Fort Dauphin Destination Guide
Built on a headland and bordered on three sides by the Indian Ocean, Fort Dauphin is a town with much historical importance and significance to Madagascar's colonial past. It is a fascinating town to visit as well, with old forts, colonial architecture and a bustling marketplace surrounded by some stunning scenery of mountains, lakes, beaches and coastline.
Fort Dauphin has much of interest for those interested in both culture and nature!
This Fort Dauphin Destination Guide gives some information about the town, including a historical background, as well as details on some of the things to see and do in Fort Dauphin and the surrounding areas. Take a look at our Fort Dauphin Tours page to see what tours and activities are available in Fort Dauphin and the surrounding area. General information about Madagascar can be found by visiting our Madagascar Country Guide.
Fort Dauphin - Things to See & Do
Vinanibe Lake is gorgeous, with little fishing villages interspersed by soft, white sand beaches. The immense lake offers a number of water-based activities, including windsurfing, and is also popular with those wanting to swim or just laze on the beaches.
Built under Flacourt in 1643, the fort was originally set up to control the point of entry to the mainland. After falling into disrepair, the fort was restored in 1950. Included are three cannons, as well as a museum which details much of the history of Anosy.
St. Louis Peak is a hill overlooking Fort Dauphin. Although the walk to the top of this hill can be quite strenuous, it is worth it for the stunning views. Reaching to 529 metres, the panoramic views take in the town itself, the coastline, with its gorgeous beaches, and the Anosy mountain range in the background. There are also lakes, bays and islands, making this probably the best view in all of Madagascar.
Owned by a local travel agency, the Nahampoana Nature Reserve, 7 kilometres from Fort Dauphin, is an excellent place to see the native flora and fauna of Madagacar, including various families of lemurs, chameleons and tortoises, as well as many endemic Malagasy plants and birds. A small rock pool under a waterfall makes an enjoyable place to swim and picnic at, and many people spend a full day in the reserve. It is also possible to take a boat up the small river in the reserve, giving further opportunity to explore the plants and animals that inhabit it.
The Lokaro & Evatra Lagoons can be reached by an enjoyable boat trip. The channel of water follows the coastline, before going through some thick forest and then emerging into the lagoons themselves. The lagoons are visually arresting, with beautiful green hills rolling down to the beaches, and picturesque little fishing villages.
It is best to take a couple days to visit the lagoons, which will allow enough time for a leisurely boat trip and some time at the local villages. The lagoons are an ideal place for bathing and diving, and there are also a number of scenic hikes possible in this region.
This magnificent bay was the site of the original French colony in the area, although it was then abandoned in 1643. St. Luce Bay is located about 40 kilometres away from Fort Dauphin, and has some stunning views.
The village of Ambovombe is about 100 kilometres from Fort Dauphin, and near to Lake Anony. On the journey from Fort Dauphin, you will notice the vegetation changing quite dramatically, with everything becoming much drier the further west you head. Close to Ambovombe are the Mahafaly tombs, which are worth a quick visit. Lake Anony is also quite interesting, as it is connected to the sea during certain tidal periods, and has sand dunes and a natural swimming pool.
Extending along the Mandrare river, the Berenty Reserve is a 240 hectare private reserve that was created by the De Haulme family in 1936. There are a number of species of lemurs here, as well as many other types of local flora and fauna, including birds, reptiles and butterflies. Situated inside the reserve is a museum which houses a number of local artifacts and musical instruments. The reserve is especially popular with eco-tourists.