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Cap Sainte-Marie

Cap Sainte Marie Special Reserve encompasses about 17.5 squared kilometers at the tip of the Karimbola plateau. The very dry climate is reflected in the absence of any rivers, with the "spiny thicket" flora of Euphorbias and Didieraceae dominating the flora, though the area is also famous for the Catharantus roseus, the periwinkle used to fight leukemia. The fauna includes humpback whales which visit between August and November, chameleons and geckoes, the "Sokatra" radiated tortoise (Geochelone radiata) and the little "Kapila" spider tortoise (Pyxis arachnoides) - in fact, Cap Ste Marie reserve has the highest density of tortoises in the world, over 3000 individuals per squared kilometer. Also notable are the fossilized fragments of Aepyornis eggs, the famed endemic elephant birds whose entire genus disappeared about 700 years ago.

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