Fort Dauphin

French and Portuguese legacies 
A zoological adventure 
A station on the India route

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Fort Dauphin/Port d'Ehoala

A natural reserve to discover

An MSC cruise to Southern Africa will take you as far as the southern tip of the beautiful island of Madagascar. The ship will dock at Fort Dauphin (Tolagnaro). As seen from the remains of two ports – one Portuguese and one French – Fort Dauphin has stood guard over this stretch of the coast, from which ships have been leaving for India for centuries, for five hundred years.

The colonial name of Talognaro and its French street names reveal the French origins of this small port, which dates in its current state to the 17th century. Today, Fort Dauphin is above all an excellent setting off point for naturalistic excursions offered by MSC Cruises.

Some recommended must-see tourist attractions for a holiday in Fort Dauphin are the Saiadi Botanic Gardens, and the Botanical and Zoological Garden Domain of Nahampoina (now officially a reserve). Here, within 10 kilometres of the city, you will be able to immerse yourselves in what remains of the original Madagascar flora, as well as admire “home-grown” animals such as tortoises and other reptiles, in addition to the adorable lemurs.

Another excursion will take you about 85 km from Fort Dauphin to the Private Reserve of Berenty. Located along the banks of the Mandrare River, it is perhaps the most famous protected area of Madagascar.

The absolute protagonists of this nature reserve are once again the lemurs, of which there are hundreds, but you may also see fruit bats and other animals while you walk along the reserve’s trails in full safety.

Another fascinating place to visit on a more adventurous excursion is the Baie des Galions (Ranofotsy Bay), where you will be able to visualize the spice and treasure-loaded sail ships that passed each other off the beach of Fort Dauphin in the mid-1600s.

Must see places in Fort Dauphin

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    A natural reserve the size of an entire county
    A natural reserve the size of an entire county

    A cruise to Madagascar in search of the unusual and exotic rarely disappoints. This giant, verdant laboratory of evolutionary theory has been separated from mainland Africa for long enough to have given rise to an astonishing array of endemic flora and fauna.

    Many of its native species are frankly bizarre, from immaculately camouflaged geckos to luridly coloured chameleons and frogs. Stars of a holiday to Madagascar, and the creatures that everyone wants to see, are the beady-eyed, cuddly-looking, acrobatic lemurs.

    Even the landscapes are somewhat weird – travel widely, and you’ll marvel at Madagascar’s strange, jagged pinnacles, lumpy hills and bulbous-trunked baobabs. Malagasy culture is highly distinctive, too. Many of the linguistic and ritual customs of the first islanders, who were Malay-Polynesian, remain today. Visitors will often hear talk of fady, meaning taboo – actions which should be avoided for fear of offending the ancestors and throwing the natural world out of balance.

    Pointing at sacred objects or bathing in certain rivers, for example, are fady. Being mindful of such conventions will earn you respect and is crucial if you’re invited to a traditional ritual such as Famadihana, the Turning of the Bones.