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Ankarana Special Reserve

Ankarana Special Reserve

Ankarana Special Reserve is located near a limestone massif, and is an ‘island’ of tsingy and forest. There are numerous caves and canyons in the massif, of which some caves have collapsed small pockets of river-fed forests with their own protected flora and fauna. The reserve is known for the many lemur species that live there, and it is incredible for birds, reptiles and insects as well.

Everything here is strange and fascinating; the most unique things to see are the tsingy and the caves.

The tsingy are large limestone karst pinnacles, and though found in other countries, Madagascar is one of the best places to see them in the form they are in here. The limestone has small plants that cling to it, but actually seem to grow from the rock, a fascinating sight to see. There are board walks over the tsingy so that you can examine them in detail without destroying the rock and the life they support. These are found near Lac Vert, which is a crater lake that is a bright green, and it is possible to get right to the lake edge.

Unusually for the area, there is red tsingy as well; this is much easier to photograph than the grey tsingy, and whilst it isn’t actually real tsingy, but eroded sandstone, it is still worth a look.

Another must-see are the cavernous Andrafiabe Caves. The caves in this network are joined together by huge passageways that are so open and airy that you almost forget you are underground. It is possible to walk right through the network to Crocodile Cave, and then from here to take an exit path that leads you through the canyons to return to the base. Crystal Cave is also an amazing sight to see, with stalagmites and stalactites that sparkle in light from flashlights, and with bats and small insects in abundance it is an other-worldly experience.

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