The Southeast region of Madagascar is home to charming and unspoilt countryside, rice paddies, quaint villages and wild beaches.
Built on a small Peninsula, Fort Dauphin is one of the most attractively situated of Madagascar’s major towns, with beaches on three sides and a mountainous backdrop. It is one of the original French territories in Madagascar and was named after the 6 year old prince who later became Louis XIV. A visit to the fort and the administrative quarter of the town, offers a panoramic view of the harbour and Fort Dauphin Bay.
A two and a half hour drive from Fort Dauphin, over a deteriorating road, takes you to Berenty Private Reserve, the country’s most well known reserve because of the ease in which visitors can see its population of ring tailed lemurs and the ‘dancing’ Verreaux sifakas. It’s habitat comprises the banks of the Mandrare River, a spiny forest and the dry Tamarind gallery woodland and the vast network of well maintained forest trails are ideal for independent exploration. The Ifotaka Community Forest is an admirable illustration of a government initiative that encourages local communities to manage their natural resources in a sustainable manner. The engaging Antandroy people harvest forest products from some areas, whilst elsewhere the forest is left intact, preserving it for ecotourism and wildlife viewing.
Another area of interest in this region is Manafiafy, a small fishing village situated about two and a half hours drive from Fort Dauphin on the southeast coast. Relatively unaffected by the Portugese, French and British, who have been and gone, this village is rich in marine life and humpback whales can be seen in the bay from mid June to November. The neighbouring forest is home to dwarf, mouse, sportive and brown lemurs and reptiles such as chameleons, snakes, and geckos.