Red Tsingys

On the edge of the Analamerana National Park, between the towns of Ambilobe and Antsiranana (Diego Suarez), lie the red Tsingys (French Tsingy rouge) in the Diana region. It is only 50 km from Antsiranana, but on an increasingly bad road.

It is a photographically very worth seeing formation of several hundred small sandstone needles. Unlike the other Tsingys of Madagascar, the red Tsingys are not made of limestone and are much smaller, they lie only in a single gorge. The red colour comes from the laterite earth and looks best when the sun shines on the needles. The curious formation was not discovered until the middle of the 20th century, when landslides uncovered the Tsingys in the course of extensive slash-and-burn clearance. Since they are sandstone, they are gradually worn away by wind and weather. At the same time, however, “new” Tsingys appear again and again due to further erosions in the gorge, which, just like the present ones, waited for their discovery for centuries in hibernation under the earth.

Meanwhile there are even three small covered picnic areas on site, only the way to the red Tsingys is still a bit difficult: 17 km from the RN6 completely off road over the Sahafary plateau. An off-road car is therefore obligatory, the journey takes about an hour. Those who like it a bit more adventurous can also take one of the many Renault R4 taxis. How these old cars manage the quite sometimes quite demanding track remains their secret. The visit costs 10.000 Ariary (about 3-4 €) per person and is to be paid in a small house directly at the beginning of the off road route.

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