Ankarana National Park: between Tsingy and underground caves
Located in the north of Madagascar, Ankarana National Park is a natural jewel renowned for its network of underground rivers: the largest in Africa. With its unique ecosystem, this protected area promises adventure and discovery!
Visiting the park
When you arrive at the entrance to the park, you immerse yourself in an extraordinary world that you can’t see anywhere else. Located 10 km from Antsiranana, the park covers an area of 18,220 ha and is a protected area, thanks to its topography and the welth of its fauna and flora. Wilderness enthusiasts and people looking for adventures will enjoy trekking in the park.
Ankarana Park is dominated by a hilly relief built upon basalt ground. Some areas of the park are covered with seasonal dry forests. The park also contains Tsingy, a limestone formation that has inherited a particular shape through erosion. They are composed of narrow labyrinth-shaped corridors.
-Discovering the Tsingy
It is one of the two places where it is possible to contemplate the Tsingy (except those of Bemaraha). To discover this extraordinary rock formation, you’ll need a lot of physical endurance, as some parts require climbing large blocks of stone or walking through very narrow crevasses before reaching the endless expanse of rocks that rain and wind have carved majestically over time.
Anilotra Camp is the best place to enjoy the beauty of the Tsingy. The camp is about two hours’ walk away. On the way, you will pass by “Lac Vert” or the green lake, a crater lake. It is a day trip that promises a wonderful discovery. You will pass through wooden plank footbridges that offer breathtaking views of friable rocks. Some plants like the pachypodium have managed to grow on calcareous rocks.
-The sacred caves
These magnificent caves were created by groundwater networks. The park contains eleven caves, some of which contain magnificent royal burial sites and others are sacred places of worship. The locals come there to place offerings. The caves are composed of columns of stalactites, stalagmites, “helectites”, and “helegmites”. You will also find wonderful fabric-shaped calcite draperies. If the heat outside is almost unbearable, the freshness of the caves is much appreciated.
-The fauna and flora of the park
Some inaccessible chasms have allowed several species of plants and animals to live harmoniously. The vegetation of the karst plateau is composed of invasive plants, as well as Malagasy Canarium, pandamus, vines, aerial orchids and baobabs that you could discover by following the botanical paths. 10 species of lemurs have found refuge there, including the grey hapalemur, the eulemur fulvus and the northern lepilemur. The “White-Breasted Mesite” (an endemic species) is one of 92 bird species that inhabit the park. You may encounter Fosa and chameleons on your way. In the rivers live a troglodyte fauna, some species of which have no pigments or eyes. Prepare to meet bats in the caves. 13 species have been identified in the park. Be careful, 6 meters long crocodiles live in some rivers.