Did You Know About the Forest of Knives

Madagascar holds many secrets up its sleeve
The Forest of Knives in Madagascar
The Forest of Knives in Madagascar

Animation movies have often piqued the interest of travellers in Madagascar and rightly so. With a variety of landscapes in Madagascar, one can not help but out the country on their bucketlist. And amidst these various wonders is the Forest of Knives. The Tsingy de Bemaraha is also known as the Forest of Knives. The word Tsingys is indigenous to the Malagasy language and in English loosely translates to &lsquowhere one cannot walk barefoot&rsquo. And if you&rsquore wondering what these knives are, they are limestone formations. 

Located along the west coast, the &lsquoknives&rsquo are the result of approximately 200 million years of heavy tropical rainfall erosions. It is believed that the ground water from heavy rainfall entered the porous limestones and eventually caves and tunnels were created. But when the roofs of these tunnels and caves collapsed, giant spires emerged showcasing what stands today.  

These forests are home to sharp, knife-like formations that stretch high up in the air and are also one of the least visited areas in the world owing to the razor sharp giant spires. While generally forests are found with lush green cover, the forest of knives are characterised by maze like corridors, humid caves and razors on the ground. The razors or knives are sharp enough to tear through equipment and flesh easily, making the place out of reach for all. One fo the most dangerous places on the planet, it has been estimated that the forest has the largest underground cave system in the world. Navigating into the forest is complex, with tight spots in place. 

The unexplored cave system here stretches for miles, with humidity and dampness and barely any vegetation here. But when talking about wildlife, it is surprising to see that certain species of spiders, lizards, snakes, lemurs and birds have adapted to the harsh conditions and exist here. Some of the endemic plant and animal species here are also found clinging to the steep slopes formed by the limestones.

Although mostly the forest remains unexplored, it is the southern part that is relatively unexplored, with barely and access points. In case you do decide to venture in be sure to be careful as it is quite easy to get lost in here. The Tsingy de Bemaraha is also a Unesco World Heritage Site &mdash comprising of the national park as well as the adjacent nature reserve.

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