This is the one must-see attraction in Tuléar. Essentially a 400,000-sq-metre distillation of the entire spiny forest in one place, it's a fantastic collection of 900 plant species. Established by a Swiss botanist and conservationist in 1980, it's also a model for how much-larger parks should be run. There's a classy interpretation centre, a small museum, shop, self-guided tours in English, a stylish restaurant and some excellent, inexpensive bungalows, Auberge de la Table, with pool. MNP take note: clone this place.
The arboretum lies about 12km southeast of town, just a few hundred metres from the RN7, so it’s a good stop as you arrive by car. Otherwise take a taxi or ask any taxi-brousse heading toward Befety to drop you off at the junction (you’ll have to walk in). Transfers to Tuléar or the airport cost Ar10,000.