Arboretum d'Antsokay

Top choice in The Great Reef

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; take a guide (tip expected) to learn more about the weird and wonderful plants on show here. It was established by a Swiss botanist and conservationist in 1980; his ancient Citroen that once used to gather the plants is now being consumed by them. Madagascar National Parks (MNP) take note: clone this place. Night tours (Ar10,000) leave at 5.45pm.

There's a small museum, a shop, a stylish restaurant and some excellent, inexpensive bungalows, Auberge de la Table, with pool.

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 Ar30,000.