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The Great Reef

A reef stretches over 450km along the southwestern coast of Madagascar, making it the fifth-largest coral reef in the world. Running from Andavadoaka in the north to Itampolo in the south, it's the main attraction in the region, with its own changing personality.

The Great Reef comes in three forms: a fringing reef close in, a patch reef of coral heads and an outer barrier reef. The last creates very broad and shallow inshore lagoons and makes for dramatic scenery, with large waves crashing in the distance, forming a vibrant line of white. The beaches range from broken coral to spectacular white powder. There are many activities to pursue here: sunbathing, snorkelling, diving, fishing, whale watching (mid-June or early July to September), surfing and sailing among them.

Resort towns and ramshackle fishing villages line the shoreline, while the city of Tuléar is the gateway to both the Northern and Southern Reef.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout The Great Reef.