The Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park is a national park located in Melaky Region, northwest Madagascar. The national park centers on two geological formations: the Great Tsingy and the Little Tsingy.
Together with the adjacent Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict Nature Reserve, the National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Tsingys are karstic plateaus in which groundwater has undercut the elevated uplands, and has gouged caverns and fissures into the limestone. Because of local conditions, the erosion is patterned vertically as well as horizontally.
In several regions on western Madagascar, centering on this National Park and adjacent Nature Reserve, the superposition of vertical and horizontal erosion patterns has created dramatic “forests” of limestone needles.
The word tsingy is indigenous to the Malagasy language as a description of the karst badlands of Madagascar. The word can be translated into English as where one cannot walk barefoot.
The unusual geomorphology of the Tsingy de Bemaraha World Heritage Site, which encompasses both the National Park and the adjacent Strict Nature Reserve, means that the Site is home to an exceptionally large number of endemic species of plants and animals that are found only within extremely small niches within the tsingys.
For example, the summit, slope, and base of a tsingy’s limestone needle form different ecosystems with different species clinging to their exceptionally steep slopes.