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Southern Madagascar Highlights

Southern Madagascar is a region made up of diverse terrain, ranging from the attractive rice terraces, savannahs and rugged rocks of Isalo National Park, until reaching Tulear, which welcomes visitors with its tree-lined avenues, bright bougainvillea and jacaranda, and a culture influenced by French and Arab aspects.

Tulear is considered the region's coastal capital city. It is home to the area's principal port and also offers a number of seaside resorts at breath-taking beach locations, offering some of the world's best snorkelling and scuba diving opportunities.

Further south are the coastal resorts around Tulear, outstandingly aesthetic with bursts of purple jacaranda and a fascinating blend of mosques and cathedrals. North of Tulear is the resort town of Ifaty, with its white sand beaches and Indian Ocean waters full of tropical fish and marine life found among colourful coral reefs. Fort Dauphin is a coastal town with a small harbour in the south-east of the red island.

Sun Safaris Says

The south of Madagascar is possibly the most scenically diverse region of the island. The varied landscape ranges from lush river valleys, mountainous boulders, savannahs, and arid areas, while the coastline is introduces the warm Indian Ocean.

Isalo National Park is the famous home to the island's fascinating lemurs, chameleons and birds. Over 80% of Madagascar's wildlife is endemic, making this game viewing experience a true novelty.

The principal town and port is Tulear, hosting numerous beach resorts and a French and Arab influence giving it its unique and interesting culture.

Santa Augustine's Bay offers a more remote beach holiday than in the tourist centres of Nosy Be and Ile Sainte Marie and might be preferred by visitors looking for privacy.

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Safari Lodges within Southern Madagascar

Jardin du Roy

Jardin du Roy is a French-owned guesthouse near Ranohira, close to the entrance to Isalo National Park in southern Madagascar. Natural elements used in the construction of the building echo the beautiful environment of the hotel grounds.

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Manafiafy Beach Lodge

Located on the southern coast of Madagascar, Manafiafy Beach and Rainforest Lodge offers the chance to explore the wild south coast beach, mangroves, lemur forests and astounding landscapes. A natural, eco-friendly, yet luxurious lodge.

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Mandrare River Camp

Mandrare River Camp is a seasonal camp on the banks of the Mandrare River, located on the southern tip of Madagascar, some 3km from Ifotaka village. The camp is nestled under a shaded grove of indigenous trees, a stone's throw away from a lovely sandy beach.

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Relais de la Reine

Relais de la Reine is a French, family-owned property bordering the Isalo National Park. Using natural materials the lodge has been built to blend in with the dramatic landscape in which it sits. Offers guided tours into the Park as well as horse riding excursions.

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La Croix du Sud

La Croix du Sud is a colonial-style building designed over two levels around a courtyard garden. One of the most modern hotels and offers some of the best accommodation in Fort Dauphin. Fort Dauphin is set in a gorgeous location, with excellent hiking opportunities and panoramic views.

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Dunes d'Ifaty

Les Dunes d’Ifaty is located 27km north of the city of Tulear, next to the Mangily fishing village and is built over an area of 6 hectares, amidst a flora of tropical and other typical indigenous plants from this dry region of southern Madagascar.

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Isalo Ranch

Set in a wonderful garden, full of fruit trees and herbs, Isalo Ranch is a peaceful and relaxing place to stay during your travels of Southern Madagascar. The ranch is just 2km from the entrance to Isalo National Park and 5km from the town of Ranohira; a beautiful and diverse area.

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Setam Lodge

Setam Lodge is the closest lodge to Ranomafana National Park at around five minutes away from the gate. Upon arrival at the lodge, guests will be astonished by the magnificent views of the mountains and the rainforest in which the lodge is set.

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Kaleta Hotel

Located overlooking the main bay of Fort Dauphin, the Kaleta Hotel is the newest hotel in Fort Dauphin - just 10 mins away from the airport. This luxurious hotel was opened in 2008 and has 30 high standard rooms and 10 luxury suites with all comforts and great views over the sea.

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Bakuba Guesthouse

Located 14km from the city of Tulear and 7km from the airport, the hotel is the perfect destination for guests travelling from Antananarivo by car or plane. Bakuba offers delicious food, warm service, an enchanting atmosphere and a number of exciting activities.

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Southern Madagascar on display

Southern Madagascar Activities

Isalo National Park is one of Madagascar’s most visited and most beautiful national parks where, after a morning clambering up escarpments and along canyons, walkers can enjoy a well-earned dip in one of the natural rock pools. The western interior landscape of Isalo National Park incorporates cascading rivers and waterfalls that tumble through green valleys and over stark rocky surfaces.

Giant, ancient baobabs, spongy succulents and swinging vines provide lavish homes for the number of lemurs, chameleons and exotic birdlife that fills the trees. In the deeper south of Madagascar is Santa Augustine's Bay, situated alongside an estuary at the base of steep cliffs plummeting into the sea.

The scuba diving and snorkelling here are excellent and this region offers a more remote beach holiday than in the tourist centres of Nosy Be and Ile Sainte Marie.

Southern Madagascar Seasons and Climate

The climate of Madagascar is tropical along the coast, temperate inland, and arid in the south creating a variety of completely different biomes and a diverse ecology.

The combination of south-eastern trade winds and north-western monsoons produces a hot, rainy season from November to April and a relatively cooler dry season between May and October.

The heavy precipitation due to the rain clouds that form over the Indian Ocean support the area's rainforest ecosystem along the east coast of the island. The central highlands are both drier and cooler, while the west is drier still.

A semi-arid climate prevails in the southwest and southern interior of the island. The best time to visit Madagascar is during the drier May to October period, so as to avoid the risk of monsoon season. Potential floods see the closure of many camps.

Top Destinations

Jardin du Roy is a French-owned guesthouse near Ranohira, close to the entrance to Isalo National Park. Built from granite to blend in with the landscape, the main lodge looks down over a long stretch of lawn, which ends in towering sandstone cliffs. 

Isalo Ranch is just 2km from the entrance to Isalo National Park and 5km from the town of Ranohira; a beautiful and diverse area. It is basic, but comfortable and with the spectacular jagged rock formations of Isalo forming the enchanting back drop.

Located on the southern coast of Madagascar, Manafiafy Beach and Rainforest Lodge offers the chance to explore the wild south coast beach, mangroves, lemur forests and astounding landscapes. The lodge is stunningly situated mere yards from a pristine beach bordered by lush forest and striking granite boulders.

How to Get There

Sun Safaris can arrange scheduled flights for visitors to Madagascar. Ivato International Airport is an airport located in Antananarivo (Tana), the capital of Madagascar. Ivato Airport is main hub for Air Madagascar and the majority of flights around the island originate from here, which is a good thing considering the bad state of the roads. Besides the big cities, lots of little hamlets are also served via light air transfers.

By road is the only inexpensive way to get around, but Madagascar's roads are mostly very poor quality (except for two routes leading in and out of Tana). These road excursions will take guests into beautiful forested areas; however, if there is a time limit on the journey, travellers should be reminded that these trips will take a while longer than expected.

There are not many direct routes on land and the many small towns are accessible via one road only, meaning guests should be advised on which routes to take should they be self-driving. The best option is light air transfer to destinations on the island.

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Meet The Sun Safaris Team

Meet Natasha

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Our expertise in African travel comes from years of experience travelling the continent, canoeing the rivers, walking the bush trails, and seeing the stars. We've been on the game drives and watched the sunsets, spent nights wrapped up in remote areas, and eaten great food around the fire. Our recommendations come first-hand, and they are your assurance that a safari booked with us is one we know you'll love, because we did.

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Just like the spots on a leopard's back, each of our tailor-made itineraries is unique. Every journey has a personality, carefully designed to match the desires and expectations our clients bring to the table. Every element is taken into consideration to stitch together a personalised safari experience, grown from seed and cultivated to embody the perfect adventure. Our tailored itineraries are your safari dreams, defined.