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Guide to Tsingy de Bemaraha Nature Reserve | Madagascar

Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict Nature Reserve is a must-see on a trip to Madagascar with the unusual ‘forest’ of limestone pinnacles and a wealth of wildlife, flora, and fauna.

Pinnacle shaped rocks on the Grande Circuit at Tsingy de Bemaraha Nature Reserve in Madagascar
Pinnacle-shaped rocks on the Grande Circuit at Tsingy de Bemaraha Nature Reserve

About Tsingy De Bemaraha Park

This unique protected UNESCO heritage site is located in the Melaky region, northwest Madagascar. The Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict Nature Reserve covers 666 sq km comprising of karstic needle-shaped limestone formations and has four different circuits you can follow.

You’ll find around 650 different fauna and flora species here, 85% of which are endemic to Tsingys de Bemaraha. The park is home to many animal species including 100 types of birds, 60 types of amphibians, and 11 types of lemurs to name but a few.

The word ‘Tsingy’ is indigenous to the Malagasy language and means ‘walking on tiptoes’ or ‘the place where one cannot walk barefoot’ demonstrating how sharp they are to touch. Tsingy de Bemaraha is an absolute must-see in Madagascar.

Limestone Pinnacles at the Tsingy de Bemaraha Nature Reserve
Limestone Pinnacles at the Tsingy de Bemaraha

Guide To Tsingy De Bemaraha Nature Reserve

‘Grands Circuits’ Trek

On arrival, we were introduced to our guides Deepo & Tivi who gave us a briefing on the rules of the park. As it is considered a sacred place, you cannot point, no smoking, and ask the guide if you need to pee, they will tell you where you’re allowed to.

Next, we were fitted with harnesses for the Ferrata on our trek. The trail is only 3km but does take around 4 hours to complete with the climbing up rocks and tricky maneuvers under the razor-sharp rocks. The infrastructure created with fixed cables, ladders, and bridges was excellent and felt safe at all times.

The narrow suspension bridge was 200m above the ground, it says only one person at a time, and I wasn’t going to risk doing otherwise. On the other side, the view of the landscape of limestone pinnacles was simply breathtaking.

‘Petits Circuits’ Trek

This was a bit more leisurely than a big circuit, no harness was required! Following a short stroll through the forest, we were greeted with a labyrinth of narrow walkways we had to shuffle down to pass.

Within the hole of a tree, we spotted a Sportive Lemur peeping out which was lucky to find considering they are nocturnal, he just looked straight at us but they are so-called because of the boxing-like stance they assume when threatened. We could hear the tweeting of the Madagascar Bulbul and the Vasa Parrot. Out of nowhere, a Malagasy ring-tailed mongoose darted across our path, think the nosey tourists were too much but he was easily recognisable by his bushy, ringed tail.

We crossed wooden walkways seeing huge spiders in webs glistening in the sun and smaller baobab trees nestled into the rocks. We climbed metal ladders to reach the viewpoint displaying the magnificent stone landscape in the distance. These rocks not only look amazing but they’re musical too, when you tap them they make a sound like tapping metal because they contain magnesium.

Our parting gift was the sighting of a rare Madagascar Fish-Eagle sitting high up in the tree, a program has been launched in the Antsalova region to increase the number of individuals up to 250 so you can understand how endangered they are.

Image of narrow gap between grey rocks at Tsingy de Bemaraha Nature Reserve in Madagascar
Grey rocks at Tsingy de Bemaraha Nature Reserve

Go Chameleon Spotting

Nearly half of all chameleon species are from Madagascar so we took a drive near the hotel to see if we could spot any of these vivid lizards chilling in the trees.

Contrary to common belief, chameleons change their colour to reflect their mood sending signals to other chameleons rather than to match their surroundings. They can change depending on light and temperature but they generally inhabit the surroundings to match their colouring.

We stumbled upon a few chameleons which are easier to find at night with light than in the day, I’ll be honest the only time I knew we were onto something was when our driver Marc leaped out of his car to show us. Their long fingers hold onto the branches helped along by their long curly tail. They are fascinating to watch as their bulging eyes move independently from each other eyeballing all of us gawping at them. Great to see these guys out in the wild!

Like the chameleon, one eye on the future, one eye on the past.

Malagasy Proverb

FAQs Tsingy de Bemaraha

When is Best Time To Visit Tsingy De Bemaraha?

The Tsingy de Bemaraha Nature Reserve is closed in the rainy season as the water rises to around 10m bringing in the crocodiles and making it impossible to cross the river so head there between May and November. Expect to pay 55,000 Ariary to enter the park (price correct as of 2017).

How To reach To Tsingy De Bemaraha

To reach the area, we drove from Belo and crossed the Tsiribhina River by loading the 4x4s on the ferry, three at a time. Bear in mind, that the ferry stops running at 6 pm when planning your big travel adventure.

Our trip was organised by Trekkup

Where is the best place To Stay By Tsingy De Bemaraha

To stay very close to the Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park, look for accommodation near the village of Bekopaka.

We stayed in Olympe de Bemaraha which was amazing with bungalows, an open-plan restaurant, and a covered terrace overlooking panoramic Manambolo River views. The outdoor pool was perfect for sipping cocktails after the long, bumpy drive!

Other lovely options to consider would be Orchidée de Bemaraha or Soleil des Tsingy eco-lodge for a spot of luxury. 

If you fancy getting the full Tsingy experience, there are 3 campsites within the park itself.

What is the best Travel Insurance for Madagascar?

My favourite travel insurance company is Heymondo – they have so many plus factors, and you can get 5% off your travel insurance with HeyMondo.

Benefit from 24-hour medical assistance, 365 days a year with single, multi-trip, and long-stay insurance, cover for Covid-19 and non-refundable expenses. The handy app makes this a simple process! They give a little back too by contributing to ‘Doctors Without Borders’.


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  1. Omg this sounds like so much fun! I def need to discover more about Madagascar!

  2. Kathy Marris says:

    Madagascar is not a country that is featured that much, so I was very interested to read this. The hike sounds fantastic and it would be interesting to see some of the flora and fauna in this park.

  3. What a fun adventure to have! Going on a chameleon hunt through Madagascar seems like something out of a movie, and something that I’d really love to do! Sounds like you had a blast and were able to spot some awesome wildlife like the lemur!

  4. Wow, this sounds like a great place to explore! I’ve always been curious about Madagascar and really hope to make it there within the next couple years. Will definitely add this nature reserve to my list of things to do there!

  5. This looks beautiful! I love all the different wildlife you were able to see, and appreciate your comment that you felt very secure and safe at all times. Excellent information. 🙂

  6. Interesting place. I do miss the days when I used to trek, when it exhilirated me to be with nature. The feeling of being surrounded by large trees and rock formations is just amazing.

  7. I like your experience about Madagascar, not too adventurous, not too boring. Watching animals in their space is kind of fun, one would be so ‘mazed at their uniqueness. My college teacher gave me a wrong information about Chameleons, she ought to read this post😂😂😂😂

  8. Sandy N Vyjay says:

    Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict Nature Reserve sounds unique and I understand that it is a World Heritage site. The Grande Circuit trek sounds like a thrilling adventure. I am sure I would love it. Good to note that inspite of dangerous limbing and terrain, the infrastructure ensures complete safety.

  9. Love the Malagasy proverb! And 4hrs for 3km!? Wow! Must’ve been a difficult one. Definitely sounds like one heck of an adventure tho. Will add this to my list for when I visit Madagascar!

  10. I love visiting UNESCO sites but this one seems extra special because of the bounteous nature and other species that can be seem

  11. Swayam Tiwari says:

    With such a wide variety of animals and birds, this place must be preserved for posterity. Madagascar should position itself as an environment destination. I hope this place retains its purity for a long time to come.

  12. Ankita Sharma says:

    The Tsingy De Bemaraha Nature Reserve in Madagascar is a natural wonder that left me awe-inspired. This guide is a must-read for anyone planning to explore its unique beauty. The reserve boasts towering limestone formations resembling jagged needles, creating an otherworldly landscape. This guide is your essential companion to uncover the secrets of Tsingy De Bemaraha’s enchanting terrain.

    This is a great place to explore. I’m curious to know about different types of knowledge. Adventure in places related to nature gives a pleasant experience.

    1. Exploring Tsingy De Bemaraha Nature Reserve was one of my favourite adventures. Glad you found my travel guide useful.

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