Madagascar is a remarkable country to visit. It has existed in evolutionary isolation for many millions of years. In that time it has developed a unique mosaic of flora and fauna. It is home to the famed lemurs, fossas, chameleons, and many other unique endemic forms of wildlife. Wildlife tours in Madagascar are profoundly different from what one will see on the African mainland - like in Tanzania.
Here one also sees Madagascar's baobabs and how they have taken a very different evolutionary path than their descant relatives in Australia and on the African mainland. The Avenue of the Baobabs is one of the most eye-catching attractions in all of Africa and visiting is a must for anyone who has the chance.
What To Know Of the Avenue Of The Baobabs
The Avenue of the Baobabs (or Alley of the Baobabs) draws travelers from across the world and is the center of local conservation efforts. The site of so many majestic baobabs lined up on the red dirt road has enamored travelers for many years. The 260 m (850 ft) stretch of dirt road is lined with 20-25 giant baobabs with another 25 or so in nearby rice paddies and meadows.
- Species: Grandidier's Baobab (Adansonia grandidieri)
- Height: Approx. 30 meters or 98 feet
These stunning trees live up to 2,800 years and are a legacy of a dense tropical forest that once thrived on Madagascar. They grew to their lofty heights of 100 or so feet to tower over the prehistoric dense forest. But today the forest is gone, and these towering giants remain isolated over the sere landscape of scrub.
The forests were cleared for agriculture, but the baobab trees were spared being valued as a food source and for other reasons.
Visiting the Avenue of The Baobabs
Madagascar is a country well off the main tourist drag and has very little tourist infrastructure (tourists should also be prepared for long bumpy rides on dirt roads in the country). And even though these baobabs are finally protected and are one of the country's main attractions, there is little by way of tourist infrastructure.
- When To Visit: Sunrise and Sunset
- Closest City: Morondava
There are no gate fees and there is no visitor center. Just arrange for someone to drive one out to the lonely country road in time for the crack of dawn. The best time to visit is at dawn and dusk - this is when the lightning is the best and the photos will be the most impressive.
- Tourist Infrastructure: Expect Very Little Tourist Infrastructure
These mighty baobabs grow around the island, but nowhere is as picturesque as the Avenue of Baobabs. While there, see the two baobabs that have become intertwined and grown into one called Les Baobabs Amoureux.
Tours Of The Avenue of The Baobabs
While one can visit the Avenue of the Baobabs by oneself, one can also take a guided tour of them to save on all the hassle. Many itineraries for Madagascar include visits to the Avenue of the Baobabs. Alternatively, there are also day tours.
One example of a day tour listed on TripAdvisor combines two of Madagascar's top attractions into one day. This tour takes one to both Kirindy Park and Baobab Avenue and is a full day.
On this tour, guests get to take in the stunning sights of Madagascar's landscapes. See deserts, beaches, wildlife parks, and more. The tour leaves early (around 7:30 am-7:45ama) with a pickup from one's Morondava hotel.
The tour then heads to the forest of Kirindy where visitors explore the exotic forests and its strange residents (like the large cats called fossa. 80% of the animals seen in Madagascar are found nowhere else in the world and many are endangered. The tour comes with a guide who will explain the ecological history and more of the land.
- Duration: 11h
- Languages: English, French
- Attractions: Kirindy Park and Baobab Avenue
- Time Visit: Dusk
- Lunch: Not Included
- Cost: From $255 Per Adult
After lunch, the tour heads to the Baobab Avenue where everyone will be left spellbound by these ancient and bizarre trees. The tour will also explore other clusters of hundreds of otherworldly trees found nowhere else. In total, the tour spends around 2.5 hours exploring the different corners of Baobab Avenue.