Arid Western Madagascar is remote, rugged and photogenic - but this no easy and convenient side-trip.
Most of Madagascar is humid and relatively cool in the highlands. However this isn’t the case with the dry Western Madagascar. It offers some of the most remote highlights of the country, yet also the most extraordinary.
The Avenue of Baobabs is perhaps the most famous scenic highlight on the west coast and these are some of the most famous photogenic trees in the word. These huge baobabs are at their scenic best at sunset. Then these trees, up to 800 years old and 30 metres in height, will reveal their beauty with the red colours of dusk.
2 hours north of Baobab Alley lies the Kirindy Forest. This is a tropical dry deciduous forest, the world’s most threatened habitat type. Kirindy is a rewarding wildlife experience with lemurs and rare mammals, especially the Fossa which looks like a cross between a cat and a dog. We recommend an overnight stay here so you can do a guided night expedition.
The Tsingy in the Bemaraha National Park is well worth the (not inconsiderable) effort of getting there. The scenery rivals anything in Madagascar and it’s a treasure house for botanists.
This strange stone forest of serrated ‘tsingy’ is a 100 meters tall in places. Under the tsingy, there are undiscovered caves, rivers, and canyons. See the Bemaraha page for a discussion on the best way to get there.
Most of our guests have big expectations of what they want to see. But not nearly enough time, as travelling in Madagascar is a slow process. Nowhere is this more acutely felt than when trying to incorporate the west of Madagascar. The unparalleled sunset shot of the Avenue of Baobabs could necessitate a good 4 days of your trip, for 90 minutes of perfect light. We don't mind if you don't as, unlike with wildlife photography, you are sure to capture that other-worldly and almost surreal image. But just be aware in case that compromises other, more random photo-opportunities.
So you can make the Western side your primary destination and cover all the highlights (see Western Madagascar Adventure). Then add Andasibe for the contrasting rainforests. Or you can combine just the Avenue of Baobabs & Kirindy with a Southern Madagascar trip.
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