The small towns of Ifaty and Mangily, which have now merged into a single town known as Ifaty, are fishing villages that now host large numbers of tourists seeking sand and surf. The area is fairly rural, and the vibe here is much calmer than in the bustling city of Toliara, although there are far fewer services available and the journey by road might necessitate a chiropractic adjustment.
Ifaty is just over half-an-hour north of Toliara on a sealed new-constructed road. Only 27 km. No special vehicle is required.
- 1 Reniala Forest Private Reserve. This private reserve protects 60 hectares of spiny forest. Options for guided tours through the reserve last from 1-3 hours, with guides who speak English showing off more than 2000 species, including a 1200-year-old baobab with a diameter of 12.5 meters. Go in the morning before temperatures rise as there is little shade, and beware of touts who will grab you en route and either suggest visiting a different reserve, or who will tell you that you need a guide before you enter the reserve and demand you use their services. 15,000 Ar per person for the first circuit, 18,000 Ar per person for the second circuit (guide fees not included and left to the discretion of visitors). Bird watching trips can be arranged for 30,000 Ar per person..
- 2 Tortoise Reserve (located next to the Reniala Reserve). This reserve acts as a home for radiated and spider tortoises that have been seized by customs or otherwise taken from the wild. The reserve breeds and releases the tortoises, and also educates people about their role in the spiny forest ecosystem. A guided tour leads past enclosures with tortoises of varying ages, ending at the museum.
There is no bank or ATM in the area, so bring enough cash to pay for your room, meals, and any other costs.