Tsingy de Bemaraha: The Small Tsingy

The Small Tsingy among the Tsingy de Bemaraha National park is located near the entrance of Bekopaka village. With its magnificent formation, it can immediately catch your attention from a distance on the road before taking the small ferry in the gorge of Manambolo. Tsingy is a formation of fissured limestone done by the raising groundwater and also the result of the erosion by wind and rains. Due to that erosion, the rocks become sharp — pointed and the altitude of this marvel of nature is variable for a peak to another. What is incredible with this rock-park is that trees and other endemic plants grow between limestone adding a softer vibe to the park.

How to get there?

Small Tsingy is like a “starter” if you’ll spend a tour to the Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park. To go there, you ‘ll have 3 options of itinerary. The easiest is going from the South-West from Morondava, where you’ll drive through an off-road that gives you enough opportunity to enjoy the gorgeous landscape with baobabs. The second option is from Akavandra where you’ll take canoes to navigate through the Manambolo river until Bekopaka. The third route is from Tsiroanomandidy, you’ll reach Antsahalova through a rather high off-road then the driver leads you to the North of the entrance of the park. If you seek for an adventure and looking for new exploit, the third itinerary will fit you.

The Small Tsingy © Alberto A.

What to see?

This Small Tsingy has a phenomenal fauna and flora, it is a shelter of a numerous plants like pachypodium , varieties of baobabs, flamboyant richly colored through a labyrinth of limestones which brings real beauty to the park. It is covered with a dry deciduous forest and serves as a home to nearly 650 plant species, most of which are endemic and typical of arid zones. You will see dwarf trees to large trees that try to survive in this dry and arid climate, by storing as much water as possible. These plants seem to live in slow motion while waiting for the rain to come. Life in this maze of limestone fascinates botanists around the world. This oasis of vegetation and biodiversity gives a contrast with the monotonous gray of the limestone which is home of many animals.

In this territory, 53 species of birds coexist with reptiles, tiny frogs, fishes in translucid water between rocks, as well as mammals. During your trip, there are some good chances to spot the Decken’s sifaka and red-fronted brown lemurs. At the end of the day, you can climb to a viewpoint and watch the sunset, where you may have opportunities to see brown lemurs climbing over the rocks and leaping from a spire to another.

The difference between Big and Small Tsingy

The most frequently asked question about Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park is about the difference between Big and Small Tsingy. There are three main points that differ Small Tsingy to the Big Tsingy even they are both a park of limestone formation which belongs to Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park. One of the biggest difference would be the accessibility, the scenery to see and the right time to visit the two parks.

Small Tsingy, is the most accessible section of “Tsingy de Bemaraha National park” because the route that you will take is in a less altitude, less than 30 meters to climb. Here you’ll have opportunities to spot more rare plants included pachypodium, palms in some area of the park and also you’ll see water reserve between rocks where fishes are spotted easily in a crystalline water which appears as if it is a big aquarium. At some top of the Small Tsingy, you’ll have a large view to this park of limestone and may have a sensational view to the gorge of Manambolo. No specific equipment is required for the tour except for your camera, sunglasses and hat! You can do the visit in the morning or in the afternoon as in your convenience because it’s less hot inside this park.

View from the Small Tsingy to the gorge of Manambolo © Dominique Djiva Kamal

Big Tsingy has more adventure to offer. If you want to follow the vast tours inside the park: you‘ll have to climb gradually to a quite high needle that can reach 60 meters (around 150 foot). Don’t be afraid you’ll be provided with necessary equipment at the place for your safety like harness and belt for climbing. You’ll have more opportunities to see lemurs and other animals like bats and endemic birds. Also, the breathtaking view at the Big Tsingy onto the whole park is so terrific. The best moment is at the hanging bridge that is about 25 meters above the ground so be sure that you do not have vertigo to cross that! The best suggested time to visit the Big Tsingy is only early in the morning to fight against the hot temperature between rocks at the sunshine that can be harmful to your skin and your health.

Even if access to the region of the Tsingy is seasonal and a little difficult, the rich biodiversity that the Tsingy de Bemaraha National park remains an invitation for those who are keen on adventure, nature and scenic landscapes. The small tsingy, an integral part of this National park is a sanctuary for fauna and flora. Less difficult about the way to take than the other sites of this National Park, let yourself be guided by trails through trees and succulents, in looking for lemurs and birds. Punctuate the walks with a few breaks at the top of the tsingy to admire the beauty of the wild landscape. An adventure that promises to be unforgettable.

These two parks offer different vibes but both are undeniably magnificent. SO if you’re having a hard time choosing between these two then why not just experience both? Book a tailored trip with us and let’s get your adventure started!