Pachypodium Tree at Antsokay Arboretum

© mikluha_maklai/Shutterstock

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.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby The Great Reef attractions

1. La Table

1.94 MILES

This table mountain is unmissable as you approach Tuléar down the RN7, about 10km from town. There’s a relatively easy trail to the top, which takes about…

2. Musée Cedratom

6.87 MILES

This small, three-room museum is run by the local university and features exhibits on local culture, an elephant-bird egg and other oddities, including an…

3. Mangrove Information Center

13.28 MILES

On the west side of the road, 12km north of Tuléar, a sign directs you to the Mangrove Information Center a 2-sq-km wetland complex created by Honko, a…

4. Reniala Nature Reserve

21.8 MILES

This is a 0.6-sq-km spiny forest full of baobab trees and some birds. There are two circuits, one of 45 minutes to an hour and the other of 1½ to two…

5. Village des Tortues

21.85 MILES

Near Reniala Nature Reserve, this 70,000-sq-metre park protects over 1000 radiated and spider tortoises. A guided tour of the grounds (in English) tells…