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Über dieses Buch

The book describes the Ankarana plateau and its cave network in Madagascar, depicting the natural environment of the Plateau as well as the natural processes which created the cave network of more than 100km with many galleries, some are very large and draped with different cave formations and underground rivers are inhabited with crocodiles and giant eels.This place is famous for its surface landscape formed with tsingy, natural needles formed by the weathering of limestone. The Ankarana is surrounded by native Madagascan rain forest inhabited with lemurs and it was a natural shelter for the Ankarana people whose kings were buried in caves. The cave system has been partially explored since the sixties and exploration is still in progress. The book includes several maps (geology, topography, hydrology), the survey of the caves and a brief description of the Ankarana Kingdom.



Chapter 1. Presentation

The Ankarana Plateau is located in the extreme north of Madagascar, close to a major volcano, the Montagne d’Ambre. It is an exceptional limestone plateau covered with rock needles: the tsingy. It contains a huge network of caves with dimensions that are often very large. The Ankarana is home to a rich fauna, where crocodiles share the space with lemurs, and a peculiar flora with baobabs, pachypodiums and lianas that root in the limestone carved by erosion.
Eric Gilli

Chapter 2. Geography

The Ankarana Plateau is located in Diana Province, at the northern tip of Madagascar, about 70 km southwest of Antsiranana (previously named Diego Suarez during the French colonial period) and 30 km northwest of Ambilobe (Fig. 1.​1 in Chap. 1). It is a sedimentary basin where major Plio-Quaternary volcanic activity built the Montagne d’Ambre, a 1475-m-high volcano (Fig. 2.1), surrounded by numerous small strombolian cones (Figs. 2.2 and 2.3).
Eric Gilli

Chapter 3. Fauna and Flora of the Ankarana

The difficulty encountered when trying to traverse the massif coupled with the presence of water, even in the dry season, has the advantage of making the Ankarana an area where animals and plants are naturally protected. The following lists are a very rough inventory of what may be encountered while visiting the place. Small animals like insects are too numerous to be presented here, but one to look out for is the larva of Phromnia rosea. It looks like a small white inflorescence gently moving on some plants.
Eric Gilli

Chapter 4. Geology and Hydrogeology

The extreme north of Madagascar, where the Ankarana Massif is located, comprises three large geological complexes.
Eric Gilli

Chapter 5. Speleology in the Ankarana

The caves have long been frequented by humans who used them for shelter and as a burial place. When the caves were first explored by humans is not known. The prehistory of Madagascar remains poorly known. Settlement seems to have begun around the sixth century.
Eric Gilli

Chapter 6. Caves of the Northern Ankarana

The very northern part of Northern Ankarana is almost unexplored and contains many caves, most of which belong to a single network that drains towards the Ankara Spring. The explorations conducted by J. Radofilao aimed at trying to connect these different caves but several possible connections are sumps. This poses the problem of cave diving in rivers frequented by crocodiles.
Eric Gilli

Chapter 7. Caves of the Mananjeba Buttes

The Mananjeba Buttes comprise a group of three hills isolated from the Northern Ankarana by the widening and deepening of one of the main couloirs that cut the plateau. The northernmost butte is crossed by a side branch of the Mananjeba River. The central butte is crossed by the main stream of the Mananjeba and contains the second longest cave in the Ankarana: Ambatoharanana. No major cave has yet been found in the southernmost butte, but there is little doubt that a long cave network exists there.
Eric Gilli

Chapter 8. Caves of the Southern Buttes

Recently explored the Southern Buttes demonstrate a hitherto unsuspected speleological potential. They are a dismantled prolongation of the Southern Ankarana. Crossed as they are by the Mahavavy and the Mananjeba rivers the cave density is massive; voids probably exceed 30% of the volume of the rock.
Eric Gilli

Chapter 9. Other Caves Near the Ankarana Plateau

A large karst area, the Analamera, extends northeast of the Ankarana Plateau. Recent exploration northeast of the Ankarana Plateau, led by the French caver J. C. Dobrilla, has indicated important speleological potential. He found an incredible maze, the Antsarahaso, whose length of 20 km makes it the third longest cave in Madagascar.
Eric Gilli

Chapter 10. The People of the Ankarana

The Antankarana people inhabit the extreme north of Madagascar, from Ambilobe to Cap d’Ambre and, in particular, the regions of the Montagne d’Ambre and the Ankarana. Their name means “those of the Ankarana”.
Eric Gilli

Chapter 11. Tourism in the Ankarana

The reserve was set up in 1956 in response to the first explorations of caves, which quickly revealed the extraordinary tourism potential of the Ankarana. The reserve has now become a national park which is managed by Madagascar National Parks (formerly ANGAP). This NGO is the main interlocutor for all that concerns the natural parks in Madagascar. It manages 43 nature protection areas including those of the Montagne d’Ambre and the Ankarana (http://​www.​parcs-madagascar.​com).
Eric Gilli


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