Facts and Data

Official Unesco Page

Basis Data:
Unesco World heritage since: 1990
Size of heritage: 152,000 ha

Longitude: 44,750°
Latitude: -17,333°


Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict Nature Reserve comprises karstic landscapes and limestone uplands cut into impressive 'tsingy' peaks and a 'forest' of limestone needles, the spectacular canyon of the Manambolo river, rolling hills and high peaks. The undisturbed forests, lakes and mangrove swamps are the habitat for rare and endangered lemurs and birds.

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The Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict Nature Reserve is a UNESCO World Heritage site located in the Centre Ouest region of Madagascar, specifically in the Fivondronana d’Antsalova and the Faritany de Mahajanga. This unique reserve is known for its extraordinary geological formations, diverse ecosystems, and rich biodiversity. In this article, we will explore the history of this heritage site and its current state.


The Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict Nature Reserve was established as a protected area in 1927, during the French colonial period. It was initially designated as a forest reserve to protect the unique limestone formations and the diverse flora and fauna found within its boundaries. In 1990, the reserve was expanded and reclassified as a strict nature reserve, emphasizing its importance for conservation.

The name "Tsingy" comes from the Malagasy word meaning "where one cannot walk barefoot." This name perfectly describes the reserve's most distinctive feature – the razor-sharp limestone pinnacles that cover the landscape, creating a surreal and otherworldly environment.

Current State

The Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict Nature Reserve is considered one of the most important protected areas in Madagascar and is recognized as a global biodiversity hotspot. It covers an area of approximately 1,575 square kilometers and is home to a wide range of unique plant and animal species.

The reserve's limestone formations, known as karsts, are the result of millions of years of erosion. These karsts have created a maze of jagged peaks, deep canyons, and hidden caves, making it a challenging and fascinating landscape to explore. The reserve is also intersected by several rivers, which have further shaped the terrain.

The biodiversity within the Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict Nature Reserve is exceptional. It is home to numerous endemic species, including the critically endangered Madagascar fish eagle and the Decken's sifaka, a type of lemur. The reserve also supports a variety of reptiles, amphibians, and bird species.

Due to its remote location and challenging terrain, the reserve remains relatively untouched by human activity. However, there are ongoing efforts to promote sustainable tourism and conservation in the area. Visitors can explore the reserve through a network of trails and walkways, carefully designed to minimize environmental impact.

Despite its protected status, the Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict Nature Reserve faces several challenges. Illegal logging, hunting, and habitat destruction pose significant threats to the reserve's unique ecosystems. Additionally, climate change and natural disasters, such as cyclones, can have a detrimental impact on the fragile limestone formations and the wildlife that depends on them.


The Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict Nature Reserve in Madagascar is a remarkable UNESCO World Heritage site, known for its stunning limestone formations and exceptional biodiversity. With ongoing conservation efforts and responsible tourism, this unique reserve can continue to thrive and inspire future generations to appreciate and protect the natural wonders of our planet.