Must see attractions in The Great Reef

  • Sights in Ifaty & Mangily

    Reniala Nature Reserve

    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 hours. The Arboretum in Tuléar is better, but this one's still worth supporting and worth a visit. There's also an on-site lemur rescue centre, with some in cages, others in semiwild enclosures in readiness for their release into the wild. If you're here for the birds before opening time, there's usually a guide who'll show you around; a birding tour costs Ar44,000.

  • Sights in Southern Reef

    Réserve Spéciale Beza-Mahafaly

    Southwest of the RN7 from Andranovory, the Réserve Spéciale Beza-Mahafaly is better known as a scientific venture rather than a tourist destination, but travellers are welcome to explore its six hiking circuits (750m to 12km). The spiny and riverine forest here harbours four species of lemur (ring-tailed, white-footed and mouse lemur, as well as Verreaux's sifaka), four species of tenrec (including the large-eared tenrec), fossa, radiated tortoise and more than 100 bird species.

  • Sights in Ifaty & Mangily

    Village des Tortues

    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 you the full story of these endangered animals and how they are being conserved. It takes less than an hour, so it's a worthy break from the beach.