at 100 metres tall, like something straight out of an Indiana Jones movie.
While the landscape appears unforgiving, this geological phenomenon and UNESCO World Heritage Site on the west coast of Madagascar is home to a range of wildlife – simply peer down into the cavernous depths of the tsingy where vegetation has taken root for a glimpse of lemurs, birds and reptiles, many of which don’t exist anywhere else in the world.
The unfriendly terrain and its location has also meant that much of the forest has remained mostly void of human contact, which has ensured the preservation of this stunning mineral landscape. Don’t fret though; this doesn’t put it out of your reach. Despite the tough environment, a series of ladders, suspension bridges and trails have been mapped out, each with varying levels of difficulty.
There are also guides for hire at the park’s entrance to help keen adventurers tackle the peaks firsthand. Just don’t look down.
- Experiencing the otherwordly and unusual geomorphology of the Tsingy de Bemaraha World Heritage Site
- Viewing the stunning landscapes of limestone pinnacles, gorges and pristine forests and the chance to see rare birds, lemurs and reptiles
- Lemur spotting – there are 11 different species in the park — 6 of which are endemic to the park
- Bird watching – there are more than 100 bird species to be seen
- It’s an arduous drive out to Tsingy de Bemaraha but once you arrive all pain and suffering will subside
- Anyone with serious mobility issues may want to re-consider this trip
Entry costs US$9 for one day and US$12 for two days, and your guide fees will vary depending on the route you choose.
Some steep climbing involved and if you have mobility issues this will be problematic.
The park is only open during the dry season — from April to November.
The Grand Tsingy is only accessible between June and the beginning of November.