The most famous road in Madagascar is the Allée des Baobabs, near Morondava. Here you will find a large number of beautiful baobabs. A visit to the Allée des Baobabs is one of the highlights of a holiday in Madagascar. Especially at sunset it is a beautiful sight to see the impressive trees with a bright red sky in the background. The long shadows of the baobabs on the red sand path complete the picture.
The baobab, Madagascar’s national tree
There are six different types of baobabs in Madagascar. The Baobab Grandidier is the most famous and largest with a maximum length of 30 metres. Baobabs can grow up to 1,000 years old. Some have a girth of up to 17 metres. They are able to store water in their thick trunks and can therefore survive the dry periods. Unfortunately, the baobab is threatened and the number has decreased significantly in recent years. Trees are cut down to make the soil suitable for agriculture. Fortunately, the trees on the Allée des Baobabs are protected and the almost 30 baobabs that are standing here are not allowed to be cut down.
The baobab is called the roots of the sky. According to a legend in Madagascar, God had created the most beautiful tree on earth with the baobab. The devil was so angry about this that he planted the baobabs upside down. So, God could not enjoy the beauty of the tree from heaven. I don’t know if it’s true, but at least it’s a nice story.
When visiting the Allée des Baobabs
We visited the Allée des Baobabs three times during our trip: once early in the morning when we were on our way to Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park. Then early afternoon on the return journey from the same park. Finally, again to watch the sunset at this iconic place in Madagascar.
Sunrise on the Allée des Baobabs
This requires an early departure from Morondava. Ask your hotel if they can make a breakfast package, because there is little or nothing for sale in the early and late season. When we were there, it was very quiet. Hardly any tourists in the background when you want to take a nice picture. However, you see many locals trekking with all kinds of transport means through the Allée des Baobabs. That is sure to produce beautiful photos.
Allée des Baobabs in the middle of the day
In the middle of the day, you’re almost the only one walking around here. You have plenty of time to enjoy the baobabs and take pictures. You’ll see local residents there. Moreover, now you have a chance to take some nice photos. The disadvantage is that the sun is high in the sky which is not the ideal condition for taking photos.
Sunset on the Allée des Baobabs
This was the most magical moment for us to be here. Because we were there in the low season (end of May), it was not very busy with tourists. Naturally, there were some, but we had the chance to take plenty of pictures without any disruptions. In peak season (July to September) it can be very busy here. That can certainly create a different atmosphere in this mythical place. If you have the chance to avoid peak season, then the sunset is the moment to be on the Allée des Baobabs.
Visit the baobab amoureux
A little further northwest you will find the baobab amoureux. These are two intertwined baobabs. Legend has it that a boy and a girl wanted to get married, but were not allowed to. When they asked God for help, he planted two baobabs in love.
The picture is beautiful, but less impressive than the row of trees on the Allée des Baobabs. If you want to visit this place, drive 5.5 km until you see a sign saying “Mangili”. Turn left here and drive on for about 3.5 km. Parking your car at the trees in love costs 2,000 ariary. You can also select the destination on the handy, free navigation app maps.me, the sat nav will guide you to the place without any problems.
How to get there
You can get to Madagascar’s most famous road from Morondava. It is about 40 minutes’ drive. This is the first part on the paved RN 35. After about 15 kilometres, take the exit left to Belo-sur-Tsiribihina, marked with a sign. From here it is a dirt road with lots of local traffic. On this road you already see several baobabs, but the Allée des Baobabs starts after about six kilometres.
- If you don’t have your own transport, use a taxi from Morondava.
- Admission to this attraction is free.
- However, you have to pay a parking fee (2,000 ariary per car).
- There is a small information desk and there are some souvenir stalls.
- There is no restaurant, but you can buy a small snack and some baobab juice (delicious!).
- In high season it is very busy at sunset, so choose a quieter moment. The sunrise is less crowded for example.
Hotels in Morondava
Most tourist hotels are located in the part near the beach, on both sides of the road. After four days of dusty roads, moderate bathrooms and little comfort, we wanted some luxury again so we booked Select hotel. This modern hotel is located in the city itself, half an hour’s walk from the beach. A beautiful room with air conditioning, a lovely bathroom and an excellent breakfast. We can certainly recommend it if you want some comfort after four challenging days off road in the 4×4! The price is low compared to accommodation at the beach.
Another beautiful hotel, located directly on the beach is Chez Maggie. Very nice bungalows on a beautiful terrain. Instantly a lot more expensive than the Select hotel. The American owner organises tours and you can rent a 4×4 for the trip to Tsingy de Bemaraha. We found him very peculiar. When we asked him what caused the price difference between his tour and one we had found ourselves somewhere else, he got angry and stomped off. Left a big impression on us. And that was while the peak season was yet to start!
Another nice accommodation with the beach nearby is Baobab hotel/café. It is on the other side of the street by the beach and borders the river. There is a nice terrace and the rooms are neatly finished. Additionally, the hotel has a nice swimming pool and there is good food.