Introducing Tuléar (Toliara)
Slightly grimy and definitely sweltering against the humid backdrop of the Tropic of Capricorn, the ‘white city’, so-called by central highlanders because of the light-coloured buildings, is becoming southern Madagascar’s leading town. The approaching views are outstanding: you can see vast sand dunes which run along the coast. Here, you witness a convergence of the savannah, the bush and the grassy plains, meeting with little monotony. It’s a sizzling, dusty place, bustling with brightly painted pousses-pousses, refuse-strewn alleys, and dishevelled architectural remnants from the French colonial facelift – all slipping into heat-drenched languor between midday and 3pm. The city has broad avenues flanked by tamarind and flame trees, sandy crowded alleys concealing narrow corridors and colonial-era buildings ending abruptly in a wall of rubble. Toliara is the end point for those travelling the RN7, and you may very well end up spending a few days here waiting for transport elsewhere (remember: mora mora or ‘slowly, slowly’). If you have a little extra time, however, and are looking for a good-value and up-and-coming beach destination, try the southern beaches around Ifaty. They see fewer crowds than up north, and are starting to gain attention as an upmarket romantic getaway destination. It’s also a good stopping point if you’re starting the long trek to Fort Dauphin by road – you can stock up on supplies.
Tuléar (Toliara) destination guides
Lying adjacent to the east coast of Africa, Madagascar is home to stunning mountains, spectacular rainforests and white, sandy beaches. The island protects incredible numbers of endangered lemurs, rare plants and birds within its expansive national parks.
Explore the spectacular national parks and unique wildlife of Madagascar