Toliara Southern Region of Madagascar

Toliara Southern Region of Madagascar

The main 980 km highway, the RN7, leads from Antananarivo to Toliara / Tuléar.

As a road trip it's a long relatively well-tarmacked and stunningly scenic one to the island's semi-arid Southern region, passing majestic mountains, baobab forests, desert-like plateaus with exotic plants, herds of zebu (cows) and colourful local villages.

With a few exceptions, the coast is sandy often with reefs and lagoons. North and south from Toliara / Tulear there are beautiful beaches, tropical islands and coral reefs .

The beach villages of Ifaty, Salary Bay or Anakao are becoming popular as these secret beach hideaways are not so secret any more.

Also not so secret is the fact one of Earth's largest known alluvial sapphire deposits was discovered in 1998 turning Ilakaka into a wild south west mining boom town with a population that soared from 40 residents to over 60,000 ten years later.

Across the region on the south eastern tip, Fort Dauphin harks back to colonial times. Surrounded by mountains, dry forests, nature reserves and beaches Fort Dauphin is the biggest city in the deep south.

Fianarantsoa is one of the most popular towns in the Madagascar highlands not least because of the local wine farms with the closest vineyard at Lazan'I Betsileo, 15km to the north.

Isalo National Park in the Ihorombe region is known for its wide variety of terrain, including sandstone formations, deep canyons, a palm-lined oasis and grassland. A total of 340 fauna species have been recorded inhabiting the area, including 82 species of birds, 33 species of reptiles, 15 species of frogs and 14 species of mammals. Treks in this vast 815km² park can last from several hours to a week or longer.

With the exception of the Vezo ethnic fishermen and some migrants such as the Antanosy of Middle Onilahy, there are two large ethnic groups who share these territories, the Mahafaly and Antandroy, 'people of the thorns' on the coast.

MAJOR CITIES/TOWNS:
Fort Dauphin, Morombe, Toliara formerly Tuléar, Ilakaka, Sakaraha, Fianarantsoa, Ambalavao.

NATIONAL PARKS AND RESERVES:
Berenty Reserve, Bezaha Mahafaly, Cap Ste. Marie, Isalo National Park, Tsimanampetsotse National Park, Zombitse-Vohibiasa National Park.

Where to stay, Where to Eat and What to do

Hotels in the North
Restaurants in the North
Activities in the North
In the North there is so much to see and do in Ankarana Reserve, Montagne d'Ambre, Lokobe Reserve, Nosy Komba, Nosy Mangabe, Nosy Tanikely., Nosy Hara, Marojejy Reserve, Anjanaharibe Reserve.
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