Arid Western Madagascar is remote, rugged and photogenic - but this no easy and convenient side-trip.
The dry west coast of Madagascar contrasts markedly with the lush humidity of the rainforests in much of the country. A western Madagascar itinerary offers some of the most remote highlights of the country, yet also the most extraordinary. But expect to put in some effort to get there!
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, up to 800 years old and 30 metres in height, are at their scenic best at sunset, when they reveal their beauty with the red colours of dusk.
Approx 1 to 1½ 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.
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 see some of the western highlights. The unparalleled sunset shot of the Avenue of Baobabs could necessitate a good 3 days of your trip, for 90 minutes of perfect light.. But unlike with wildlife photography, you are sure to capture that other-worldly and almost surreal image. And you can visit nearby Kirindy.
So you can make the Western side your primary destination and cover all the highlights (see our Western Madagascar Adventure tour). Then you can add on Andasibe for the rainforest wildlife if you have time.
Or you can combine just the Avenue of Baobabs & Kirindy with a Southern Madagascar trip (adding approx 3 nights to the itinerary).
There are two options to get here. Either travel north from Kirindy and back. These are adventurous travel days so we recommend at least 2, preferably 3 nights in Bekopaka (near the park).
Or more adventurous souls can take a rustic boat cruise down the river, camping out on the river shore at night. This is scenic and cuts out one of the dusty travelling days. But it's not for everyone!
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