Travel Mada: Ankarana National Park

Why Visit: Ankarana national park in northern Madagascar was established in 1956. Ankarana means the place of rocks, which makes sense as a large portion of the park is made of a large limestone formation that has been eroded away to sharp points. These rocks are called the tsingy, which comes from the Malagasy word to tiptoe. The park features the tisngy as well as lemurs, bats, crocodiles, and caves. The Antakarana people live in this area and lived and fought in the caves when attacked by the Merina people.

Where is it: The park is 90 km south of Diego, or close to 1,000 km north of Tana.

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Getting There: The park can easily be reached from Diego in 2-3 hours or from Ambanja in about the same amount of time. If you have a private car it is possible to do the trip in a day from Diego or Ambanja if you get an early start.

Cost: The entrance fee is 2,000 Ar for residents and 65,000 Ar for non residents. A guide is required and costs 80,000 -124,000  per guide up to four people for the day long trips. We were able to sweet talk the guides into letting us have 2 guides for 10 people.

When to go: The best to go is during the dry season from June to October. The trip can be done during the rainy season, but some parts of the park may not be accessible.

Time and Trails: We did a full day circuit to see where three rivers meet and fall into an underwater cavern. Then a walk along the tsingy and finally to a cave with bats and spiders. Lemurs and reptiles were found along the way all day. Shorter hikes can be done and a hike to the crocodile cave is possible as well.

Fadys in the Park: Visitors can’t bring pork or wild boar into the park. You cannot pee unless in designated areas. Merina people are not allowed in the caves. You cannot wear a hat in the caves.

 

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