Tsingy de Bemaraha is a strict nature reserve, established for the purpose of research, and left completely in its natural state. It is situated 70 km inland from the west coast in the northern sector of Antsingy region of the Bemaraha Plateau, north of the Manambolo River Gorge.
The Tsingy de Bemaraha Reserve is a karst landscapes, limestone peaks and tsingy extrusions. This massif is ends to the east at the abrupt Bemaraha Cliffs, some 400 meters above the Manambolo River valley, extending several kilometres from north to south. Rivers, both seasonal and permanent, flow through the reserve and and several springs find their base at the tsingy. The Tsingy is an important water catchment for surrounding lands, and these undisturbed lakes and mangrove swamps are the habitat for rare or endangered lemurs and birds.
The Tsingy area was first established as a strict nature reserve on 31 December 1927, and is now protected and inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List of 1990. Since then, the southern part of the protected area of Tsingy has been turned into a national park that covers over 660 square km.
While the species diversity is not as high as in the moist eastern forests, the levels of endemism in Tsingy are higher. The Tsingy de Bemaraha Reserve is an important habitat for 131 of the 186 resident terrestrial bird species listed for Madagascar. Several of these species are associated with lakes and rivers of the region, such as the Manambolo, Betsiboka, Mahajamba, and their satellite lakes. These species include Bernier’s teal, the Madagascar fish eagle, Humblot’s heron, and the sakalava rail.
Endemic mammal species to the Tsingy de Bemaraha Reserve include:
- Golden-crowned sifaka
- Mongoose lemur
- Western forest rat
- Golden-brown mouse lemur
- Northern rufous mouse lemur
- Western rufous mouse lemur
- Perrier’s sifaka