The Ifaty southern region is delightfully laidback, comprised of two small fishing villages called Mangily and Madio Rano. Between these villages you will find a collection of bungalow accommodation options, making it an ideal beach destination to unwind after your more active trekking and wildlife exploits on other parts of the island, or simply watch the traditional ‘pirogue’ fishing boats ply the gentle waters. Throughout the months of July and August, it is also possible to spot migrating whales as they pass.
Located 90 minutes north of the town of Tulear, the area is blessed with an enticing quota of sunshine – approximately 300 days per year – and three areas of private forest. The spiny forest conjures images of wild and spiky flora, ring-tailed lemurs clinging to the sharp prickles of the trees, seemingly unfazed by their needle-lie protrusions. Whilst this is true, there is so much more to this area, with fantastic birding as well as reptiles and white-sportive lemurs sleeping in the trees. The Village des Tortues is a forested area that operates a French-run turtle breeding and conservation project. The other forest areas are home to some of the biggest ancient baobab trees in the southwest of the island, some of which are said to date back over 1200 years. The area is generally dry and hot, but whilst the spiny forest has adapted to these adverse conditions, it is still in danger of deforestation and the area is an important conservation zone.
The offshore coral reef that spans 100 kilometres in the lagoon area of Ifaty affords some excellent diving in the abundantly rich and colourful coral, and the chance to dive amongst a variety of sharks.
The lodges found here often use traditional, natural materials, using stone and wood to create a sense of natural charm. Hotel le Paradisier is the most upscale option with spacious, comfortable bungalows and stunning views out to sea.