The Avenue of the Baobabs s one of Madagascar’s legendary landmarks.
You may have seen photos of it but you don’t know precisely where it is located or how to reach it.
If this destination is on your bucket list of places that you want to visit, this guide has everything you need to have the best time.
What is the Avenue of Baobabs?
Many people want to know where to see baobabs in Madagascar.
The most famous place is the Avenue of Baobabs, which is a group of baobab trees lining a dirt road between Morondava and Belon’i Tsiribihina in the western part of Madagascar.
Note: Don’t let the quality of the road fool you, this is still a national highway (Route Nationale N8) of the country.
One of the first views of baobab trees. These are called the Twin baobabs.
The baobab trees can live up to be 800 years old. It originally stood in a dense tropical forest in the area.
But gone are the days where trees of this size can survive in such an arid location. The current scenario is entirely different.
Madagascar Avenue of the Baobabs Facts | 9 Things to Know
The Madagascar Avenue of Baobabs draws tourists from around the world.
This unique location is filled with interesting facts that you should take note of when traveling here.
1. Deforestation is a Big Problem in Madagascar.
About 50% of Madagascar’s forest documented in the year 1950 was gone in 2000. Every year around 37,000 hectares of forest disappear from illegal logging and slash & burn agriculture.
More and more of the forests around Morondava have been cleared for agriculture to help the growing population in the area.
One of the main reasons why the once dense Madagascar baobab forest is gone is that the roots of the tree can’t handle the constantly waterlogged soil.
There are a few other trees in the area that soak up the rainwater, but due to deforestation, this is no longer enough.
2. Baobabs Suffer From Natural Disasters
Another reason why the baobab numbers are declining is due to natural disasters.
Every year some of the trees are hit by lightning while others are destroyed by cyclones that hit the west coast of Madagascar every year.
3. The Avenue of the Baobabs is only 260m Long
The Avenue of the Baobabs itself is only around 260m long with no more than 25 trees standing about 30 tall.
There is, however, another special baobab location worth visiting nearby.
4. Hidden Baobabs of Love
Another 7 km (4 miles) and 30 min on an even bumpier road further to the northwest is where the other famous baobab site is located – the baobab Amoureux.
Also called the baobabs of love, these two majestic baobabs are twisted together and are well worth the extra travel time.
But be sure to tell your taxi driver to take you to both destinations. I met a few tourists who were disappointed that they missed the Baobabs of love.
5. You Can Only Reach the Avenue by Taxi
Unless you are part of a pre-arranged tour, the only way to reach the Avenue of the Baobabs from Morondava is by hiring a taxi.
Most of the tourists will arrive around sunset, but if you get there by 3 pm, you will have the whole place for yourself before enjoying one of the world’s most iconic sunsets.
6. Local Children Try to Sell Chameleon Pictures
If you arrive early, then you will get surrounded by the local kids holding small cute chameleons as hostages.
These cunning entrepreneurs will demand money from you to take photos of the cute small reptile.
7. There is a Tourist Information Center
There’s also a small tourist information center with information about the place.
The information is pretty basic, but they do sell cold drinks (including beer) and some light snacks, plus there is a beautiful sitting area where you can enjoy the view over the area and hide away from the sun for abit.
Make sure to head back in time to take some stunning photos of the sunset.
With a beautiful sunset like this one in Madagascar is it well worth a few nice sunset quotes
8. Local Tourism Fees
The Avenue of the Baobabs has become such a popular tourist hotspot that the locals are now charging a small parking fee for your taxi (2,000 Ariary). You will also have to pay the parking fee at the baobab Amoureux.
9. There’s No Accommodation on Site
There’s NO guesthouse or hotel located on the site, so the only way to visit the avenue is by making a trip from Morondava, Belon’i Tsiribihina or when leaving/entering Tsingy National Park.
A taxi between Morondava and The Avenue of the Baobabs will cost you 50,000 Ariary for a return trip, with the driver waiting for you after the sunset.
If you also want to visit the baobab Amoureux, it will cost you an additional 20,000 Ariary. The 2,000 Ariary parking fee at both the sites are extra.
Where is the Avenue of the Baobabs, Madagascar?
The Avenue of Baobabs is located in the Menaba region of western Madagascar inside the Menabe Antimena Protected Area. It is found alongside Route Nationale 8 (RN8).
The nearest city is Morondava, which will be your main travel destination.
You will see your Menabe Madagascar trees just a few minutes after you enter the road from Morondava to Belon’i Tsiribihina, but it will take around 30 minutes to reach the Avenue.
Note: Madagascar is large and with poor infrastructure. When traveling here, it is best to plan your route in detail so that you don’t end up stuck somewhere.
Budget on slower travel times to avoid disappointment.
How to Reach the Baobab Alley from Antananarivo
When visiting this popular tourist destination, your first objective will be to reach Morondava.
This city is located on the west coast of Madagascar, 660km (410 miles) from Antananarivo the capital of the country.
The trip between the two cities took me 12 hours with Cotisse transport and cost 45,000 Ariary. The return journey took 18 hours back with a local taxi-brousse.
The information on Lonely Planet and other online platforms say that the trip should take around 9 hours. That’s not gonna happen.
There’s only 1 Cotisse Transport minibus a day between the two cities. It leaves Antananarivo at 7 am, and it’s important to book your ticket in advance.
The return trip from Morondava also needs to be booked in advance. I had to take a local taxi-brousee (20,000 Ariary) back to the capital because the Cotisse transport was fully booked for four days!
Where to stay in Morondava?
Morondava can be split into two parts. The city part where the bus station, shops, market, and all the ATMs and banks are located, and the beach part of town where most of the hotels, guesthouses, and restaurants are located.
Note: The walk between the two parts of town takes around 10-15min.
The beach part of the town is popular with older European ex-pats living there with their local girlfriends.
This is the place to stay if you are planning to stay in Morondava for a few days. The hotels here are more expensive than in the city but of much better quality.
I stayed at Hôtel Menabe, which is located right next to the big Mosque in the city.
The Hotel offers rooms from 18,000 – 35,000 Ariary. The cheapest rooms are not more than a “shoebox” with its own tiny bathroom. There is only a fan and extremely slow free Wifi.
While the more expensive rooms (where I stayed) have a big double bed, a clean western style bathroom, and a big balcony. It is popular with Japanese backpackers.
Take a Stroll Down Baobab Avenue
Although Madagascar is one of the most underrated countries in Africa, it is a unique and beautiful island that offers the keen adventurer many picture-worthy prizes.
If you find yourself here, make sure to travel to the south to visit the famous Avenue of Baobabs.
Although it might take a bit longer than expected, this is a tourist destination well worth the wait.
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