Best time to travel to Madagascar

Stone Forest Tsingy de Bemaraha in Madagascar

Tsingy astonishes with its razor-sharp limestone spires summits as well as its exotic inhabitants

Best time: May–November

Stone Forest Tsingy de Bemaraha
Stone Forest Tsingy de Bemaraha
Stone Forest Tsingy de Bemaraha

Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park features 666 square kilometers of marvellous nature: starting from underground caves to 70 meters high limestone formations which have been eroded by heavy rains and groundwater into needlestone rocks. 85 % of its fauna and flora are endemic. One of the most outstanding species are fossas, the biggest mammal predators, which look like cats with dog’s noses. Van-Decken-Sifaka is a rare lemur species with creamy white pelage, black muzzle and long tail.

As to the flora, there are 650 plant species, including mangrove trees, succulents or bottle trees and plenty of beautiful orchids widespread in the park. Moreover, the stone forest shelters 100 bird species, in particular, the big silky cuckoo, the eared owl and very rare Madagascar sea eagle. The rarest species within the park must be Malagasy tortoises which can be found exceptionally in that region. Three different ecosystems exist in Tsingy de Bemaraha: the first encloses the area at the base, the second—along the slope and the last one – at the summit. The very word “tsingy” means “tiptoe”, as it is hardly possible to step on those sharp rocks barefoot. Nevertheless, some animals, particularly lemurs, have already adapted to the sharp rocks and freely jump from one summit to another. Since 1990 the area has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Tsingy Stone Forest has two main hiking tracks. A short one is three hours long and rather challenging, yet the other one is even more exhausting as it involves fixed rope routes, bridges and caves. The national park is open only during the dry season when the roads are drivable, that is from May till November. If you come in the period between late spring and early summer, you will be able to see the mangrove trees covered in red, white and black blossom flowers. These beautiful plants may be found at the base of Tsingy.

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