Fort Dauphin

Overview

Introduction

Taolagnaro, Madagascar (also known as Fort Dauphin), is built on a small peninsula backed by mountains. It offers excellent beaches in a beautiful setting. There's not much in Taolagnaro itself (a fort built in 1643 is no longer open to the public), but you can make an excursion to the Berenty Reserve (50 mi/80 km to the west—it has a museum and botanical and zoological gardens). Berenty is the best place to see Verreaux’s sifaka, a type of lemur known for its dancing mode of terrestrial locomotion, along with several other plants and animals associated with the spectacularly bizarre "spiny desert" of southern Madagascar. The reserve is owned by the wealthy de Heaulme family and provides accommodations and food. Visits are only possible as part of an organized tour.

Other excursions include visits to the ruins of an old Portuguese fort, Baie St. Luce (a beach with comparatively safe swimming). To the west is a large area of spiny forest. There are also interesting hiking routes in the hills overlooking the town. Plan one night in the town itself, and add another if you're visiting Berenty Reserve. The area is about 420 mi/675 km south of Antananarivo.

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