Ankarana National Park, Madagascar

Ankarana National Park

Lemurs might be Madagascar’s biggest drawcard, but cave-dwelling crocodiles make Ankarana National Park exceptional. The Ankarana reserve boasts limestone caves, forest-filled canyons and a network of underground rivers. It is said to have the highest density of primates of any forest in the world such as big, green, leaf-tailed geckos, the world’s only known cave-dwelling crocodiles, a good mix of lemur species, and the nocturnal lepilemurs in tree cavities.

Northern Madagascar’s landscape is dotted with limestone spires and gorges. Ankarana National Park is situated on a limestone plateau that abruptly ends at the sheer cliff “Wall of Ankarana” in the west. It gives Ankarana an other-worldly atmosphere that the “tsingy”, a spiky limestone forest, merely reinforces. Ankarana National Park is a popular stop for safaris and a two-hour drive from Diego Suarez.

Ankarana has earned a reputation for its extensive systems of caves – over 100 km of them mapped – created by rivers that are slightly acidic and wind through the limestone formations. Four major rivers run through the park: Ankarana, Besabola, Antenan Ankarana and the underground river Manjeba. Highlights of Madagascar vacation include the sunken forest, that lies between two sections of the Andrafiabé Cave, the crystal cave – with incredibly striking cavern formations – and the bat cave where giant bats live.

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