Southern Madagascar Beach Holidays
The south-west of Madagascar is very dry in comparison to the central highlands and the east coast. As you travel south, the lush green mountains give way to dry savanna plains. Cactus, euphorbias, even baobabs are found in surreal ‘spiny forest’. However Southern Madagascar also has some stunning beaches for the perfect end to a Madagascar trip. Choose between Ifaty, Anakao or the greener lush vegetation of Manafiafy Beach Lodge.
You can access southern Madagascar by taking a scenic road trip over several days to Ifaty. We offer this on our Rainforests, Mountains and Beaches of Southern Madagascar trip. (You can also see our page The Route South).
Ifaty lies close to Tulear on the South-west coast. It offers sand, sea and snorkeling. It’s the ideal place to relax after your wildlife safari. Situated in the largest lagoon of Madagascar, Ifaty is protected by a large coral reef hence the good diving and snorkelling.
Many excursions are possible, such as visiting the Reserve Reniala. This reserve includes baobabs, spiny bush, reptiles, geckos and Parson’s chameleon parson. Ifaty is also a popular place for birdwatchers, given its proximity to a fast-dwindling area of spiny forest where some of the southern endemics can be seen. Keen birders should come here soon while there is still some forest left!
From July to mid September, whales come to the cool ocean of Madagascar to give birth. You can take a boat excursion out to see the whales, a spectacular experience as sometimes the whales approach very close to the boat.
Ankao is accessed by boat only. Situated on a beach with emerald seas, it is one of the best spots for diving, kite surfing and watersports in the southern Madagascar. You can also take an excursion out to island of Nosy Be.
Spiny Forest of the Dry South
Alternatively you fly into Fort Dauphin and then take a 3 hour road transfer to Mandrare River Camp . Here you will see the spiny forest and get a true sense of rural Madagascan life. You can visit remote tribal communities that have not been exposed to modern day pressures. These small villages, surrounded by ancient baobab trees, have a complex network of taboos and tradition rules every area of life. Afterwards you can head to Manafiafy Beach Lodge on the lush south-eastern coast of Madagascar.
Fort Dauphin itself is unattractive, but it has a stunning setting. Built on a small peninsula, the town is bordered on three sides by beaches and breakers, backed by high green mountains. More geared to tourism than any other Malagasy mainland town, Fort Dauphin, is a lively place offering a variety of restaurants and nightlife.
A note on Berenty Reserve
Berenty, meaning ‘big eel’, is famous for its large and friendly population of ring-tailed lemurs. With their distinctive elongated tails and wide-eyed charm. The main attraction of Berenty is the 6 species of lemur which are regularly seen. 4 are endemic – the diurnal Verreaux’s sifaka (the infamous “dancing” lemur) and ring-tailed lemur and the nocturnal white-footed sportive lemur and grey mouse lemur. The other 2 are the red-fronted brown lemur and the fat-tailed dwarf lemur.
Fruit Bats and Madagascar flying foxes live in noisy groups. With a wingspan of over a metre, they are an impressive sight. But Berenty Private Reserve is not what it was. Having been largely taken over by nearby sisal plantations. This is affecting the terrain available for the lemurs. Berenty is still popular because of the high likelihood of lemur sightings.