This site lies on the Mahafaly karst plateau, 180 km south-west of Betioky-South and 75 km south of Toliara. It consists of a lake and a bushland area on a sandy plain, 20 km long and 3 km wide on average, c.7 km inland of the Mozambique Channel, and a large area of stunted spiny forest on the calcareous plateau inland. Lake Tsimanampetsotse is shallow and has a milky colour, being the only soda-saturated lake in Madagascar. A cliff, c.100 m high, rises 1–2 km from the eastern bank of the lake. Swallow-holes on the plateau hold small lakes, from which small freshwater streams issue after rainfall. Near Lake Tsimanampetsotse, in some areas, the water is more brackish. Torrents of less brackish water flow through underground caves. Trees between the lake and the cliff can be up to 12 m high, but the vegetation of the western part of the site, between the lake and the sea, is lower, being covered in xerophilous bushland (up to 2.2 m high), and characterized by species of Cassia, Ficus, Pluchea, Erythroxylum, Cedrelopsis, Delonix, Acacia, Albizia, Maytenus, Euphorbia and Berchemia. Some Casuarina have been planted on the eastern bank of the lake.
See Box and Tables 2 and 3 for key species. Eighty-eight species are known from this site, of which 35 are endemic to Madagascar. Tsimanampetsotse and Baly Bay are the only protected areas that hold Charadrius thoracicus. Anas bernieri has been recorded once at the lake.
Non-bird biodiversity: Lemurs: Lemur catta (VU), Propithecus verreauxi verreauxi (VU), Carnivore: Galidictis grandidieri (EN; only found in this reserve). Reptiles: Pyxis arachnoides (VU), Geochelone radiata (VU). Fish: Typhleotris madagascariensis (VU; a blind fish of underground caves).
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The reserve is still generally intact and undegraded, except for the pastureland in the western part of the site. Hunting of birds and tortoises, as well as the collection of honey, are threats to the site. Local taboos prohibit access to some areas which are considered sacred.
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Tsimanampetsotsa National Park. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 21/03/2023.