TOPO Hiking

Teeth of the Emerald Sea, Ramena

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An improbable and unforgettable adventure in caving mode to explore the intestines of the Tsingys and discover incredible sculpted stalactites by headlamp, or the discovery of the teeth of the Emerald Sea! 45′ in total darkness, following the calcite mazes. Crawl on all fours through bat-populated inner chambers. Observe daylight shafts from which roots rise in search of water and shade. To emerge through a mouth flush with the waves, facing the Emerald Sea.

Technical summary

Type ✦ Caving hike

Location ✦ Orangea

Region ✦ Ramena, Diego-Suarez, Diana

Country ✦ Madagascar

Length ✦ 3kms

Vertical drop ✦ 50m

Difficulty ✦ AD

Duration ✦ 2h to 2h30

Interest ✦ ★★★

Access to the place

From Diego, drive to Ramena and continue along the road to the entrance to the military camp. Pay the entrance fee (10,000 aryaris in 2019) and continue along the beach. At the end, turn off at an angle onto the sandy track and drive east. Further on, a wide path leads off to the right, while the track turns left. Park here.

Map & topo

Voir en plein écran

Itinerary description

Hiking to the start 10'

Walk along this secondary sandy path straight ahead to pass the entrance to a military tunnel after 5′. Explore it eventually (50m deep) or continue in the same direction. You come to a green area and a house. Here, turn left to reach the entrance to the gut at 100m, next to a huge banyan tree running along the wall.

Course 45'

This itinerary is not suitable for use in the rainy season, as the underground river may rise and make the hose difficult or dangerous. In the dry season, i.e. from April to November, the route is accessible without equipment, although a helmet may be welcome to avoid banging your head.


The 4-legged entrance is the narrowest, with access to the 1st room on the left and the exit. The rest of the time, you're either standing or leaning slightly. Headgear mandatory. Avoid doing the course at high tide, as the exit may be complicated.


1st hall

The first few meters get you right into the mood. 4 legs mandatory. The blackness and warm humidity of the Tsingy's entrails suddenly fall away. You come to a higher space that marks the start of the underground corridor. Immediately to the left, crouching between large white teeth, there's a passageway leading to a large, seemingly enclosed inner room where a flock of bats swirl around and around.


2nd room

Retrace your steps down the wide corridor to find the bed of a small stream that flows to the exit. Follow the winding path, alternating between right and left banks, depending on the obstacles on the floor and ceiling. At a right-hand bend a little further on, fork left to enter a 2nd long room, a secondary corridor. Here you'll find impressive daylight shafts carved into the limestone, from which roots or trunks have escaped in search of shade and water underground.


The finale

Back along the stream. Beautiful concretions form sparkling columns or suspended platforms.


After several bends, this time in the water, the ceiling becomes totally flat, like an inverted limestone slab. Finally, a narrow passage forces you to crouch to find the light. We emerge from a natural mouth, a few metres from the ocean, above huge Tsingy boulders.

Back

Not so obvious. Go left above the Tsingys. Climb a little to come back down to the sand and skirt some large boulders. Further on, climb up onto the rock either with a not hard but athletic climbing step, or by going around the sea side onto a slab of rock with sharp points.


Continue across the rock, then climb easily over a sort of boulder chaos. Descend on the opposite side to enter a sandy corridor between a wall equipped with climbing pads and huge boulders.


At the end, a staircase leads out 100m from the Cap Miné lighthouse. All that's left is to turn back onto the 4x4 track to the south, fork further down to the right and return to the starting parking lot.

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