Morondava is a town on the coast of Western Madagascar.
Morondava is a coastal town in the West of Madagascar, connected to the capital by regular plane service run by Air Madagascar. It is an ideal place for a relaxing stay, especially compared to the capital, since it is less crowded and (so far) devoid of beggars. It is also cheaper. The beaches are good and extend far to the north side of town. Morondava can also be used a base for trips to the fishing village of Belo sur Mer (by pirogue (small boat)) or to the wildlife park at Kirindy (via 4x4 since the roads are quite poor).
The dry season is the best time to visit as daytime temperatures are about 27°C and nighttime around 14-15°C while the water is still as warm as the Mediterranean in summer (about 24°C). The downside is that the town is very dry and dusty with blowing sand a problem - but it is still less dirty than other towns. In the summer rainy season it is hot and sticky, and there is quite a lot of mud around (although again less so than other towns.)
- Air Madagascar and Madagasikara Airways operate daily flights from Antananarivo and other cities. The flight from Antananarivo to Morondava takes about one hour.
- Overland options include local taxi brousse or private car hire. Driving time from the capital to Morondava ranges from 9 - 12 hours depending on the vehicle. Antsirabe to Morondava takes approximately 7 hours.
- Cotisse Transport from Antananarivo via Antsirabe phone +261 32-11020701. 45,000 Ar.
The town is about a 30-minute walk from one end to the other. Take it slow since it is pretty warm at all times of the year. Taxis are available and needed to go to the airport, which is a few km from the main area. However, make sure that you have the right amount - as so often in Mad, the taxi drivers claim that they don't have change and try to get you to pay more.
- 1 Avenue of the Baobabs. 17 km northeast of Morondava on Madagascar's west coast, the Avenue of the Baobabs, is a widely popular attraction. The ‘Avenue’ is an extra-ordinary stand of huge baobab trees, Adansonia grandidieri, and includes trees that are over 800 years old and reach a height of over 30 meters. The world famous Avenue of the Baobabs is photographer’s paradise and especially beautiful at sunset. Excursions from Morondava include the Baobabs in Love, the Sacred Baobab and the Kirindy Forest Reserve and the Tsingy de Bemaraha. Taxis will take you round trip for 60,000 Ar.
- 2 [dead link] Kirindy Forest Reserve (50 km north of Morondava). The 25,000 acres (10,000 hectares) Kirindy Forest Reserve has the greatest density and diversity of primates in the world. It is also the best western-reserve for seeing Madagascar’s endemic dry forest species. Dominated by majestic baobab trees (Adansonia grandidieri), the forest is home to the world’s smallest known primate and to dozens of amphibian and reptile species (and no poisonous snakes). The Kirindy boasts more than 60 species of birds. Possible endemic sighting include: White-headed Vanga, Rufous Vanga, White-breasted Mesite, Coquerel's Coua, Crested Coua, Sickle-billed Vanga, Chabert's Vanga, Cuckoo Roller, Grey-headed Lovebird, Madagascar Nightjar, and Banded Kestrel. Along with a stunning variety of unique flora the Kirindy Forest is home to 8 lemur species; a variety of tenrecs species; the narrow-striped mongoose; giant jumping rat and fossa. The forest is accessible by taxi brousse -- hop on any towards Belo sur Tsiribihina. Get off at the signpost marking the entrance, and walk the last 5 km. You may have to rely on hitching back to Morondava, as taxi brousses coming from Belo are often full, or you can sleep there (35 000 Ar for a dorm bed, bungalows available) and walk back to Kirindy Village (5km + ~2km) and get a Taxi-brousse there.
- [dead link] Kirindy Mite National Park (60 km south of Morondava). Kirindy Mite is a seldom visited National Park (not to be confused with 'Kirindy Forest Reserve') which encompassing a wide variety of ecosystems: beaches; inland lakes; 7 offshore islands; spiny forest; vast Baobab forests; extensive coastal mangroves. Highlights include three species of baobabs; a wide variety of lemurs (including ringtails); more than 30 species of birds (many rare and endangered) and the picturesque Lakes Ambondro & Lake Sirave.
- 3 Tsingy de Bemaraha (200 km north of Morondava). This is Madagascar‘s largest reserve (152,000 hectares) and classified as one of the world wonders by UNESCO. The fascinating raised limestone plateau is decorated with a frail, chaotic razor-sharp collection of pinnacles, the “Tsingy”. The great variety of flora includes: aloes, orchids, numerous pachypodium and baobabs. The deciduous forest is home to over 50 species of birds; 7 species of lemurs (including the all-white Deckens sifaka) and the rare stump-tailed chameleon (Brookesia perarmata). Renting a 4x4 for 4 days from Morondava is the most common way to visit.
A 4x4 and driver can be hired to visit the Kirindy nature reserve. On the way ask the driver to stop at the Avenue of Baobabs ("upside down trees") which has some interesting sights such as Les Baobabs Amoureuse (amorous baobabs) where two trees have grown intertwined with each other. Ladies can cuddle the amorous baobabs and this is said to improve fertility! The Kirindy nature reserve has basic food, such as breakfasts, and knowledgeable guides who will conduct walking tours (usually in French) of the reserve. Wildlife, such as several species of Madagascar's famed lemurs, can be seen, as well as lizards and a variety of other flora and fauna. Kirindy can be done as a day trip, for visitors wishing to stay longer there is basic accommodation at the reserve.
- BFV-SG Bank, Avenue de l'Indépendance, ☎ . ATM 24 hours. Has a Mastercard ATM.
- Rouheenan Supermarket, Rue Principale. 09:00-18:00.
- 1 Chez Alain maintenant, Avenue de l'Indépendance, ☎ . Excellent seafood and grilled chicken.
You'll find most accommodations on Nosy Kely, a coastal promontory. It can be reached by taxi from the airport, or a short walk from the taxi brousse station.
- Chez Maggie Hotel. Excellent accommodations. Comfortable bungalows and chalets very close to the ocean on the Nosy Kely. Very good restaurant which is much in demand, ensure you reserve for dinner. The Chez Maggie offers excursions to many of the attractions of the Menabe (Western) Region including: Tsingy de Bemaraha, Avenue of the Baobabs, Kirindy Forest, Belo sur Mer and the Manambolo & Tsiribihina Rivers. They also have excellent naturalist guides fluent in English, French, Germany, Spanish and Japanese.
- Baobab Cafe. Comfortable rooms within one building. Across the road from Chez Maggie and backs onto the river. French run. Excellent restaurant.
- 1 Morondava Beach. Economy bungalows, with fan and cold water bathroom. The sandy complex includes a restaurant/bar with Wi-Fi and beach access. Bungalows start at 23,000 Ar.
- 2 Trecigogne, Nosy Kely (Just walk down the road along). Check-in: 12:00, check-out: 12:00. Trecigogne seems to be the most popular budget option with ventilated rooms with common sanitaries to rooms with private bathroom with A/C. Free Wifi is also available. From 41,000 Ar.
- 3 [dead link] Renala au Sable d'Or (Hotel & Restaurant), Nosy Kely (village touristique), ☎ , ✉ email@example.com. Open since 1991, the Renala restaurant and the Sable d'Or hotel are next to sea. The bungalows are in a private coconut grove one of the best place in the tourist village. The restaurant open by reservation provides a diversified food that is never the same as the menu changes with the seasons for freshness guarantee. A unique experience in Morondava. €23.
- Zoom Hotel, Route de la Plage, ☎ . Check-in: 12:00, check-out: 12:00. Double room with bathroom. 20,000 Ar.
- Rovasoa Hotel, ☎ . Check-in: 12:00, check-out: 12:00. Single/double rooms with own bathroom. 30,000 Ar.
An internet café is within walking distance from Nosy Kely.