Go on an adventure in the Special Reserve of Ankarana

special reserve of Ankarana

The Ankarana Special Reserve is in the North of the Diana region. Tsingy, sacred lake, botanical trail, canyons and sink holes of Andohalambo, caves and subterranean rivers, bats, and crocodiles make it a unique area to visit. It has the largest underground network in Africa and is a tourist destination for the more adventurous. This site is managed by Madagascar National Parks (MNP) and covers 18,225 ha.

An astonishing limestone formation surmounted by sharp Tsingy and traversed by caves, this reserve was born under the sea, one hundred and fifty million years ago. The formation of tectonic sand stones has evolved over time and climate change.

special reserve of Ankarana

Unique species have evolved in spite of the dryness and the darkness, sheltered between the Tsingy. Bats, lemurs, and crocodiles have adapted to the life of the caves giving the Ankarana a special cachet.

The formed caves with stalagmites, stalactites and draperies of calcite also used to be a place of refuge for the Antankarana. Thanks to its royal burials, many cavities have a sacred character which make this a renowned cultural site.

The 'Loss of the river', the gigantic water-like feature of the Roman amphitheatre, water-sculpted and the weather will amaze with its natural beauty. 

If you're passionate about adventures of a wild nature, the Special Reserve of Ankarana is a must-visit with its forest of stone and suspended bridge.

This article was featured in Prime Magazine Sept 2017

Useful Information

When to go

Enjoying a dry climate and open all year round, this gem of Madagascar's biodiversity allows you to enjoy the 14 different circuits that are offered to discover the beauty of the Special Reserve of Ankarana. Open from 8 am to 4 pm, the Madagascar National Parks team will give you a warm welcome.

How to get there

You can go by car from Antananarivo taking the RN4 road to Ambondromamy (410km), turn right on the RN6 to Ambilobe (609km) and continue to the village of Mahamasina. Or by plane on a regular Antananarivo-Antsiranana flight, landing at Arrachart airport, then transfer by car (private, bush taxi) to the Reserve.

Where to stay

For the more adventurous, opt for camping in the Reserve where you could wake up to the sound of wild animals. As an option, book low-budget hotels and hotels in the vicinity of Mahamasina.

Where to eat

To visit the Ankarana Special Reserve, have a light meal (sandwiches, bottle of water) and enjoy the spectacle offered to you by the magnificent biodiversity. Alternatively, you can also enjoy the various restaurants in Mahamasina.

What to see

Visit the Ankarana Special Reserve for the dry dense forest, the canyon forest, the Tsingy and the unique species that have evolved. Other parks and special reserves in the surrounding area: The National Parc La Montage d’Ambre and the special reserve Manongarivo.