Madagascar's Baly Bay:
A national park for connoisseurs and demanding ornithologists.
At the Northwest coast of Madagascar, about 150km south of Mahajanga, lies the dreamy Baly Bay (Baie de Baly). Although the area is very important especially for ornithological research, the national park was only founded in 1997 and is therefore one of the youngest protected areas on the island. The 570km² large national park is both in terrestrial as well as aquatic respect an important habitat with very high biodiversity and a fantastic project for demanding Ornithological trips in Madagascar. Many different ecosystems such as dense dry forests, mangroves, rivers and lakes, sandy beaches, dunes and impressive coral reefs lie close together here. The semi-intensive shrimp aquaculture in the immediate vicinity of the nature reserve has a special economic value for the region. Several communities of the Sakavala people live in small fishing villages along the coast. The climate is pleasantly warm all year round with temperatures between 23° and 28°. From April to November it does not rain at all and despite the proximity of the sea, the air is very dry. The national park is located in the immediate vicinity of the National Park Tsingy de Namoroka.
The Baie de Baly - habitat of endangered species on water and on land
The main attraction of the park is the extremely rare and endangered Madagascar ploughshare turtle (local as Angonoka known in Latin as Geochelone yniphora), which lives only here in this park. In addition, the idyllic bay is home to 13 species of mammals - including. 8 lemur species - native to their habitat with 120 bird species and more than 35 species of reptiles like Chameleons and Tortoises share. Hawksbill turtles lay their eggs on the beaches from which visitors Dolphins and Manatees can observe. More than 50 waterfowl species have their habitat in Baie de Baly, five of which are extremely endangered. The rare ospreys, herons of several species, sacred ibises, plovers and pink flamingos are common in the park.
Getting to Baie de Baly requires planning
The fastest way to reach the park is by plane. From the Air Madagascar is offered a Flight connection to Soalala, a small village located only a few kilometers from the national park. During the dry season, Baie de Baly is also accessible by road. Nevertheless, it can be a difficult and especially long ride be. You will have to cross Bombetoka Bay to reach Katsepy. From here you will drive it another 6 to 9 hours from Katsepy to Soalala. Another option is a Boat for rent in Mahajanga that will take you directly to the park. This type of travel offers beautiful views and lasts from 6 to 14, depending on the type of boat. Although there is no real campsite and no sanitary facilities, it is possible to camp in the park. However, visitors usually prefer to stay in the town of Soalala, which is located not far from the park.
Tours through the idyllic Baie de Baly
There are currently Two tours in Baly Bay. Prices are higher than in other national parks at 120,000 Ariary per person per day. For both tours, you first cross the bay by motorboat to reach the habitats of rare species. The Angonoky Tour lasts about 3 hours and during the visit you will see the star of the park, the very endangered ploughshare tortoise, as well as some lemurs. The Ankoay Tour, named after the local name of the osprey, is focused on the rich bird life found here. This tour usually lasts two days. A night in the camp of the park is required. To plan well your visit to the beautiful Baie de Baly, you should know in advance the Park office in Mahajunga contact. There you can arrange transportation and even get necessary equipment if you do not have any yourself.