As you head north along the coast out of Tuléar, the road starts unpromisingly, with acres of rubbish and landfill. After crossing the Fiherenana River and passing a quite demanding police barrier, it’s rocky, sandy and corrugated. Although the route runs very close to the seafront, don’t expect a tropical beach paradise: much of the zone immediately behind the beach is degraded scrubby bush and overgrazed goat lands. You’ll pass the occasional turning to a beach hotel, and several straggling small settlements, one or two of which will try to waylay you with rickety stalls of sea shells and dried marine specimens.

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