700 km southwest of Antananarivo, leaving the RN7 at Antsirabe, we arrive in the port city of Morondava. It is an interesting tourist destination combining cultural discovery and discovery of Malagasy biodiversity.
The city of Morondava is rather assimilated to a city planted in the bush because the animations and the dynamism are concentrated in the city itself; its surroundings are of incomparable calm. It is part of the kingdom of Menabe which is characterized by the sea tinged with red. In the city center, enjoy strolling along Independence Avenue. The atmosphere is very nice and it seems that time slows down. The activities are slow and we can take the time to linger on the market. The latter also presents many local crafts. A stroll through the neighborhoods is interesting, especially around the city center, in the middle of the mangrove. This one also makes the reputation of this part of Madagascar and turns into island when the tide is very strong.
Nature lovers will be spoiled by the detour because Morondava is a place rich in flora and fauna. You can better admire them in the forests of Andranomena, Analabe, Manamby and Kirindy. The Kirindy Reserve is the most famous in the region and is about fifty kilometers north of Morondava. It is also possible to spend the night in this reserve to browse the circuit at night. Botanical, silvicultural and ecotourism trails invite you for long walks. The visit of these forests encourages escape and will charm adventurers always on the lookout for discoveries. However, it is necessary to inquire for the visits because some places are qualified as "fady" or sacred: it is about places where one carries out rituals.
The city is at the heart of a series of events that can be attended. It is therefore wise to learn about the events underway during the stay in Morondava if you want to see one of them. We can mention among others "the asa lolo", a ceremony that takes place during the dry season, the period of circumcision that takes place from June to September and is the subject of great festivities; the worship of tromba, a worship rather close to that of voodoo, the "moraingy" or the Malagasy struggle, etc. These different events and ceremonies offer a unique spectacle to the extent that their event in Morondava is unmatched. In addition, it is a whole new experience to live and to attend these few events allows to get acquainted with the local culture.
Other tourist attractions in the region are worth a visit. Morondava is home to a people with very special habits and customs. Royal funerary monuments are the curiosity of visitors. The funeral art Sakalava makes these tombs fascinating. The frescoes and erotic sculptures telling the life of the deceased adorning his last are the particularity of these burials. They mean a lot to the Sakalava because they symbolize procreation and life. However, some of these tombs are only accessible by canoe.
In addition, the region presents an unusual and original setting due to its exceptional baobab vegetation. "The Baobab Alley" is one of the most beautiful landscapes of Morondava but also of Madagascar. This famous alley starts about 15 km at the exit of Morondava, on the road to Antananarivo. Large baobabs, mostly of a single variety, the Andansonia grandidieri, succeed each other and are arranged on both sides of the passage. A photo safari is very interesting especially at sunset time because it offers a unique panorama thanks to the pink and blue reflections that rise on the horizon.
For those who will stay in Morondava, Belo-sur-Mer, a pleasant fishing village about 80 km south of Morondava, is a little paradise for those seeking tranquility in an attractive setting. This site has a long beach bordered by transparent waters. This is a real tropical aquarium where it is possible to practice diving. The surface of the sea also offers an ideal plan for kitesurfing. However, it is difficult to swim there because the tide is important as everywhere in the Mozambique Channel.
The Tsingy National Park of Bemaraha is accessible from Morondava; a distance of 200 km is to be traveled. The main attraction of the park remains focused on the discovery of its Tsingy, classified as World Heritage by UNESCO. Apart from the Tsingy, the park is composed of the gorge of the Manambolo River, forests, lakes and mangroves. The park is also rich in endemic wildlife; we can note the presence of 13 species of lemur, 54 species of reptile, 15 species of bats and many others.
Tsingy de Bemaraha, a large protected complex of Madagascar
Located in the region of western Madagascar, 300 km from the capital Antananarivo, the Tsingy have everything to surprise tourists coming for the first time in the region of Bemaraha. 300 years ago, Tsingy de Bemaraha served as a shelter for the "vazimba", the first population of Madagascar. These huge canyons with sharp edges were formed almost 200 million years ago, when the island of Madagascar broke away from the African plate. A separation that caused the lifting of a very large limestone plaque and thus the formation of these famous Tsingy from large deep cavities.
How to get there ?
The reserve covers an area of more than 157,710 hectares and rises from 150 to 700 meters above sea level. Many ceremonial sites and remains of ancient tombs can be seen in the cavities of the rock walls of the reserve. The park is accessible by road from Morondava or by waterway via Ankavandra. It is also possible to consider a plane trip to Tsingy des Bemaraha from Tsiroanomandidy. Know that the latter option is not recommended because of frequent cancellations of the airline.
Endemic fauna and flora to discover
Many tours have been arranged in the park, the most popular of which are the visit of Tsingy, Tsingy and the circuit of the Manambolo River gorge. A visit to the heart of Tsingy de Bemaraha is also an opportunity to discover a rich endemic fauna and flora. More than 650 species of plants exist in the Tsingy Park of which 86% are endemic. In addition, there are also nearly 13 species of lemurs, rare bird species, including the Madagascar's fishing eagle, and more than 54 species of reptiles, including the endemic island seseke or ramilaheloka.
The beautiful landscapes of the city of Morondava and its surroundings will not disappoint those who are looking for adventures and discoveries thanks to the various tourist sites accessible in this region. Morondava combines both a rich flora-rich environment and a setting worthy of the wild west by its dry tropical climate, its savannah landscapes and its baobab garden