Tag Archives: Africa

Tsingy, a Madagascar marvel !

With information technologies & internet developing like anything, many unseen unheard locations are ‘virtually’ getting uncovered. Still the planet Earth encompasses countless hidden gems of locations within its sphere. Whatever may be the advances in technologies, Mother Nature continues to prove that it is the ultimate artist. Time and again Nature amazes us with innumerable varieties of natural phenomena. Such a kind of natural wonder is ‘Tsingy’, the limestone forest.
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This is not a movie-set or an ancient lost city…. but a spectacular stone forest – a wonderland in the island nation of Madagascar in the African continent.

The ‘Bemaraha National Park’, a nature reserve located near the western coast of Madagascar, houses this 700 square meters big region of exceptional topography.

In Malagasy local language, the term ‘Tsingy’ means something that cannot be walked on bare foot, or to be precise, should be walked on tiptoes! Rightly so, as the top of these highland limestone peaks (most of them standing about 70 meters tall) are bare and razor sharp – no room for normal walks… but highly enjoyable for avid adventurers.

Tingly limestone forest’s roofing is rough & tough nevertheless; but at its lesser heights and unexplored bottom portion, resides some of the strangest species of insects, reptiles …..…

…….. and ‘lemurs’ (Madagascar’s unique animals), supplemented with some vegetation. All together, a totally different kind of world!

Around the world, stone forest is a very rare geographical wonder. Other than Madagascar’s Tingly, just a few exists such as Russia’s ‘Lena Pillars Nature Park’ and China’s ‘Shilin stone forest’ – both known for their crude beauty. However, Tingly closely outscores its contemporaries in terms of its vastness and the plentiful tall & slender peaks.

Acknowledged as a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO, Tsingy is undoubtedly a tourist’s heartthrob in Africa.

Kruger National Park, wildlife at its best

The continent of Africa is not only known for the incomparable Sahara desert, but also for its abundant wildlife. A prime example of this is ‘Kruger National Park’ in South Africa, abode of amazing wildlife.

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Located in the north-east of South Africa and bordered by Zimbabwe and Mozambique, the 112 years old Kruger National Park is one of the largest of its kind in the whole world (around 2 million hectares in size), even larger than quite a few countries!

It is not just the size or virginal nature that makes this National Park truly well-known… It is the diversity of wildlife, harmoniously blended with historical and archaeological sites – unrivalled in Africa.

Indeed, the statistics reveal an impressive species-list: 1982 species of plants, 114 species of reptiles (including 3000+ crocodiles), 34 species of amphibians, 50 species of fish .…. above all, 147 species of mammals (the most in an African wild reserve) with endangered ones like the African Wild Dog, and 517 species of birds!

Kruger is a rare abode where all the elite ‘Big Five’ animals (the term referring to “five most difficult animals in Africa to hunt on foot” – African Lion, African Elephant, Cape Buffalo, Leopard and Rhinoceros),

….. together with the ‘Big Six’ in birding (Ground Horn bill, Kori Bustard, Lappet-faced Vulture, Martial Eagle, Pel’s Fishing Owl and Saddle-bill Stork).

Armed with such an enviable diversity, Kruger National Parks offers truly rewarding wildlife safari experiences, debated as the best in Africa as well as many other regions across the globe.

Here most of the wildlife trails are overnight – lasting several days in areas of dense wilderness, practically untouched by humans! Really an indescribable African experience ‘at its most wild’ !

Good times ahead for wildlife enthusiasts and naturalists. Kruger is now part of the Great Limpopo Trans-frontier Park, a peace park that links this National Parks with its neighbors in Zimbabwe and Mozambique. Here fences are slowly coming down … animals can roam around more freely in near future, in much the same way as it would have been before human intervention.