Overview – Tsimanampetsotsa NP

Philip Briggs
Expert
By Philip Briggs

Philip is a renowned Africa expert and author of many guidebooks to African destinations, including the Insight guide to Madagascar.

Philip is a renowned Africa expert and author of the Insight Guide to Madagascar.

Philip is the author of the Insight Guide to Madagascar.

Tsimanampetsotsa National Park’s centerpiece is the shallow alkaline lake of the same name. The lake is home to an abundance of birds, including flocks of greater and lesser flamingo. The park also protects a large area of pristine spiny forest with a high number of endemic succulent plants. Dancing Verreaux's sifaka and ring-tailed lemurs are wildlife highlights. More of a curiosity is the blind sleeper goby, a blind fish unique to one specific sacred cave.

Best Time to Go May to October (Cooler)
High Season July, August and December (The park doesn't get busy)
Size 432km² / 167mi²
Altitude -2-269m / -7-883ft

Pros & Cons

  • Pristine spiny forest
  • Lots of wildlife and great birding
  • Several hiking circuits available
  • Cave diving available to experienced divers
  • It gets very hot, which can be a challenge on longer hikes
  • No accommodation inside the park, only camping
  • Inaccessible, off-the-beaten-track destination

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Wildlife

The park is home to 24 mammal species. The Verreaux’s sifaka and ring-tailed lemur are the most conspicuous and are active during the day, but lemur species to look out for at night include white-footed sportive lemur, fat-tailed dwarf lemur and grey-brown mouse lemur. Night walks are specifically recommended because of the chance to see the endangered Grandidier's vontsira. Lots of reptiles inhabit the spiny forest as well, including radiated and spider tortoise.

Scenery

Botanists will enjoy the unique flora of the large spiny forest. There are some spectacular baobab trees dotted around the limestone plateau and a particular point of interest is an enormous banyan tree with spectacular roots growing above the ground. There are several viewpoints over the soda lake which doubles in size in the Wet season and a sacred cave, Mitoho Grotto, gives way to a pool with unique blind fish.

Weather & Climate

Tsimanampetsotsa NP has a hot dry climate, typical of the southwest of Madagascar. Rain comes as a welcome relief in the hot Wet season months from November to March. These months see an average daytime temperature of 33°C/91°F. The Dry season is more comfortable with temperatures about 5°C/41°F cooler on average.

Best Time to Visit

Tsimanampetsotsa is open throughout the year. It is very hot in the Wet season, so the cooler Dry season months, from April to October, offer better hiking conditions. This is also the time flamingos are present on the lake. The Wet season months tend to be better to see reptiles and lemurs active at night.

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Tsimanampetsotsa NP Safari Reviews

  • Expert Rating
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    0 Reviews
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
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  • User Rating
    0.0/5
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  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding