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parc tsimbazaza Antananarivo

Antananarivo: Tsimbazaza Park – Unveiling Madagascar Island’s Natural Treasures

Tsimbazaza

This quiet and green neighborhood in the southwest of the capital city is home to a large park that includes a zoo, an arboretum, a paleontology museum, and an ethnology museum. A visit to this complex will help you understand Madagascar’s identity before exploring the island’s different regions. The main entrance to the park is near the National Assembly and also leads to the national academy of arts, sciences, and letters.

The Botanical Park

The park is built around a shallow lake with purple water lilies, water hyacinths, and the zozoro plant. In the northern part of the park, there’s an area that shelters Madagascan ferns and unique orchids like Eulophiella and Gastrorchis. The lower palm grove contains over a hundred species of Malagasy and foreign plants, including the iconic traveler’s tree and raffia palms with fronds up to 12m long.

Throughout the park, you can see diverse ornamental trees and shrubs that bloom at different times of the year, adding varied colors to the landscape. There are also representative plants from Madagascar’s driest environments like baobabs, kalanchoes, aloes, didiereas, and other desert plants.

Madagascar is known for its beautiful orchids such as Angraecum which produces vanilla. The island is also home to Broceras madagascariensis (landibe), a silk-producing insect found only in Madagascar.

In another section dedicated to paleontology, visitors can explore dinosaur fossils discovered on the island alongside subfossils from more recent eras. These include skeletons of ancient lemurs as well as quaternary subfossils like dwarf hippos and the Aepyornis – a giant bird whose egg was considered to be one of the largest animal cells.

The park offers a journey through time showcasing both prehistoric flora and fauna unique to Madagascar.

The Museum of Ethnology

The exhibition features everyday objects and aspects of Malagasy culture. It includes items like woven mats and hats made from different materials, wooden or stone mortars for grinding rice, corn, and vegetables, as well as silk or raffia lamba. There is also a section dedicated to traditional hairstyling techniques using small discs, ball-shaped hairdos, and small buns at the nape of the neck.

Visitors can explore a display of wood sculptures with deep symbolic meanings, showcasing the artistic achievements of the Zafimaniry people. Additionally, there are traditional ritual objects on exhibit such as protective amulets and necklaces, bewitching beads, and bracelets believed to grant invincibility.

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