Ifaty Madagascar Spiny Forest Adventures

My Adventures In Ifaty Madagascar

Ifaty, Madagascar is about 1 hour drive north of Toliara. There are surf breaks on the surrounding reef, the spiny forest and some pretty good fishing to be found there. 

Ifaty also has some nice beaches and the locals are very friendly. It is possible to buy seafood such as lobster on the beach from the locals and they would cook it up for me at my hotel.

There are several Ifaty hotels to choose from. I decided to stay at the Ikotel. They have a nice stretch of beachfront and a good restaurant. In addition, they were able to set me up right away with some locals that I would need to get me to and from the attractions around Ifaty.

Photo Friendly Locals at Ifaty Madagascar

Some of the locals on the Ifaty beach in Madagascar. All of the Ifaty hotels line the beach, that is my hotel in the distant background.

The local vezo woman wearing kaolin powder. - Ifaty Madagascar

The local women on the Ifaty beach look rather exotic with the kaolin powder on their faces.

Ifaty Madagascar Spiny Forest Adventure

Fat Baobab Tsimanampetsotsa

Don’t miss Tsimanampetsotsa Nature Reserve

The spiny forests are an eco-region that are located throughout SW Madagascar. The soil is characterized by a lack of nutrients and rainfall is very sparse in winter months. Therefore, many of the endemic species found in the Ifaty Madagascar spiny forests are well adapted to survival in this harsh arid environment.    

The Ifaty spiny forest is about a 30 minute drive by zebu cart outside of the village of Ifaty. There is a wild diversity of flora here such as the octopus tree and the ubiquitous baobab. Also, if you are a bird watcher then the spiny forest is a ideal location to spot some of Madagascar’s endangered bird species.  

Spiny Forest Ifaty Madagascar

A diverse mixture of octopus trees and baobabs at the spiny forest near Ifaty Madagascar.

The large baobab trees can potentially store over 100,000 gallons of water in their fat trunks. As a result, they can survive over periods of sustained drought in arid environments. Additionally, humans can tap them for water when in desperate circumstances.

Photo Fat Baobab Tree - Spiny Forest Ifaty Madagascar

A big fat baobab tree at the spiny forest near Ifaty Madagascar.

Good Fishing In Ifaty Madagascar

Mauritius Africa

Go Deep Sea Fishing in Mauritius

I hooked up with some of the locals who brought me out to the surf breaks and also out fishing.

The predominant method of transportation by sea in Ifaty Madagascar is by dhow. Therefore, I got to enjoy using wind propulsion instead of a gas powered motor.

Sailing the dhow in Ifaty Madagascar

We traveled out to sea to go fishing using the dhow as transportation.

The Days Catch in Ifaty Madagascar

This is me holding up some of our catch from the day after spending the morning fishing on the Vezo reefs.

Sailing the dhow in Ifaty Madagascar

My fishing mates rigging up the sail for the ride back to Ifaty.

The dhow can move astoundingly fast especially when the wind picks up in the early afternoon. In fact, when we were riding back after fishing the rudder broke due to applying too much pressure. Thankfully, there was a spare and we made it in without further problems. In good speed I might add!

After fishing we went back into town and we cooked up the days catch for dinner.

Fish for dinner - Ifaty Madagascar

The chef prepares the days catch for our dinner.

Subsistence Fishing in Ifaty Madagascar

In many sections of Sub-Saharan Africa the locals resort to subsistence living. Therefore, many of the locals rely on the ocean to provide their main source of food. Fortunately, I was able to observe them fishing with giant nets right off the beach.

sunsistence fishing ifaty madagascar

The locals spread the huge net in the morning using a boat and then they slowly pull it in from Ifaty beach at each end.

sunsistence fishing ifaty madagascar

The mornings catch…

Surfing In Ifaty Madagascar

Surf Anakao Madagascar

Surf Anakao Madagascar

The surf breaks in Ifaty are also located far offshore which is similar to Anakao. The waves here were pretty big and fat when I was in town. Although, that did not discourage me from going out surfing.

What did make me slightly nervous was the fact that the name of the surf spot was “Behakio”.  This word means “big shark” when translated into the local dialect. I didn’t see any sharks but it was in the back of my mind.

Surfing at behakio in Ifaty Madagascar

I am sitting in the line up beyond the Vezo fisherman.

Sailing the Dhow back to Ifaty Beach

Photo of the dhow captain who brought me out to behakio for the morning surf session. The winds were favorable and we were quickly transported back to Ifaty beach.


Ifaty is part of the travel circuit if you are visiting SW Madagascar. The spiny forest, Ifaty beach, Vezo reefs and the locals are worth the visit. Ifaty Madagascar has road access from Toliara and as a result, transportation in and out of town is much easier in comparison to Anakao and other villages further south. This is an added bonus.

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