Morondava is a coastal town in the West of Madagascar, connected to the capital by regular plane service run by Air Madagascar. It is an ideal place for a relaxing stay, especially compared to the capital, since it is less crowded and (so far) devoid of beggars. It is also cheaper. The beaches are good and extend far to the north side of town. Morondava can also be used a base for trips to the fishing village of Belo sur Mer (by pirogue (small boat)) or to the wildlife park at Kirindy (via 4x4 since the roads are quite poor).
The dry season is the best time to visit as daytime temperatures are about 27°C and nighttime around 14-15°C while the water is still as warm as the Mediterranean in summer (about 24°C). The downside is that the town is very dry and dusty with blowing sand a problem - but it is still less dirty than other towns. In the summer rainy season it is hot and sticky, and there is quite a lot of mud around (although again less so than other towns.)
The main road from the airport to town and in Nosy Kely have been recently paved. A nice upgrade for Morondava.
Air Madagascar operates daily flights from Antananarivo and other cities. The flight from Antananarivo to Morondava takes about one hour. Overland options include local taxi brousse or private car hire. Road work from Antananarivo to Morondava has been recently completed and driving time is much less than in the past. Drive time from the capital to Morondava ranges from 9 - 12 hours depending on the vehicle. Antsirabe to Morondava takes approximately 7 hours.
The town is about a 30 minute walk from one end to the other. Take it slow since it is pretty warm at all times of the year. Taxis are available and needed to go to the airport, which is a few km from the main area. Often drivers do not have change (or claim they don't have change) so it's best to have the correct amount if possible.
Kirindy Forest Reserve: (50 km north of Morondava)
The 25,000-acre Kirindy Forest Reserve has the greatest density and diversity of primates in the world. It is also the best western-reserve for seeing Madagascar’s endemic dry forest species.
Dominated by majestic baobab trees, (Adansonia grandidieri), the forest is home to the world’s smallest known primate as well as dozens of amphibian and reptile species (and no poisonous snakes).
The Kirindy boasts more than 60 species of birds. Possible endemic sighting include: White-headed Vanga, Rufous Vanga, White-breasted Mesite, Coquerel's Coua, Crested Coua, Sickle-billed Vanga, Chabert's Vanga, Cuckoo Roller, Grey-headed Lovebird, Madagascar Nightjar, and Banded Kestrel.
Along with a stunning variety of unique flora the Kirindy Forest is home to 8 lemur species; a variety of tenrecs species; the narrow-striped mongoose; giant jumping rat and fossa.
This is Madagascar‘s largest reserve (152,000 hectares.) and classified as one of the world wonders by UNESCO. The fascinating raised limestone plateau is decorated with a frail, chaotic razor-sharp collection of pinnacles, the “Tsingy”.
The great variety of flora includes: aloes, orchids, numerous pachypodium and baobabs. The deciduous forest is home to over 50 species of birds; 7 species of lemurs (including the all-white Deckens sifaka) and the rare stump-tailed chameleon (Brookesia perarmata).
Kirindy Mite National Park (60 km south of Morondava)
Kirindy Mite is a new and seldom visited National Park (not to be confused with 'Kirindy Forest Reserve') which encompassing a wide variety of ecosystems: beaches; inland lakes; 7 offshore islands; spiny forest; vast Baobab forests; extensive coastal mangroves…
Highlights include three species of baobabs; a wide variety of lemurs (including ringtails); 30+ species of birds (many rare and endangered) and the picturesque Lakes Ambondro & Lake Sirave.
Avenue of the Baobabs
Located 45 minutes north of Morondava on Madagascar's west coast, the Avenue of the Baobabs, is a widely popular attraction. The ‘Avenue’ is an extra-ordinary stand of huge baobab trees, Adansonia grandidieri, and includes trees that are over 800 years old and reach a height of 30+ meters.
The world famous Ave of the Baobabs is photographer’s paradise and especially beautiful at sunset. It is not just a tourist attraction but rather an important road that is used daily by the locals transporting goods from Morondava to the outer villages and vice versa. Excursions from Morondava include the Baobabs in Love, the Sacred Baobab and the Kirindy Forest Reserve and the Tsingy de Bemaraha.
A 4x4 and driver can be hired to visit the Kirindy nature reserve. On the way ask the driver to stop at the Avenue of Baobabs ("upside down trees") which has some interesting sights such as Les Baobabs Amoureuse (amorous baobabs) where two trees have grown intertwined with each other. Ladies can cuddle the amorous baobabs and this is said to improve fertility! The Kirindy nature reserve has basic food, such as breakfasts, and knowledgeable guides who will conduct walking tours (usually in French) of the reserve. Wildlife, such as several species of Madagascar's famed lemurs, can be seen, as well as lizards and a variety of other flora and fauna. Kirindy can be done as a day trip, for visitors wishing to stay longer there is basic accommodation at the reserve.
The cheapest rooms are near the market, for example 'hotel Ideal' has rooms starting at 13000 Ar (< 5 Euro).
Accomodation on Nosy Kely, a coastal promontory, is more expensive. Expect to pay up to Euro 30-40 per night for the better places, while prices start at about 30000 Ar for more simple types of accomodation.
Chez Maggie Hotel  provides bungalows/chalets near the ocean on the Nosy Kely.
Hotels often offer excursions within the Menabe (Western) Region including: Tsingy de Bemaraha, Avenue of the Baobabs, Kirindy Forest, Belo sur Mer and the Manambolo & Tsiribihina Rivers. Naturalist guides can be found, speaking English, French, German, Spanish and Japanese.
Baobab Cafe: Comfortable rooms within one building. Across the road from Chez Maggie and backs onto the river. French run. Excellent restaurant.
Bank and internet cafe are within walking distance from Nosy Kely.