Réserve Spéciale Cap Sainte-Marie

Nature Reserve in The Cape

Madagascar’s southernmost tip, Cap Sainte-Marie is a thought-provoking climax to the ‘eighth continent’, a stark and windswept place that, like so many places down here, feels like the end of the Earth. This 18-hectare reserve, partly created to protect radiated and spider tortoises, ends at the cliff's edge.

A small MNP office lets you know that you have arrived. Here you’ll need to pick up a park guide (Ar50,000). A further drive takes you to the edge of the cliffs, where there is a lighthouse complex, a religious statue and, if your timing is right, a memorable sunset beneath a huge sky. Whales are also often visible offshore between July and November. A longer circuit takes you to a beach strewn with the eggshell fragments of the extinct elephant bird, Aepyornis.

There are no hotels, but camping (sites Ar20,000) can be arranged at the park office. Otherwise, the nearest accommodation is in Lavanono, a two-hour journey by 4WD.