Baie de Baly
Tsingy de Namoroka
Cap Sainte Marie
Montagne et Forêt d’Ambre
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Cap Sainte Marie
The Special Reserve of Cape Saint Marie, also known as Cape Vohimena, is located in the extreme South of the southern tip of Madagascar. It is a dwarf vegetation Reserve and the kingdom of the turtles. GPS between 25°36’ South and 49°09’ East
Cape Saint Marie, 1 750 ha is 63 km South of Tsihombe, 230 km from Fort-Dauphin in the Province of Toliara, Region of the Androy.
The index of the fauna of the Reserve of Sainte Marie is a fairy small. But some endemic species and endangered emerge from the share. Among the birds which counts 14 species, we can find the Verreaux’s Coua and Monticolla imerinus. It is besides in this Reserve that we can see the traces of the famous elephant bird, Aepyornis sp. Among the birds of Madagascar, this one reached a mythical renown, with its stature of 3m and its egg that took a titanic dimensions: it could contain 8 liters of volume, and was nine times larger than a chicken egg. Whole eggs and pieces of shell have been found in the sand dunes of of the Cape Sainte Marie. Scientists think that this gigantic bird lived in Madagascar, 700 years ago. Hunting had wiped them out.
The whales as well are part of the treasures of Cape Sainte Marie. Every year, from August to November, Hump Backed Whales with their youngs pass through this south extreme tip of Madagascar. It is a unique show in its kind, don't miss it. Still among the mammals, Microcebus murinus is one of the rare species of lemurs of the Reserve, and the only nocturnal species that is known with Microcebus griseorufus. But we can also also count three species of Tenrecideae: Tenrec ecaudatus, Setifer setosus, and Echinops telfairi there.
3000 turtles in one km²!
Among the leading species of Cape Sainte Marie, the experts and the scientists have a preference for the two terrestrial and endemic turtles which are the radiated turtle, Astrochely radiata, of its Malagasy name “Sokake" the shell of which is crossed with multiple rays and the Spider Turtle or Pyxis arachnoïdes called “Kapika”.. These two turtles live along the inshore strip of the Cape Sainte Marie. The radiated tortoise is important, not only as rare animal but also interact in the dissemination of plant. While grazing the plants, it adds nourishing elements to the sterile soils and encourages the germination of the seeds that crosses its digestive device. Cape Sainte Marie is a real heaven for the turtles: the Reserve has one of the strongest densities of the world with 3,000 turtles for square km!
Finally, among the insects, the last census dates to 2002, thanks to the works of a team of researchers, specialists of termites and spiders, in collaboration with WCS. It was the first for Cape Sainte Marie, because generally, researchers and scientists are interested especially in its turtles. This census enable to put into relief the existence of particular species, as termites of the humid forests which have adapted to the dry climate of the South.
The best fauna of Cap Sainte Marie
1. Astrochelys radiata or radiated tortoise. This endemic species of Madagascar has a radiated shell, yellow and black. It measures about 30 cm. Its gestation period is between November and April.
2. Microcebus griseorufus or Songiky. It is a tiny nocturnal lemur of nearly 15 cm. Its fur is brown and its tail turns to orange. Its eyes are red. The Songiky likes to live in group.
3. Acrantophis dumerilii, a boa also known by its Malagasy name, “Do”. It is a long snake of about 320 cm . Its eggs usually hatches between November and December. The Do is a solitary.
4. The Dangalia, or Chalarodon madagascariensis. It is an endemic iguana of Cape Sainte Marie. It measures 200 mm on the average, Its stretched out body is yellow spotted with chestnut.
5. The Fanihy Rousetus madagascariensis of its scientific name is a yellow color bat the size of which goes from 10 to 20 cm. Its period of gestation is located between December and March. The Fanihy is an insectivorous species.
Two endemic local birds are very common at this site such as Verreaux’s Coua Coua verreauxi and the littoral rock-trush Monticola imerinus.
The Cape Sainte Marie Special Reserve is dominated by a spiny bush, a dwarf vegetation and a lined inshore of dune. We can see special species as Aloe millotii, the Liliaceae, the Megistostestegium perrieri and Malvaceae.
The most current spiny plants are the families of Euphorbiaceae and Didieraceae, typical vegetation of the arid South. The connoisseurs and wild nature lovers will marvel at Cape Sainte Marie's famous dwarf baobabs, the great works of Mother Nature bonzaï: the Pachypodeses.
Finally, Cape Sainte Marie is the earth of predilection of the famous pink periwinkle, the Catharantus roseus. This rare plant is used to fight against leukemia, combining its beauty thus with its medicinal virtues.
The best flora of Cap Sainte Marie
1. The Tatao, of its scientific name Zygophyllum depauperatum is a plant with round and obstinate leaves. It is endemic to Cape Sainte Marie. November and is its germination period. It bares its fruits in July.
2. The Famehelolo or Barleria humbertii is a rampant and endemic plant, spiny of the South of Madagascar, 8m to 12m high. September is its season of germination; it bares its fruits in October.
3. The Fatidronono, known by the scientists as Tabernaemontana modesta is a plant of white latex, of about 2m of height. Its leaf is green and turns to yellow during haymaking. The Fatidronono, endemic species to Madagascar blooms between September and October. It bares its fruits in the month of June.
4. The Lambakoake or Jumellea sp is an endemic orchid to the South. Epiphyte, it grows on the rocks of Cape Sainte Marie and gives astonishment through its pretty white flowers that bloom between December and April.
The heat is suffocating in Cape Sainte Marie: 38°C For a temperature, it is a temperature! Also, for your visit, dress yourselves light, have a hat and a solar cream, mineral water packs and of course your swimsuit. All along your visits in the reserve, pay attention to the sores of spiny plants. The nearest banks are in Taolagnaro. The nearest health centers are in Marovato and Soamanitra.
Tsihombe and Beloha are covered with the telephone networks of Telma and Zain.
The story of a Special Reserve
The Special Reserve of Cape Saint Marie was classified as a Special Reserve in 1962, with a total protective statute. Its spiny bush, formed with the Euphorbiaceae, the Didiereaceae, the Zygophyllaceae. Its vegetation consists of dwarf plant species endemic to the region: Euphorbia capsaintemariensis, Milotte Aloe, Commiphora sp, Operculicaria sp. its lined inshore of dune well adapted on the slimy sands of the coastline; The radiated tortoise, Astrochelys radiata, and the spider turtle, Pyxis arachnoides both are classified as Crytically endangered by IUCN are among the flagship species that hold the reserve. There is also the “Vulnerable” ground boa Acrantophis dumerili.
Cape Sainte Marie, land of dwarf plants
The vegetation of Cape Sainte Marie, if it is not particularly varied, has a tendency to dwarfism. And it is especially this dwarf flora that keeps the attention in the Reserve. It is a flora that tamed the arid climate of the south extreme completely. The dwarfism is a reflex of survival, in these extremely dry regions. The whole dwarf vegetation forms a fantastic landscape. Some species are local endemic such as Euphorbia capsaintemariensis, Aloe milottis, Commiphora sp, and Operculicaria sp;
The overexploitation which it is victim of reinforces the importance of the protection of this biodiversity. Cape Sainte Marie is also a Special Reserve invaded by human activities that use the forest resources for their subsistence. In order to limit this dependence, the conservation of the Reserve has been associated to the creation of various projects destined to the surrounding communities, as the fishing promotion and the dry cultures. These projects benefitted nearly 2 120 homes in Marovatos. Antandroy and Mahafaly live in this dry and arid region that is the Cape Sainte Marie. Moreover, "Antandroy" is a name that comes from the spiny nature of the local vegetation. In these hostile regions, this tribe perpetuates an austere pastoral culture in search of water points and new grazings.
It is hot in the Malagasy Southern part, especially on the southern tip. The average temperature is 24°C, with a maximum of 38°C by time of big heat and a minimum of 12°C. There is nosource of permanent water in the whole Reserve. Only a few small streams are formed during the rare rainfalls. Cape Sainte Marie is located in a region of limestone plateau, the rock mother sometimes emerges in the surface to give numerous and big tiles of limestone. Soil is essentially made of the deterioration of the mother rock and red sand deposit.
The microprojects of Cap Sainte Marie
Antananarivo – Cape Sainte Marie is a three days journey on a secondary road in good condition.
By Road :
Antananarivo- Cape Sainte Marie.
Take the National Road N°7, toward Toliara. Branch of in Ihosy, then join the National Road N°13 until Ambovombe. Reach Tsihombe following the National Road N°10, fork then toward Marovato. A second bifurcation takes you toward Ankatravitra and a third, in Bevazoa, close to Cape Saint Marie.
Toliara- Cape Sainte Marie. It’s a two days journey
Take the National Road N° 7, toward Antananarivo. Bifurcate in Andranovory and pursue the National Road N° 10 until Beloha. Reach Soamanitsa, then Bevazoa, close to Cape Saint Marie.
By Taxi-brousse :
- From Fort Dauphin: at Ampamakiambato
- From Antananarivo : at Fasan’ny Karana, Route Digue
- From Toliara : At Sans Fils
- From Ambovombe : At Berary
- From Tsihombe : At Emaosy
- From Antanarivo to Ambovombe : Monday, Thursday and saturday
- From Ambovombe to Toliara : Monday, Thursday and saturday
- From Toliara to Ambovombe / Tsihombe : Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday
- From Ambovombe / Tsihombe to Toliara : Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday
- From Tsihombe to Marovato : Saturday
By Plane :
The Air Madagascar Company assures a regular flight toward Taolagnaro or Toliara. The transfer toward the Special Reserve Cape Saint Marie is done by car. It is a journey of 230 km from Taolagnaro that's 7 hours drive by 4x4 car, and 420 km fromToliara that's 2 days by 4x4 car.
The Reserve of Cape Sainte Marie has two circuits. The tariffs of the carriers must be negotiated in place.
|The circuit of the Cape
||Distance and duration : 1km of trekking for 1h to 45mn
The track crosses the dwarf vegetation of the Reserve. It is a bit spectacular that gives you the impression of visiting a prairie of natural bonzaïs. Lovers of birds and reptiles can bring their binoculars and cameras, the circuit of the Cape will make you see… of all colors! Finally, between August and November, this circuit will lead you toward the coasts of Cape Sainte Marie where the Hump Backed Whales make their annual show. The landscape is equally excellent, the extreme South of this feature was amazed by the potential for adaptation of its biodiversity.
|Tariff of guidance :
Ar 5,000 /guide.(1 to 5 people)
|The circuit of the cave
||Distance et duration : 3km in 3hours.
This circuit will be pleasing to the curious, because it will make you discover the botanical garden where the remnants of the eggs of Aepyornis is buried, this giant bird of Madagascar, who lived there over half a millennium. Spiny Bush, inshore dunes, underground cave and sacred rocks are also in the program. In this Reserve where 3,000 turtles live within km2, you won't risk to miss them on this circuit. Finally, from August to November, you will also get the great parade of the Hump Backed whales.
| Tariff of guidance: 7.000 Ar/guide (1 to 5 people)
Madagascar National Parks has its office in Ampasikabo, in Taolagnaro. Another office of welcome is in the Special Reserve of Cape Sainte Marie, where you will be able to organize your stay in the Reserve. Three guides and four French-speaking or English-speaking agents work there.
For your lodging, we set up camping area available for the two circuits.
Bevazoa camp: 4 tents of 2 places
Tarrifs: Ar 10,000 /tent/night
Restaurants and hotels are open in Lavanono and in Faux Cape, from basic to the most comfortable: single or double room with television, hot water and private sanitary.
Madagascar National Parks Inter Regional Direction in Toliary
Rue LEDA Albert – BP 400
Tél : + (261 20) 94 435 70
Fax : + (261 20) 94 430 32
Special Reserve Cap Sainte Marie: (BLU : 5200 usb)
BP 12 – 621 Tsihombe ou
PN Andohahela: BP 73 – Ampasikabo 614 Tolagnaro
Chief of Reserve: ANDRIAHERY Randriamalaza
Tél.: + (261 32) 40 934 03
What more to visit in Cape Sainte Marie? Here is our selection.
- The Faux Cape. It is 28 km South of Tsihombes and 53 km of Cape Sainte Marie. It is accessible by car, by taxi or, for the most courageous, by cart and on foot. You will love Faux Cape for its golden and hot beach and its passionate history. There are small traditional fisher villages all around.
- Lavanono. This beach is 25 km west of Cape Sainte Marie, South of Beloha. You can join it by car, by cart, by taxi or on foot. The round waves of the sea of Lavanono are ideal to surf. Small villages of fishers are established all around.
Then, to your swimsuits and your boards of surfing!
The regional handicraft is specialized in sculpture and in basketwork that you will be able to buy during the days of market, every day in Tsihombe and Beloha, every Saturday in Marovato and every Sunday in Soamanitra. Finally, for the pleasure taste buds, enjoy the inhabitant luscious local kitchen the "Varanga" that is a dish based on beef tapered..
If you visit Cape Sainte Marie in December, take part in the "Talango Hare ". It is a festival dedicated to the promotion of the region, with traditional music and dances in the program. You will love the nice atmosphere and friendly hospitality of the inhabitants..