Tsimanampetsotsa National Park, in the south west of Madagascar, is usually included as part of a safari to the ‘deep south’. A vacation stop in Tsimanampetsotsa can also incorporate the Berenty Reserve and the Andohahela Special Reserve, all of which lie in a particularly beautiful region dominated by a unique semi-arid habitat of spiny forest and wetlands that give rise to a host of bizarre and highly-adapted plants and animals found nowhere else on Earth.
Lake Tsimanampetsotsa lies at the heart of Tsimanampetsotsa. It is a saline lake with no outlet that has no fish life due to its unusual chemistry. Instead this wetland – listed on the Ramsar list of internationally important wetlands –sustains a population of pink- and dwarf flamingos and other wading birds. Another unusual and beautiful sight is the bottle tree, endemic in the Tsimanampetsotsa National Park, and typical of the spiny thicket that dominates the limestone escarpment adjacent to Lake Tsimanampetsotsa.
90 percent of species found in Tsimanampetsotsa are endemic to the park – an incredible claim that places it high on any holiday itinerary. The spiny thickets eco-region in Madagascar is particularly astounding. Discover 2000 year-old baobabs, a ficus tree grove with roots that extend into a sinkhole river system where ring tailed lemurs come to drink; the large, but rare, radiated tortoise – considered the most beautiful tortoise in the world, the Grandidier’s mongoose, that sleeps in burrows during the day to shelter from the heat, whilst at night cat-like fossas creep through trees. A safari to Madagascar is incomplete without a stop at Lake Tsimanampetsotsa National Park.