The Makay massif

Location of the Makay massif in Madagascar

Measuring 150 x 50km, the Makay is one of the most monumental works of nature, formed by the erosion of huge masses of crystalline rock that disappeared several hundred million years ago.

In the diverse mosaic of Madagascar’s ecosystems, there are still a number of little-explored, lightly exploited and sparsely populated areas with great potential for new discoveries. The Makay massif is one of the most emblematic of Terra Incognita. Even in Madagascar, few people are aware of the existence of this ruiniform relief.

An immense labyrinth sculpted by erosion

This yellow sandstone massif, located in the centre-west of the island, features high plateaux that are still partly covered by forest or shrub/herbaceous vegetation typical of the dry environments of western Madagascar. Insane erosion has cut deep canyons into these plateaux, which contain humid vegetation reminiscent of the evergreen forests of eastern Madagascar. These isolated biotopes, untouched by human observation, have enabled groups of ancestral animals and plants to occupy all possible ecological niches and to differentiate to the point of giving birth to new species.

Life took refuge and developed in these valleys, several hundred metres deep, in total autarky for millions of years.

A tangle of canyons, a characteristic landscape of the Makay massif. Madagascar

A biodiversity sanctuary under threat

The Makay has thus become a veritable treasure chest of nature, a sanctuary for some of the planet’s most curious species. Until recently, its isolation and the peculiarities of its relief have hampered the implementation of scientific studies. But while up until now it has been able to take advantage of its terrain, which is unsuitable for humans, to preserve its treasures, the vertiginous increase in bushfires that Madagascar has been experiencing in recent years is threatening its survival more and more every day.

Bush fires regularly occur on the outskirts of the massif, but also in its heart, devastating what nature has taken millions of years to create.

Makay canyons filled with lush vegetation
The Makay canyons are home to a rich biodiversity. Makay Massif Madagascar

Further information

Naturevolution has been working to protect the Makay for around ten years. Four multi-disciplinary scientific expeditions have provided proof of the exceptional richness of the massif and the images needed to promote it, resulting in the creation of a Protected At the same time, we have put in place a number of conservation strategies aimed at preserving the Makay’s ecosystems and improving local living conditions.

The Makay Protected Area website contains information about the massif and its inhabitants, travel conditions for visiting it, the commitments of the manager and tourism operators, and much more. If you would like to help us protect this unique place in the world, make a donation to the Makay project or come and join us on a field mission.