The Morondava area was the centre of the Sakalava kingdom and their tombs bear witness to their power and creativity. These elaborately sculpted wooden royal tombs are frequently decorated with well-executed, often erotic, funerary carvings representing life and fertility.
Today, Morondava is the centre of a prosperous rice-growing area and a seaside resort with a laid-back atmosphere. The main attraction is its proximity to the famous Avenue of the Baobabs, a cluster of giant Grandidier’s baobab, perhaps Madagascar's most iconic landmark. The Avenue became a protected natural monument in 2007 and new trees have been planted on the 320 ha reserve. A little further than the Avenue des Baobabs is Kirindy Reserve, a protected patch of dense deciduous woodland, and the best place in Madagascar to see the fossa, the country's biggest predator. It also hosts a range of other rare endemic species including Labord's chameleon and the giant jumping rat.
Behind the town are mangroves that host egrets, ibises and herons. Morondava's long sandy beaches and sleepy streets are best visited at sunset.
Morondava: where to stay
Palissandre Côte Ouest
: With 30 spacious bungalows built from local materials and overlooking Nosy Kely beach, Palissandre
is just half an hour from the Avenue of the Baobabs and offers various activities including mangrove boating, windsurfing, snorkelling, sailing and fishing.