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Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park

Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is located in the Melaky region of Madagascar. Commonly known as the Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park, as well as Great Tsingy, the s name comes from the park’s two geological formations – the Little Tsingy and the Great Tsingy. These rock formations form a labyrinth of limestone pinnacles throughout the park. Tsingy is a Malagasy word used to describe the ‘karst badlands’ of Madagascar and means ‘where one cannot walk barefoot.’

Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park is a part of the larger Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict National Reserve. It lies on the southern end of the national reserve, covering an area of approximately 666 square kilometres. The Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict National Reserve in the northern region covers 853 square kilometres. Established in 1997 Bemaraha National Park offers adventure seekers the opportunity to experience its terrain in the form of several activities.

Bemaraha National Park Activities

  • Boat Safari : Boat safari is one of the activities visitors can look forward to in the park with the option to hop on either a canoe or motorboat. Both will take on a boat-safari of the Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park when visitors can sit back and take in the dramatic landscape and wildlife.
  • Fishing: Safari operators can also arrange fishing trips on the Manambolo River.
  • Hiking: Due to its terrain, hiking is one of the most sought-after tourist activities in Tsingy De Bemaraha National Park. The park has several hiking circuits ranging from easy to difficult, making it available for all levels of expertise to enjoy the activities. Visitors should be accompanied by a qualified trekking crew who will keep them safe on their hiking trip. A trek is usually well-planned by the trekking crew. One sets out in the early morning and the other around midday.

We’ll discuss two of Tsingy Bemaraha National Park’s most popular trekking trails. No matter which trail you choose, the journey through both is memorable.

  • Manambolo Gorge Trial: Also referred to as Ranotsara, to get past the gorge, you’ll have to take a canoe trip through the Manambolo river. The trail takes you out of the forest to the limestone rock formations.
  • Andamozavaky Trail: A scenic trail, the Andamozavaky offers a stunning view of Tsingy’s stony pinnacles. The route takes visitors through the forest, emerging at the heart of these stony pinnacles. You can spend some time on the trail, taking in the natural rock formations.

Wildlife at Bemaraha National Park

Bemaraha National Park’s unusual geomorphology has resulted in it becoming home to a large number of endemic plant and animal species.

Madagascar is known to harbour the only living species of lemurs. Located within Madagascar, Bemaraha is home to Deceken’s sifaka, a species of sifaka (lemur). They have a creamy white pelage with tinges of pale brown, yellow-gold, and silver-grey covering their shoulders, neck, limbs, and back as well as black faces. Visitors will also occasionally spot Bemaraha woolly lemur, Bemaraha sportive lemur, fat-tailed dwarf lemur, Peter’s mouse lemur,  and Rufous brown lemur in the park as well as the adjacent game reserve.

Visitors travelling through the forest paths should keep an eye out for bat colonies found within. The caves in the Bemaraha National Park also offer refuge to half of Madagascar’s bat species. The park is home to small wildlife species such as Aye Aye, fossa, leaf-tailed geckos, Madagascar straw-coloured fruit bat, Madagascar ground boa, western red forest rat, stump-tailed chameleon, and ring-tailed mongoose.

Although Bemaraha has its share of birds, the number of species is limited to around 100. Despite the lack of diversity in species, bird-watchers have been known to flock to the park. One of them is Madagascar’s critically endangered eagle species, in addition to the largest  Madagascar raptor, Madagascar fish eagle. Bird enthusiasts are also on the lookout for Tsingy wood rail, the crested coua, coquerel’s coua, rufous vanga, sickle-billed vanga, and white-headed vanga.

When to Visit Bemaraha National Park

People who travel to the park for the sole purpose of hiking should consider May to October the best time to visit Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park. These are some of the coolest months that make hiking enjoyable. The best time for wildlife viewing at Bemaraha National Park is throughout the year, although if you want to spot some elusive lemur species, you’ll have to visit in October and November, which is also the time lemurs birth their babies.

The best time for spotting the resident bird species in Bemaraha National Park is throughout the year, except for the wet season when the park is inaccessible. November to April brings migratory bird species to the park, but these months fall into the wet season, making travel sometimes impossible. To spot these species, visitors might have to visit the park in October and November when migratory species arrive at the park.

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