From Morondava to Tuléar along the Mozambique Channel
Only declared a national park in 1999, Parc National de Kirindy-Mitea is located south of Morondava and is one of the least known and a rarely visited national park in Madagascar.
One reason might be the relatively difficult approach: more than 40 km on a bad dirt road southward towards Belo-sur-Mer. This national park on Madagascar essentially comprises two types of vegetation: the western dry forest and the southern thorn forest, which meet here in an extremely interesting way. The number of animal species represented is correspondingly high. The lemurs should be mentioned first: 8 species live here, of which 3 are diurnal and 5 nocturnal.
The park's two large lakes, Lac Ambondro and Lac Sirave, are true paradises for birdwatchers: over 30 rare species have been counted. The park does not yet have any infrastructure - apart from the paths and marked trails that have been built recently. Kirindy-Mitea also includes part of the marine area off the coast: several offshore islands near Belo-sur-Mer as well as part of the reef have recently become part of the national park. It is worth discovering this park: diverse landscapes and several fundamentally different ecosystems lie together in a small area.
Although Morondava enjoys a certain reputation as a seaside resort, the beaches in the city are only suitable for swimming to a very limited extent. Therefore, if you want to enjoy the beach and the sun, it is better to go to Kimony Beach: about 10 kilometers north of the city (past the airport), the road goes north. After 10 kilometers you leave the main road and turn left towards the sea. Over a sandy dirt road you will pass small fishing villages of the Vezo for about 2 kilometers. At the dunes the journey comes to an end. From here on we can only continue on foot. The beach with the dunes is quite wide - about 500 meters.
At season time there is quite a lot going on here, as the numerous huts, bungalows and bar businesses show. Outside the high season (from October), however, there is almost nothing going on here and you have the whole huge beach to yourself - except for the fishermen who have their pirogues moored here and go out in the early morning and afternoon. Water sports enthusiasts and especially snorkelers and divers should consider a visit to Belo-sur-Mer.
About 70 kilometers south of Morondava lies the small fishing village on the coast. On the one hand, Belo is very beautiful and tranquil; on the other hand, its location on a wide lagoon makes it a center on the west coast for shipping, especially shipbuilding. Watching the construction of traditional wooden boats is very interesting, especially when you see the primitive tools that are used to build seaworthy ships and boats.
Belo can certainly be called a center of shipbuilding. Nowhere else are so many ships of all sizes (so-called boutres) laid down as here. Belo is also important for salt production: sea salt is extracted on a large scale in huge salt pans in the hinterland and immediately shipped to the Menaky port. Although the town is quite remote, Belo can boast relatively many and upscale accommodations and restaurants due to its importance as a diving destination. Belo-sur-Mer is a wonderful place to relax for a few days: life goes on leisurely, the people are friendly and possibly even more relaxed than anywhere else in Madagascar.
About 200 kilometers south of Morodava lies Morombe - until the early 1970s a very popular seaside resort for the French and considerably larger and busier than today. In the meantime, about 10,000 souls still live in the former beach paradise. The loss of the most important source of income, tourism, has led not so much to resignation among the locals as to a remarkable joie de vivre: There's something going on in Morombe every night, and the still very beautiful and picturesque town is a tip especially for night owls.
Even further south of Morombe, at a distance of about 40 kilometers, lies Andavadoaka. This place is mainly something for divers and/or luxury travelers: the offshore coral reef is unparalleled in its biodiversity and beauty. The beaches and the tranquil life of the local population make Andavadoaka an insider tip.
The region south of Morondava down to Tuléar is not easy to pass by land. Only the dry season (July to January) offers halfway acceptable road conditions - even with a four-wheel drive vehicle. By the way, an attractive alternative is the sea route: from Morondava as well as from further north from Mahajanga, coastal ships regularly sail down to Tuléar. Of course, this possibility can also be organized! No matter which way you choose: You will finally arrive in Tuléar - the gateway to the south and north. Because "our" RN 7 to the north ends here, and the city is a hub for a subsequent onward journey, e.g. to the hot south.