Tsingy de Bemaraha, Madagascar: Calcareous Cathedrals

Tsingy de Bemaraha, Madagascar: Calcareous Cathedrals

The Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park is one of the most famous on the island and travel to Madagascar, sculpting around the gorges of the Manabolo River an impressive stony forest of huge and pointed calcareous needles, the Tsingy , local word meaning pinnacle.

These karst towers are the product of the erosion of millions of years on the calcareous plate lifted by the drift of the continents, when Madagascar separated from Gondwana from which South America, Africa, Australia, Hindustan and Antarctica, the old block detached in turn from the supercontinent Pangea.

Amazing fauna and flora

Exotic tree species sank their roots among the gray rocks providing the most striking contrast note with their bright green foliage inhabited by exotic birds, extravagant chameleons and agile lemurs that leap over the sharp rocks as if they stepped on soft sand.

Chopped by small savannas, the dry deciduous forest sheltered a good number of endemic species, dozens of reptiles and amphibians, a hundred birds, five different families of bats and a dozen lemurs.

 More than six hundred types of plants adapted strongly to tropical weather. Dry on the calcareous and humid surfaces inside the canyons, the vegetation slyly fought the aridity, retaining the water in the thorns, fattening its trunks, slowing the vegetative system before the rains or even shrinking to dwarf shrubs.

Red roads and brown rivers

Such a place could not go unnoticed by the globalized desire to protect the most unique natural spaces on the planet. The Bemaraha Plateau, bounded to the north by the steep cliffs of the Manombolo River and by gentle slopes to the west, was declared World Heritage by Unesco in 1990, and seven years later the Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park was created with a restricted area of integral protection: in total, more than one hundred fifty thousand hectares.

The visitable park occupies the southern half, where the impressive Tsingy abound. The motivations to explore it range from scientific study to spiritual contemplation, through bird watching, trekking and educational, ecological or simply tourist excursions.

 The adventure begins by driving in 4 × 4 along reddish dirt tracks through forests, muds and fords that do not always surpass the first, and riding cars on barges that cross the great brown water rivers. The entrance to the park depends on the state of these routes, whose accessibility is conditioned in turn by the season. The impracticable rainy season runs from November to April.

Without vertigo or claustrophobia

Although seen from the air these formations could be completely impenetrable, there are some ferrata routes, quite respectful of nature, that cross them through narrow caves, unsuspected natural corridors and deep gorges.

All this thanks to the implantation of steps carved in the rock, ladders, cables and ropes to which to attach with the carabiners incorporated to the harness supplied, and even the small suspension bridge that, oscillating disturbingly on a vacuum of seventy meters, joins a pair of peaks to reach the viewing platform that crowns the path.

 There are seven circuits to choose from, from the easy two kilometers in one hour, to those between three hours and two days, which are enriched with visits to old shelters and tombs, canoe sailing through the Manabolobe, rappelling down to a well limestone and even speleological explorations through underground galleries.

Hotels: Adventure and ecotourism

The luxury of the big five stars is something unknown for these lands that lack electricity: electric generators work only a few hours a day, refrigerators are gas and hot water is obtained from solar energy. We must therefore not expect the exquisite comforts of other destinations, but, instead, authenticity and contact with nature in the wild are guaranteed.

The following offer a refreshing pool, a luxury in these hot latitudes.

The Orchidée du Bemaraha: It has a handicraft boutique, massage room, billiards and bike and quad rental, has opted for a varied cuisine: French, Creole, Chinese and exotic.
Proud of its three stars, the Vazimbahotel offers a sports area and a kinesitherapy room.
The four duplexes of the Olympe du Bemaraha are designed to enjoy as a family, although they also have bungalows and double rooms of high and medium standing, a small boutique and a large octagonal restaurant with panoramic terrace.

Deja una respuesta

Tu dirección de correo electrónico no será publicada. Los campos obligatorios están marcados con *