Flights & getting there
Morondava is connected with the villages to the south, including Belo-sur-Mer, by pirogue and boutre (single-masted dhow used for cargo) – ask your guide to help with the arrangements and remember that safety is a concern on these boats, there are no facilities and you'll need to carry your own supplies.
For far more luxury than a taxi-brousse can muster, Transport Première Class runs comfortable, air-con vehicles between Tana and Majunga (Ar118,000, 12 hours, daily). They sit just two people to a row and include a packed lunch. Departure is at 6am from outside Renala Au Sable D'Or and drop-off is at Motel Anosy in Tana. Bookings essential.
Try also Cotisse, with nicer 16- to 19-seater buses to Antananarivo (Ar45,000, 6.30am, 12 to 14 hours).
Most taxis-brousses leave from the Gare Taxi-Brousse in the town centre.
The road between Morondava and Tuléar (Toliara) is a very rough track that is only passable in dry season (April or May to October); the taxis-brousses that do the route are 4WD bâchés (small, converted pickup trucks) or camions-brousses – even worse in comfort than normal taxis-brousses. Taxis-brousses leave in the morning when they fill up.
Taxis-Brousses from Morondava
|Destination||Cost (Ar)||Duration (hr)||Frequency|
|Belo-sur-Mer||42,000||4||several times weekly Apr-Oct|
|Tuléar||60,000||48||several times weekly Apr-Oct|
Morondava or Belo-sur-Mer to Tuléar
The road from Morondava or Belo-sur-Mer to Tuléar cuts inland via Manja and rejoins the coast at Morombé. This road is only passable in dry season (usually May to October) and it takes three bone-shaking days – more if you linger along the towns of the Northern Reef. The taxis-brousses that do the route are 4WD bâchés (small, converted pickup trucks) or camions-brousses – even more uncomfortable than normal taxis-brousses, and they're irregular at best. Whichever way you travel, the reward is an adventure that’ll be worth telling the grandkids, with beautiful landscapes, remote villages, makeshift ferries and heavenly beaches.
One unfortunate recent development is the impromptu checkpoints at seemingly every village, with a makeshift barrier across the road. They will ask for payment of anything from Ar5000 to Ar10,000 but most will settle for Ar1000 or a little more. On our last journey here, we counted at least 20 such checkpoints between Morondava and Morombé. Although the amounts aren't much, they can add up, and the checkpoints slow you down.
- Day 1: Morondava to Manja (six to eight hours) The tracks here are not as rough as those further south, but there are five wide, shallow rivers to cross and numerous streams to ford. Your prize at the end is Manja (around four hours if you're coming from Belo-sur-Mer), a lively provincial town with a pretty church. The only place to stay is Kanto Hotel, a friendly spot with a surprisingly good restaurant, but basic rooms with shower water that barely trickles from the wall. More rooms were under construction when we last visited.Try to avoid weekends when the downstairs bar bumps and grinds until the wee small hours. At around 2am, we gave up trying to sleep and went down to join them…
- Day 2: Manja to Morombé or Andavadoaka (10 hours) This is a long, punishing day of off-road driving with a rickety vehicle ferry crossing at Bejoavy (per vehicle starting from Ar40,000 if you need to be pulled across by a team of locals…). You’ll have to set off at first light and carry a picnic lunch.
- Day 3: Morombé or Andavadoaka to Tuléar (eight to 10 hours) This splendid stretch of coastline hugs Madagascar’s Great Reef, with the toughest section of road a 30km, baobab-lined stretch of sand south of Andavadoaka. There are numerous gorgeous hotels and lots of good snorkelling and diving, so you may want to split this into two days.