In the northern part of Madagascar, at about one hour driving of Antsiranana, you will find the amazing site of Tsingy Rouge. A beautiful creation of nature caused by human interference in nature.
What are tsingies?
Simply explained the tsingies at Tsingy rouge are sandstone formations of red laterite caused by erosion. The sandstone formation rise as a big collection of stalagmites above the red clay making it a unique sight.
Will the tsingies be there for long?
That is something that is hard to tell. The area is very sensitive for more erosion. So during the next decennials for sure more red tsingies will be revealing themselves due to this erosion. Though the tsingies here are from sandstone and still relatively soft and thus very vulnerable. Madagascar sometimes suffer from heavy storms and cyclones which can flood the area. When this area is struck by cyclones and floodings there can be done some severe damage to the area. While visiting the tsingy rouge it is forbidden to touch or even climb on top of the tsingies to avoid any damage to them.
Are this the only tsingies in Madagascar?
No. Although tsingies are a typical geological phenomenon in Madagascar, these aren't the only tsingies in this country. You can also find tsingies in Ankarana National Park and in the Bemaraha national park. Though these tsingies are gray and not red like the ones in Tsingy Rouge, which makes it an unique sight.
What does Tsingy mean?
The name Tsingy derives from the local language and literally means 'To Walk on Toes'. The other tsingies, not the one of Tsingy Rouge, are from stones which tops can be as sharp as a razorblade and can really give mean and dangerous cuts and injuries. Besides this the temperatures of the stones can raise up to high temperatures. Indigenous living in this area had to cross the area with extreme care and passed them on their tips of their toes, hence the name.
How to get to Tsingy Rouge?
Tsingy Rouge is situates at around 60km or one hour driving west from Antsiranana, also known as Diego Suarez. The first part of the road is pretty o.k. Thought the last 10km is only accessible by a 4x4 car or motorbike. The road is unpaved, bumpy and during rainy season totally inaccessible. So when here during the raining season, be sure you are well informed of the accessibility. You will find touroperators in Antsiranana who can offer you a tour in Tsingy Rouge. It will be like a half day tour. 1 Hour to get there, 2 hours of visiting and 1 hour to get back to Antsiranana.
You can also visit Tsingy Rouge on the way to Ankarana National Park. It is situated at 10km from the road which brings you from Antsiranana to Ankarana. Though, again, make sure you have the right kind of transport.
What to take with you?
The hike itself is quite easy. From the parking spot you just follow a short trail down to the tsingies. It is like not even a 10 minute walk to get there and it is doable for everyone. Though the soil is, like mentioned before, is red clay. So it is advisable before going down to wear shoes with a good grip. Further it is wise to wear a hat or cap because the sun can be very strong. Also, for the same reason, it is wise to bring and use sunblock and sufficient water to drink.
Where to stay?
Directly around the Tsingy Rouge you won't be able to find much of a lodging. So the best place to look for a place to stay is in Antsiranana. This is the biggest city in the north of Madagascar with plenty of opportunities to find a place to stay. Daily there are flights from the Antananarivo, the capital of the country, to Antsiranana.
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