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Morondava


What to see   |   Guided tours   |   Where to sleep  |  Where to eat   |   Nightlife  |  Shopping  |   Transportation  |    Practical guide  

chez maggie

Chez Maggie Hotel & Restaurant
 
~ Morondava ~
 
A Romantic Hide-Away in a Secluded Garden Setting 

What to see

The laidback atmosphere of this coastal town is felt all over the city. The local market is well worth a visit (interesting lambaony fabrics). A usual exploration of the city starts normally at the airport, whose name, Anstakoameloky, has a weard origin and means "angry tree" (apparently an European pilot could not manage well the landing of his aircraft and crashed onto a tree, that was awaken to life and reacted in an aggrieved manner...) While we approach the city centre we pass throuh the boroughs of Tsimavao Bet and Tsimavao Kely. In Namahora Nord the second most imporant market of the city is held. The city centre, called Bazary Be, is a lively compound of narrow streets full of strident merchants and street vendors.  Nosy Kely, on the seashore, is the actual tourist borough. To get to hte village of Betania, you can hire a pirogue at the Hellot port.

Morondava has of course its own beaches, though due to the strong streams, the are no suitable for bathing. If you are on a dolcefarniente mood, head to the beaches of Betania, Bosy and Ankevo.

  • Analaiva

Every Wednesday the biggest zebu market of the region is held in Analaiva, a small village 25 km from Morondava.

  • The baobabs’ Alley (19 Km)
Baobabs alley
© Madagascar Travel Guide
Baobabs are usually solitary trees, standing tall and proud in the midst of empty spaces. Yet in Baobab Alley, they cluster together forming an avenue of columns that border the dirty road. 

With their massive trunks, crooked branches and furry fruit, baobabs have learned how to adapt to a dry and hostile environment. The secret of the baobab's success in surviving in harsh environments and the reason for its massive trunk is that it has little wood fibre but a large water storage capacity. Each tree can hold up to 300 litres of water, enabling it to live through long periods without rain. The life-cycle of these unique natural oddities is as impressive as their bulk - most live over 500 years! For the people of the Menabe region (Menabe means literally “very red” –as soon as you walk on the vermilion tinted soil of this part of Madagascar you will know why), the baobabs are their symbol and their pride. But baobabs are also endangered. The encroachment of nearby rice paddies and sugar-cane plantations means the giant trees are being exposed to too much water, which is really bad news for these giants. A way to promote the awareness of the local inhabitants and facilitated their protection would be involving the local population into an ecotourism project. There are plans of charging entrance fees, set up a shop and train members of the community to share their knowledge and cultural beliefs about the baobabs with interested visitors. Right now, these are only rumours, and the only price visitors have to pay for admiring this stunning natural spectacle is a painful back after 20 km bumpy drive. The best time to visit these gentle giants is at twilight, when their stark silhouettes form a spectacular contrast to the soft, calming colours of sunset. The flowering period is between February and March.

Baobabs alley
Sunrise at the Baobabs Alley  © Madagascar Travel Guide
  • Kirindy Forest

See under  Kirindy reserve

  • Funeral sites Sakalava Vezo

The visit of these burial sites is subject to prior authorization by the local administration. It is imperative to be accompanied by a guide because, in addition to the difficulties of access, there are many taboos aroundt these sites.

  • Mangily tombs

These tombs are only accessible during the dry season because of the marshy area. 


   Feasts

Morondava is the core of the Sakalava culture and its awasome rites. During the dry seson funerary ceremonies recalling the famadihana take place, as well as the circumsion festivities. But the most "exotic" tradition is certainly that of the "tromba": a tromba is the spirit of an ancestor that takes possession of the body of a medium, who is usually also the main religious authority of the place. Getting permission of attend one of this possession ceremonies might be hard, but it will be doubtless a memory for your entire life. In addition to religious festivigties, Morondava is also the centre of the Sakalava fight, which is also practised in Diego.


Guided tours

Baobab Tours
The office is inside the Baobab Café. Good range of vehicles and excursions to Kirindy, Tsingy (including flights over the region), deep-sea fishing. Competent service, prices are maybe a little bit high.

Renala "Au sable d´Or"
Located at the entrance of the Renala hotel (see below), they offer transfers by boat to Belo sur Mer and excursions to Kirindy, Mangily, Belo sur mer, Tsingy or Tsiribihina river.

Remote River Expeditions
Phone: 95 523 47 / 032 47 32 670
Web: http://www.remoterivers.com
Email: info@remoterivers.com

Based at the Chez Maggie Hotel (see below) offering quality excursions with multi-lingual naturalist guides. Along with the highlights of the Menabe (western) Region including the Tsingy de Bemaraha, Kirindy Forest Reserve, Tsiribihina and Manambolo Rivers they offer programs throughout the island. They rent vehicles as well. Prices are more affordable!

Madaconnection (Le Relais de Morondava, Nosy Kely)
Phone: +261 20 24 248 02 / +261 (0)34 11 409 02
Web: http://www.madaconnection.com     http://www.madagascar-insolite.com 
Mail: info@madaconnection.com
They organise 3 days tours to the Tsingy with brand new 4x4 (110 € without accommodation and meals) and Tsiribihina´s descent for 300 €. Departures guaranteed with 4 people.

Madamora Tours
Phone: 032 02 36 120
Web: www.mada-mora.com
Mail: info@mada-mora.com
High standard vehicles for discerning customers. Professional service in all tours they organise: Tsingy, Kirindy, journey along the coast till Tulear.

Where to sleep 

(Hotels in alphabetical order, prices from 2013)

  Chez Maggie
  Phone: 95 523 47 / 032 47 32 670
  Web: www.chezmaggie.com
  Mail: info@chezmaggie.com

Budget   |   Middle range  |  High end

Budget accommodations

Hôtel Central
Phone: 95 520 81 / 032 05 621 02
10 comfortable and basic rooms with hot water and fan on the main street.
Price for two people from 19000 Ar

Hôtel le Batelage
Phone: 95 527 32
8 comfortable and basic rooms with private bathroom and hot water, some with fan and some with AC
Price for two people from 23000 Ar to 30000 Ar

Le Cheval de Mer
Phone: 032 04 703 91
6 basic, clean and comfortable rooms with private facilities, fan and cold water. Good value.
Price for two people 32,000 Ar

L’Oasis
Route de Batelage
Phone: 95 527 81
4 basic bungalows with private bathroom. Really friendly and relaxed atmosphere. The restaurant is very popular and serves cheap and excellent meals.
Price for two people 20000 Ar

Zoom Hôtel
Phone: 95 520 59
10 basic but pleasant rooms with hot water, some with AC. Good quality report.
Price for two people between 20,000 Ar and 28,000 Ar.


Middle class hotels

Hôtel Morondava Beach
Phone: + 261 20 95 523 18
Web: www.hgi-mbeach.com
Mail: mbeach@blueline.mg
15 welcoming and functional bungalows at different prices depending on the comforts and facilities. Beautiful location right on the beach. Different excursions offered. The restaurant is very good.
Double bungalow with fan and cold water 12 €, familiar for 17 €
Double bungalow with fan and hot water 18 €, familiar for 21 €

Hôtel Les Philaos
Phone: 95 520 81
20 comfortable rooms, some with a small kitchen. Nice atmosphere and friendly staff.
Price from 25000 Ar with fan to 45,000 Ar with AC.

Les Bougainvilliers
Phone: 95 521 63
8 bungalows and 12 rooms with different prices and facilities (fan or AC, cold or hot water, en-suite or shared bathroom), all of them are clean and comfortable. Nice setting by the sea. Very good food. Activities and trips to tsingy arranged.
Price from 12 € to 21 €

Trecicogne Hôtel
Phone:+261 95 924 25
web: http://www.hoteltrecicogne.com
Mail: trecicogne@moov.mg
14 welcoming, clean and comfortable rooms in an nice area by the water, some with cold water and fan, some with hot water and AC. Friendly atmosphere. The restaurant serves delicious meals. Recommended!
Price for two people from 24,000 Ar to 49,000 Ar, depending on the facilities.


High End hotels

Chez Maggie
Phone: 95 523 47 / 032 47 32 670
Web: www.chezmaggie.com
Mail: info@chezmaggie.com
12 unique bungalows and 2-story Chalets with a magnificent location directly on the beach. A relaxed and secluded setting with extensive tropical gardens and a small swimming pool. All rooms are large, nicely decorated and very comfortable. The restaurant is really good. Offering excursions throughout the region (same owners as Remote River Expeditions). Free Wifi internet for guests. English spoken!
Price for a double bungalow between 34 € and 52 €

Baobab Café
Phone: + 261 20 95 520 12
Web: www.baobabtour.com
Mail: baobabtours@blueline.mg
30 high standard and very comfortable rooms with AC, hot water, mini-bar, satellite TV and fridge. It is probably the best hotel in town. It has a large pool and a billiard room too. Great variety of excursion organised (flight over the tsingy on a private plane, deep-sea fishing, ship trips). Very good restaurant.
Price for a room between 34 and 63 €

Hotel Les Mantalys
Phone: +(261) 0 322 702 297 / +261 1326030553
Mail: germain@mantalys.com
Web: http://www.mantalys.com
Hotel and bar with capacity up to 20 guests. Familiar atmosphere and beautiful location, good french and local food and a superb pool. All bungalows with AC, mini bar and Tv. Double bungalow 24 €, triple 33 € and family one for 35 €.

Palissandre Cote Ouest
Phone: +261 20 95 520 22
Mail: palissandrecoteouest@gmail.com
Web: www.palissandrecote-ouest.com
This is nowadays the most luxurious hotel in Morondava. Recently opened in 2008, it has 30 huge bungalows with all comforts (private terrace, satellite TV, minibar, safe), a spa centre and a great pool facing the sea. All kind of sport activities offered and trips organized.

Renala "Au sable d´Or"
Phone: + 261 (0)32 04 976 88
Mail: contact@renala.net
Web: http://www.renala.net/
13 high standard wooden bungalows (fan or AC), 2 apartments and 4 rooms (fan or AC), all comfortable and tastefully furnished, with  WIFI, satellite TV on a beautiful and green location next to the sea.  The restaurant serves very good food (especially  seafood) and has day menu for 3 €. Good value.
Price for a room 14 to 39 €, an apartment  26 to 44 €, bungalows from 21 to 60 €


Where to eat


La Campannina
(Nosy Kely)
Very popular restaurant serving excellent Italian and local specialities on the beach road opposite The Lord Club. Recommended!

Le Cabanon
Popular snack bar among expats, ideal for lunch. Not far from Central Hotel

Le Jamaica (Nosy Kely)
Right on the beach, friendly atmosphere, good food (delicious seafood) and incredible punch coco!

Mada Bar
In town centre, small and quiet bar serving pizzas, fresh fruits and cocktails.

Chez Isidoro (Nosy Kely)
Inexpensive place full of locals. Its speciality consist of zebu steak and French fries. If you are missing western fast food this is your place.

Shopping

The local craft products are very varied. You can find beautiful wooden funerary steles of the Sakalava and Vezo tribes, but of course they are a simple copy! Original funerary art cannot be exportet out of Madagascar. The craftshopf of the city centre offer all what any eager visitr might desire.


Transportation

Morondava has a regular air connection the capital. The bureau of Air Madagascar is found on the road to the airport (95 521 01/520 67).

The taxi brousse station is found on the Avenue de l'Indepenance, close to the petrol station Solima. You can come from Antananarivo with a taxi brousse but the 700 km kilometres on a terrible road that separate both cities will be a true torture. If you really want to avoid flying and descending the Tsibirihinba on a pirogue is not an option for you, you might better to make the trip in stretches.

Be careful as well, since traffic accidents are not uncommon.

There is a coastal track to Morombe on the South, which is more or less easily passable during the dry season, and completely unpassable during the wet season. A service of taxi-brousse makes the route to Tulear a 30 hour journey full of unexpected events!

Of course you can access Morondava on a boat too, since it is a port town! Cargos usually move between Toliara, Maintirano, Morombe and Morondava. They ofer a very basic confort but are a cheap way of travel. To enquire prices and schedules ask at Auximad, at the Les Bougainvilliers Hotel or directy the boatmen at the port.

Madaconnection (www.madaconnection.com,info@madaconnection.com) offers a scheduled mixed car-boat service connecting Tulear and Morondava and calling at Salary, Andavadoaka and Morombe on Saturdays. 
Important information: due to the present political crisis Madaconnection cannot offer this tour in 2011  
The first strech is made on a good maintain four-wheel vehicle until Salary, where an overnight is planned. On Sunday the spectacular journey is continued with the truck until the small and enchanting fishermen village of Andavadoaka, where a second night is spent. From Andavadoaka a speed boat carries the passengers via Morombe and Belo sur Mer until Morondava. The boat returns to Andavadoaka on Mondays. This three-day-adventure costs 180 € p. person.
The boat transfer between Morondava and Belo sur Mer is only possible for those who have booked a circuit with Madaconnection.


Nightlife

Nightlife in Morondava is full of the sounds of kwassa-kwassa. There are a couple of pubs, a night club called My Lord (opposite to the restaurant La Capannina) and a cabaret on Fridays called L´Escale. 


Practical guide

Alliance Francaise
Mail: webmaster@alliancefr.mg  
vincentminquoy@yahoo.fr
Phone: 95 524 21

There are several Internet Cafés in town, a couple of them in Nosy Kely and some more in city centre, like CyberEspace opposite to Madabar.

ANGAP Office
Phone: 95 524 20

Banks

BFV-Société Générale
Avenue de l`Indepéndance
Phone : 95 520 24

BTM-BOA
Corner of Lille and Reines
Phone: 95 523 79

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