Fort Dauphin, also called Tolagnaro, is a city on the southeast coast of Madagascar. A former French outpost the city is blessed with a seemingly endless coastline.Largely cut off from the rest of the island because of poor road access, most visitors will fly in and from here will travel on to Ifotaka Community Forest and Manafiafy - Sainte Luce.
Ifotaka Community Forest is situated in the remote south of Madagascar, reached either by a 4-hour drive from Fort Dauphin or reached by scheduled charter flight. It's a community-managed forest reserve which protects 22,000 ha of spiny forest and gallery forest. Not visited by many tourists, it's a very off-the-beaten-track area, which can provide much reward. Here you can experience the authentic and wild Madagascar that enchanted early explorers. The Forest has two distinctive forest types and the wildlife experience is outstanding, with 5 species of lemur, including the Ring-tailed Lemurs and Verreaux's Sifaka and countless endemic birds and reptiles.
Explore the sacred forests on day and night walks where the ancestral tombs of the Antandroy tribe are interspersed with 500 year old baobab trees. You can visit the colourful local market as well as schools and clinics in the area. There's even a local version of the 'Avenue of the Baobabs' where sundowners are served. In the evening the local villagers may come to perform beautiful traditional dances, accompanied by singing and music.
A 3 hours' drive north of Fort Dauphin or a scheduled charter flight you will find Manafiafy, on the south east coast of Madagascar. It's a secluded tropical paradise with excellent wildlife viewing and miles of untouched beaches. Aside from the 5-room Manafiafy Beach and Rainforest Lodge, there are no major tourism developments. It is here that the French colonists first landed in Madagascar in 1638 and life in the local fishing village has stayed very much the same over the centuries.
Community-managed forests, with abundant wildlife, are some of the last remaining stretches of coastal rainforest in southern Madagascar. Manafiafy is also one of the best locations to see hump-back whales in Madagascar from June to November. Year-round you will spot bottle-nose dolphins. The Sainte-Luce peninsula is the starting point of a mangrove network spanning 40 km towards Fort Dauphin. The mangrove is intersected by rivers and lakes, with the dramatic peaks of the Anosy mountain range in the background.
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