Tulear, also known as Toliara or Toliary, is a town with a seaport on the southwest coast of Madagascar with approximately 60,000 inhabitants of mixed tribal origins, such as Vezo, Masikoro, Mahafaly, Antandroy and Karana.
Tulear's colonial style buildings, grand lanes and innumerable multi-coloured rickshaws (pousse pousse) make a lasting impression on its visitors. Here locals prefer rickshaw transport over cars. The result is an unusually unpolluted city for its size and population, which makes the town well worth exploring for at least a couple of days.
While Tulear itself is missing a perfect swimming beach, Playa de la Batterie can be reached by an approximately 4-kilometre rickshaw ride north of the town centre. Thereafter continue by foot across some salt-production fields in the direction of the light tower to find some large and beautiful sand dunes. Other out-of-town attractions suitable for day-excursions include the botanical park of Antsokay Arboretum (l'Arboretum d'Antsokay) as well as the viewpoint from the table mountain 12km south east of Tulear. Also well-worth a visit is Reniala Nature Reserve, a 45 hectare nature reserve 27km north of Tulear. Many beautiful beaches can be found either further north of Tulear, at Ifaty, Madiorano, Salary and Andavadoaka, or south of Tulear at St. Augustin Bay, Sarodrano, Beheloka, Itampolo and Anakao. Tulear usually serves as a gateway to these destinations.
Tulear is the final city along RN7 (National Road 7), which is a tarred road in very good condition starting in Antananarivo. Drivers choosing this route will see many of Madagascar's attractions along the way, such as Fianarantsoa, Isalo National Park and the sapphire mining town of Ilakaka. A local airport connects Tulear with Antananarivo, Morondava and Fort Dauphin with daily scheduled Air Madagascar flights.
Serena Hotel (8 rooms)
Boulevard Philibert Tsiranana
Tel: +261 (0)20 9441173 or +261 (0)32 0560039 (mobile)
Hôtel Le Palétuvier
Tel: +261 (0)20 9444039 / +261 (0)32 0254283 (mobile)
Tel: +261 (0)20 9444728 or +261 (0)32 0526724
Bazary be (centre of town)
Tel: +261 (0)20 9442884 or +261 (0)32 0255325 (mobile) or +261 (0)34 0141080 (mobile)
27 rooms including 2 suites, each with a private terrace.
Tel: +261 20 94 441 55
Sans Fils (two blocks northeast of taxi-brousse station).
High quality Malagasy menu at low prices (4,000 - 7,000 Ariary p/meal).
A popular Italian-run restaurant in an outdoor but shaded terrace including a small bar, ice cream and pastry stall.
Tel: +261 (0)32 40 604 82
Long-time resident, Jeff owns this French restaurant and pizza parlor. Specials include the pizza, the fresh, home-made juice, and the salades (of which there is a huge selection). The rest of the menu tends to be stale and tasteless. This restaurant has free wifi, but charges 1,000 Ar an hour to plug into the electricity.
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