Want to get away from it all? Then head west.
By 'getting away from it all', of course, we mean in terms of cities and crowds. When it comes to scenery, adventure and culture visiting the Western region means getting that much closer to all that's so memorable about Madagascar.
Extending from Majunga (Mahajanga) to South of Morondava, the Western region of Madagascar is more remote, more under-developed than the rest of the island. It also has a warm dry climate which is why it has remained so widely uninhabitated except, that is, by wildlife.
Ankarafantsika (formerly known as Ampijoroa Forest Station) is one of the largest and last remaining sections of dense dry deciduous forest in Madagascar, hailed as a must-do destination for spotting rare and beautiful tropical birds as well as lemurs.
When it come to scenery the Tsingy de Bemaraha Reserve is so spectacular with its needle-sharp limestone pinnacles above the Manambolo River that is is classified as a World Heritage Site. Just be sure to wear tough boots, the word 'tsingy' being derived from a Madagasy word meaning 'the place where you cannot walk barefoot'.
Remarkable limestone or basaltic plateaus - the causses of Kelifely north of Bongolava and those of Bemaraha North of the Tsiribihina (with its big lapiez, or tsingy) - extend east of the coastal plains where the deltas of great rivers (Sofia, Betsiboka, South Mahavavy, Manambolo, Tsiribihina and Morondava) and some large mangrove mudflats interrupt a line of beautiful beaches protected by coral reefs.
What could be more 'getting away from it all' than cruising down the Tsirbihina River, enjoying the wildlife or relaxing on the beaches around Belo-sur-Mer and Morondava, also known for the giant baobabs in 'Allée de Baobab'.
Majunga, the fourth largest city in Madagascar, is a seaport in the north west of the region . It is located on the mouth of one of the largest rivers of Madagascar, the Betsiboka and close to the Cirque Rouge, a canyon with striking red cliffs, an amphitheatre of eroded rock tinted in a rainbow hue of colours.
Really 'get away from it all' by going underground to explore the caves in the region of Majunga where a network of tunnels cover more than 2km. At the end there's a natural pool, surely one of the remotest swimming pools in the world?
Not to be missed are the memories of ancient cultures and the colourful tombs of the migrant Antandroy people in the Kirindy (Swiss forest). Today the Sakalava are found in the Western region of the island along the coast. These'people of the long valleys' are a large ethnic group with African beliefs and inherited customs such as the possession by spirits, the tromba and cult of royal relics.
MAJOR CITIES/TOWNS: Majunga, Morondava, Mahajanga, Belo-sur-Mer, Marovoay, Maintirano
NATIONAL PARKS AND RESERVES:
Ankarafantsika (Ampijoroa,) Kirindy Forest, Tsingy de Bemaraha.
Prime Magazine Featured destinations in the Western Region
For your next stay in Majunga, take a tour of the Namoroka National Park, a magical place about fifty kilometers from Soalala. You will be impressed by the fascinating landscapes designed by the Tsingy or lapiaz in a blessed region in terms of biodiversity.....Read more
Ambondromamy is one of the 11 municipalities that make up the District of Ambato-Boeny, in the southern part of the Boeny Region, formerly Mahajanga Province. This city is the point of intersection between two national roads: the RN4 connecting Antananarivo and Mahajanga with the RN6, connecting the centre of the country with the north, Antsiranana.....Read more
The Ankatsabe forest is home to highly-valued fauna and flora species. Managed by the local community since 2001, it became a treasure for researchers and nature lovers. Ninety percent of the animals and plants in this forest are endemic and 66 percent of the plants have medicinal properties.....Read more
An on-trend place to spend your holidays, Majunga is the most beautiful town in the west of Madagascar. Being situated at the heart of a precious nature sanctuary, its tourist attractions are not limited to seaside resort activities, but also offers a wealth of cultural and historic sites.....Read more
A paradise for all those passionate about wildlife and a truly appropriate destination for those wishing to get away from it all, the Bay of Baly is also a seaside resort. Go with the flow and discover the rich ecosystem of the National Park close by.....Read more
There exist several versions to explain the sacred character of the lake. According to oral tradition, it was a bandit who was turned into a crocodile, making it a sacred site. Another legend speaks of a Sakalava royal family throwing themselves into the lake to avoid being captured by the enemy. There are other sacred sites in the vicinity, such as royal tombs or the ‘doany’ (buildings where sacrificial ceremonies take place).Read more
Bedo Lake is one of 20 wetlands designated as Ramsar sites in Madagascar today. Located in the Menabe Region, in the western part of the Big Island, the Bedo wetland extends over 2000 hectares of which the lake area alone is 412 hectares. Since 2007, it has been inscribed on the list of wetlands of international importance...Read more