Ankarana …

Way back in the Jurassic the area that is now Ankarana was the floor of a shallow sea. This resulted in the deposition of  limestone more than 200 metres thick. The break up of Gondwana got underway at the end of the Jurassic, about 150 million years ago. The limestone has weathered to produce a karst landscape – caves, sinkholes, underground rivers. And where the limestone is uncovered the surface is very sharp and there are many pinnacles, the local term is tsingy from the Malagasy for a place where walking in bare feet is a really bad idea. What an economical language Malagasy must be.

The tsingy share the landscape with deciduous forest and all the good things that occur in the remaining Madagascan forest.

The Ankarana Special Reserve was declared in 1956 and protects about 182 km2. It has an annual rainfall that averages about 2,000 mm (79 in). Don’t forget the raincoat. About 100km of cave network has been mapped, some of which are home to Nile Crocodiles. It boasts 11 species of lemur and 14 species of bat. One species of Baobab is found only here, Andansonia perrieri.

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You should be getting quite expert at this by now … the answer’s below.

The view across an expanse of stingy …

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And some of the denizens of the forest …

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Sanford’s Brown Lemur above, Crowned Lemur below.

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We ventured into one of the caves where we were warmly received by the locals …

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At Ankarana we stayed at Ankarana Lodge, nice rooms, nice gardens and very enjoyable swimming pool. The restaurant next door did a splendid job of feeding us, especially considering the distance to the nearest significant shops.

And for anyone struggling to find the Leaf-tailed Gecko …

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