Best time to visit Madagascar

Caving with Crocodiles​ in Madagascar

Challenge yourself in the caves inhibited by bats, crocodiles and other creatures

Best time: November–April

Caving with Crocodiles​
Caving with Crocodiles​
Caving with Crocodiles​

If you are slightly bored with resort idyll, a visit to the Bat Caves or Crocodile Caves located underground in Ankarana National Park will be truly refreshing. This large underground network of caves and rivers is a home to 14 species of squealing bats, giant eels, endemic blind shrimps and crocodiles. Rock spires and dropping water contribute to the scary atmosphere.

Centuries ago in the course of the war between local Ankarana tribe and Merina tribe kings used to hide in those caves and some must have died there. Locals strongly believe that their spirits still hover somewhere in the caves so loud noises and drawing on the walls are banned, and even menstruating women can't enter, according to the local fady or taboo. Locals advise tourists to respect fady, otherwise, one might get bitten by a crocodile.

Crocodiles leave caves in November with the beginning of their feeding season, then they become extremely active and go out hunting. In April, ​crocs return home and hide in the mud banks of the caves. Thus, for half a year subterranean world of about 140 km in length is at your disposal. Preferably, hire a guide in order not to get lost and make sure that you have taken flashlights and extra batteries. Scientists have proven that bats' attraction to human hair is nothing but a myth, but it's better to wear a hat just in case.

Practical info

When is the best time to visit Ankarana National Park for caving with crocodiles?

To maximize the chances of seeing crocodiles while caving at Ankarana National Park, it's best to schedule a visit between November and April. Crocodiles become more active during this time as it's the start of their feeding season and they leave the caves. The caves, which span about 140 kilometers, can be accessed during this period, so choose a time appropriately. Show more

Where can we find the Bat Caves and Crocodile Caves located in Ankarana National Park?

The Bat and Crocodile Caves of Ankarana National Park can be found in the north of Madagascar, about 100 km south of Antsiranana. These two caves are actually part of an underground network of caves and rivers in the area, stretching a total length of 140 km. Access to the park is possible via car or other means from Antananarivo. Show more

What are the fady or taboos that we need to follow when visiting the Bat Caves and Crocodile Caves?

When travelling to the Bat and Crocodile Caves of Ankarana National Park, it's important to learn the local fady, or customs, to show respect and prevent harm. Entering the caves during menstruation is taboo, loud noises and wall drawings are forbidden as well. According to locals, disrespecting the customs can result in being bitten by crocodiles inhabiting the caves, as they are seen as spiritual guardians of the area. Show more

How long and how vast is the subterranean world of the caves in Ankarana National Park?

Ankarana National Park boasts a complex and extensive underground cave system, measuring approximately 140 kilometers in length. Within the park's canyons, forests, and karsts, the Bat and Crocodile Caves are two gems waiting to be explored, and touring them should be done with guides for safety reasons. Access to the caves is made possible through walkways and trails in the park. Show more

Are helmets or hats necessary when caving at the Bat Caves and Crocodile Caves in Ankarana National Park?

While helmets or hats are not required when exploring the Bat and Crocodile Caves of Ankarana National Park, it's recommended to wear one to protect your head from potential falls while navigating the area. Although bats' attraction to humans is a myth, it's still best to wear a hat just in case. For safety reasons, hiring a guide and bringing reliable flashlights and extra batteries is advised when touring the park's caves. Show more

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