The Tsimanampetsotsa Nature Reserve: a southern treasure.

Friday, 02 April 2021
Tsimanampetsotsa National park Tsimanampetsotsa National park ONTM

Located 90 km south of Toliara, Tsimanampetsotsa National park is a 432 sq.km reserve that lies on the south-west of Madagascar in the Atsimo Andrefana region.

The park gained its status as a protected site in 1927 thanks to its rich and unique biodiversity with remarkable endemic fauna and flora. Then, it became a national park in 1966. The site is so exceptional that it has been registered within the Ramsar site or as a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance in 1998. Its landscape encompasses an important wetland known as the lake Tsimanampetsotsa that fits well with its xerophytic vegetation and its singular animal species. The Lake is a saline and quite shallow water located in the heart of the park and extended over an area of approximately 6,000 hectares. The water is highly mineralized and moderately alkaline with a ph value of around 8. It is also the only lake saturated with lime sulphate that now exists in Madagascar (ramsar.org).

Apart from the known salty lake that is part of the nature reserve, there are other zones that compose Tsimanampetsotsa National park which include Mahafaly plateau edge and Mahafaly plateau. The Mahafaly plateau edge is at the foot of Mahafaly plateau which is in the east of the lake basin and where an abundance of calcareous cliff with vegetation made up mostly of shrubs and caves with freshwater are present.

A rich biodiversity with a high rate of endemism

The park is home to many endemic endangered species. 72 species of birds are spotted, 40 species of reptiles and five species of lemur. The lake is home to two vulnerable species of birds: Charadrius thorasius (vulnerable) and Phoeniconiais minor (almost endangered). The Mahafaly plateau – the area of a large deposit of underground water and species – shelters the vulnerable bird Coua Verreauxi as well which is considered almost endangered by the Red Book of Birds.

The rare blind fish “Typhleotris madagascariensis” dwelling in the unenlightened cave of Tsimanampetsotsa is also visible in the area. Other animal species that can be explored in the site include the lemur species “maki catta” and the radiate turtles (Geochelone radiate).

As far as the flora is concerned, the park nestles numerous endemic plants. Indeed, the reserve of Tsimanampetsotsa has been estimated to have the highest level of plant endemism in Madagascar, with 95 percent endemic species. There are 185 species of plants from 65 families, including the Octopus tree from the member of Didieraceae family, the flowering plant species “Delonix regia” belonging to the Fabaceae family, and the majestic baobab from Malvaceae family which measures up to 10 meters long.

Activities available in the park

The park abounds in circuits that are accessible to visitors. Hiking, trekking, and cave diving are the most common activities that the park offers. You can try up to five circuits, which enable tourists to discover the breathtaking landscapes of Tsimanampetsotsa nature reserve along with its diverse exceptional wildlife species. These include: the Andaka circuit, the Andalamaike circuit, the Andranomaike circuit, the Emande circuit and the Tsiamaso circuit.

To reach the National park of Tsimanampetsotsa, take the NR10 heading to “Faux Cap” which passes directly by the park. No way to miss it! Indeed, it is both accessible by car and boat from Tulear and Anakao.

 

Sources: Madagascar National Parks / ONTM / Ramsar sites Information Service

Read 346 times Last modified on Friday, 02 April 2021 06:44
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This website was funded by a grant from the United States Department of State. The opinions, findings and conclusions stated herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the United States Department of State.